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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Right before Veteran’s Day weekend, Trump admits to stealing more than $2 million from veterans for his own personal use.

Image result for trump stole from veterans
Not a real check - Trump STOLE the money for himself. He admitted
it in a court settlement with the New York State Attorney General.
This was part of $2.8 million raised by Trump's Foundation for veterans'
charities but used instead to fund Trump's 2016 campaign and to buy
Trump portraits that hung in his properties. (ProPublica)
In 2016, the two major party candidates for president both had a charitable foundation that bore their name. One of them—the Clinton Foundation—received a tremendous and, yes, unfair amount of media coverage regarding supposed corruption and misdeeds, even though every charge leveled during the campaign has turned out to be baseless. You might remember in particular the explosive yet absurdly false charge about uranium—and wasn’t it great to watch Joy Reid absolutely pick that one apart, simply destroying one of its main purveyors on live TV.

In the end it was the other one, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, that turned out to be corrupt—rotten to the core, in fact. 

This week The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote was forced to admit it thanks to the work done by New York State Attorney General Letitia James and her office, as well as that of her predecessor, Barbara Underwood. Crooked Hillary? It’s always been Crooked Fucking Donald.

The details are even worse.

A state judge ordered Trump to pay $2 million in damages to nonprofit groups on Thursday after Trump admitted misusing money raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid, pay off business debts and purchase a portrait of himself for one of his hotels.

Among Mr. Trump’s admissions in court papers: The charity gave his campaign complete control over disbursing the $2.8 million that the foundation had raised at a fund-raiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, only days before the state’s presidential nominating caucuses. The fund-raiser, he acknowledged, was in fact a campaign event.

Image result for trump portrait charityJust think about that for a second. 

Trump had to admit it: Crooked Donald pretended to hold a fundraiser for veterans, but then took the money for his campaign. He stole from our veterans. And he admitted it.

You might not remember it now, but that fundraiser was an incredibly important move by the Trump campaign at the time. He had announced that he was skipping the last GOP debate before the Iowa caucuses, which was being held on Fox News. He didn’t want to face Megyn Kelly a second time, after the, ahem, bad “blood” that had flowed between them in a previous Fox News debate.

Skipping the debate was making Trump look small and weak, but the announcement that he was going spend his time raising money for our veterans instead of going to the debate changed the narrative. 

One headline read: “Trump: While they debated, we raised $6M for vets.” At least that’s what the thief-in-chief claimed at the time:

Dick Marbes, president of the Disabled American Veterans  Charitable Service Trust, said in a statement to CNBC that Trump reached out after the event.

“We have been contacted and informed  that a donation will be made by the Donald Trump Foundation to support our mission.”

Now we know it was a lie, and it may have been one that saved Trump’s campaign—which might well have ultimately ended in defeat if he had lost Iowa by a much larger margin. And as god-awful as his actions were, it’s even worse when you realize that some of the money he stole from our veterans likely went directly into his pocket. 

Federal records show that his 2016 campaign spent $16.8 million that went to businesses owned by, you guessed it, Donald J. Trump.

That’s not all:

ImageTrump also admitted to using the foundation to settle the legal obligations of companies he owned, including Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y. And he acknowledged that the foundation purchased the $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump, which was ultimately displayed at one of his Florida hotels.

So, beyond stealing from military veterans, Trump used other money donated to his foundation—donations that were tax deductible for the donors—as “a piggy bank.” That’s the phrase Letitia James used. 

If you weren’t angry enough, think about the fact that we the taxpayers partially subsidized the painting of that motherfucker that hangs on the wall in Florida (I hope we didn’t pay for the orange paint, at least). In all seriousness: This corruption at its most venal.

And yet even well into his presidency, Trump was still bleating on about supposed corruption at the Clinton Foundation. He used it to deflect attention after the Mueller probe started making him sweat: “That’s your real Russia story. Not the story where they talk about collusion, and there was none. It was a hoax. Your real Russia story is uranium.”

In late 2017 Trump actually got the FBI to launch another investigation into the Clinton Foundation, after previous ones had produced nothing and, as The New York Times noted, “career prosecutors had shut down the investigation in 2016 for lack of evidence.”

Trump politicizing the FBI to investigate a political opponent would have been shocking had any other president done it. Hell, people blew a gasket because Bill Clinton had a conversation on a tarmac with U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the summer of 2016—a conversation that ended up giving James Comey a much larger public role in the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails than should’ve been the case. And we all know what Comey did in that role. 

But Trump? He just issued a direct order to interfere. He probably thought it would work the same way with the Ukrainian president—but that’s another story.

House Republicans even got into the act and tried to throw some stink on the Clintons in late 2018:
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said Tuesday that House Republicans plan to hear testimony on Dec. 5 from the prosecutor appointed by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to probe alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation.

Meadows, who is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations, told Hill.TV’s “Rising” that it’s time to “circle back” to U.S. Attorney John Huber’s investigation with the Justice Department into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged any improper activities.

“Mr. Huber with the Department of Justice and FBI has been having an investigation — at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th,” he told Hill.TV during an interview on Wednesday.

Huber in the end didn’t testify. It was all bullshit, but of course the Trump administration would never actually admit that. The whole thing was classic projection from start to finish.

While we’re looking back, let’s also note the role the media played in spreading breathless stories about the corruption that wasn’t at the Clinton Foundation. Let’s not forget the role the aforementioned New York Times played in giving a platform to those lies throughout the 2016 campaign (h/t Eric Boehlert).

But back to this week. When the settlement was announced, Trump issued a statement in response. 

First of all, he pretended that what he admitted to was merely “some small technical violations, such as not keeping board minutes.” 

Second, he stooped to once again bringing up “the Clinton Foundation with all of its problems,” and called for Attorney General James to investigate them.

These deflections don’t change the facts: The guy who sits in the Oval Office is a stone-cold thief. He stole tax-deductible charitable donations to pay for his personal expenses. He stole from veterans—people who fought and bled to protect our country and to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans—to pay his campaign expenses. 

Image result for trump's bone spurAnd Republicans supposedly support and respect the troops? Anyone who put one of those bumper stickers on their car and still votes for Trump gives new meaning to the word hypocrite.

In normal political times, there would be no doubt about the impact of what Trump admitted to doing this week. It would mean the immediate end of his bid for reelection and the end of his political career. 

The shame alone should be too much to bear for any person with a normal sense of right and wrong. How could someone with a normal moral compass ask voters to return him to the presidency after stealing money donated for our vets and using that money to win the presidency the first time around? 

We know what kind of person, what kind of sociopath, this man is. Of the many words we might use to describe him, normal isn’t one of them.