BUSTED: Trump Used His ‘Charity’ To Pay Off His Own Legal Settlements

This summer has seen a flurry of unscrupulous, if not illegal, revelations about Donald Trump’s “charitable” foundation. Previously it was disclosed that he had used funds designated for charity to make a dubious political contribution (bribe?) to the Florida attorney general. Her office was investigating Trump University at the time, then dropped the case within days of the donation. There was another hundred grand donated to Citizens United just as they were engaging in a battle with the New York attorney general who was investigating Trump. He also spent charity funds on personal items including portraits of himself and sports memorabilia. He also spent charity funds on personal items including portraits of himself and sports memorabilia.

Donald Trump

Now David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post is reporting a new breach of philanthropic ethics. IRS filings by the Trump Foundation show that charitable funds were used to settle Trump’s personal or business debts. That would be a violation of the law under a statute that forbids “self dealing.” Charitable funds must be used for charitable purposes and may not personally benefit the donor. However, Trump diverted more than a quarter of a million dollars that inured solely to his benefit. According to Fahrenthold:

“In one case, from 2007, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club faced $120,000 in unpaid fines from the town of Palm Beach, Fla., resulting from a dispute over the size of a flagpole.

“In a settlement, Palm Beach agreed to waive those fines — if Trump’s club made a $100,000 donation to a specific charity for veterans. Instead, Trump sent a check from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded almost entirely by other people’s money, according to tax records.

“In another case, court papers say one of Trump’s golf courses in New York agreed to settle a lawsuit by making a donation to the plaintiff’s chosen charity. A $158,000 donation was made by the Trump Foundation, according to tax records.”

So Trump improperly used foundation funds to pay off his personal legal debts. Even worse, the funds held in his foundation were mostly donated by others. Trump has not made a contribution to his own foundation since 2009. Consequently, Trump’s personal obligations were paid for by money that others had donated to his charity. Those donors probably did not anticipate that their generosity would be utilized for that purpose. Fahrenthold enumerated other smaller incidents, as well as the potential legal consequences:

“If the Internal Revenue Service were to find that Trump violated self-dealing rules, the agency could require him to pay penalty taxes or to reimburse the foundation for all the money it spent on his behalf. Trump is also facing scrutiny from the office of the New York attorney general, which is examining whether the foundation broke state charity laws.”

Trump failed to respond to inquires by the Post. That, along with his persistent refusal to release his tax returns, raises questions about his honesty and transparency. The evidence that Trump has been running his foundation as a personal slush fund is mounting. Not to mention the same accusations have been made about his campaign. Trump the candidate has paid millions of dollars to Trump the businessman for facility rentals and merchandise. Contrast that with the positive reviews of the Clinton Foundation.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

It may be too soon for the legal questions surrounding these affairs to be answered, but the political answers are clear. Trump is a failed businessman who lacks common ethics. He will con, lie, cheat, and steal in order to enrich himself at the expense of others. Anyone who could support such a man for president can legitimately be called deplorable.

Trump Spends 100K From His ‘Charity’ To Quash Fraud Charges In NY

Last week news surfaced that Donald Trump made an illegal donation to Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi. Just days later she dropped a fraud investigation of his Trump University. The timing of the payoff raised speculation about corruption and bribery. Additionally, the $25,000 gift to Bondi’s political action committee violated laws governing the activities of charitable foundations. Trump was required to pay a $2,500 fine and reimburse his foundation.

Citizens United Trump

Now there is news of fresh corruption on Trump’s part. A new report reveals that the Trump Foundation also paid out $100,000 to a group battling the attorney general of New York. At the time AG Eric Schneiderman was already suing Trump U. for defrauding students of the phony school.

The donation this time is troubling for several reasons. While this gift was not illegal, it reeks of political corruption. Citizens United, the recipient of the 100 G’s, is best known for its role in the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations and the wealthy to contribute unlimited amounts to political causes without disclosure. They also happened to be suing Schneiderman when Trump made his donation. Trump must have seen this as an irresistible opportunity to escalate his attack on the New York AG. He had already been embroiled in very public fight for months. Trump’s anti-Schneiderman blitz included lawsuits, ethics complaints, and Trumpian style Twitter tirades that consisted mainly of insults and smears. And now he was bankrolling another flank in the battle.

There appears to be a clear pattern of Trump using his ostensibly charitable foundation as a vehicle for funneling tax-free dollars into projects that benefit him personally and politically. The gift to Citizens United was made around the same time that they were suing Schneiderman. It was the first time the Trump foundation donated to Citizens United. And it was the largest gift dispensed by his Foundation that year. By comparison, the Police Athletics League got only a quarter of that amount.

Both Trump and Citizens United deny that there was any connection between Trump’s donation and the litigation that Citizens United was pursuing. However, the connections between the two continue to this day. The president of Citizens United is David Bossie who is now Trump’s deputy campaign manager. The lawyer for Citizens United was Donald F. McGahn who is now the chief counsel for the Trump campaign. Stephen Bannon, the chairman of Trump’s campaign, has produced films with Bossie, including “Hillary, the Movie,” that was at the center of the Citizens United Supreme Court case. And Bossie has taken the helm of the anti-Clinton PAC that was run by Kellyanne Conway until she became Trump’s campaign manager a few weeks ago.

This web of ultra-rightist conspirators deepens the perception of dirty politics that permeates the Trump campaign. And the interweaving of Trump’s personal and political objectives stretches the outer boundaries of ethical behavior. His foundation operates as a virtual slush fund to advance his private interests.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Meanwhile, the media obsesses over the Clinton Foundation that has devoted billions of dollars to saving lives around the world. It’s a press fetish that persists despite the absence of any evidence of wrongdoing. Yet somehow they manage to assert some sort of equivalence between the two. That is nothing short of journalistic malpractice that helps Trump prop up his criminal enterprise. And it’s an ethical failure the media needs to correct.

Donald Trump Caught Outright Lying About ‘Donation’ To Florida Attorney General

For several weeks much of the media has been panting breathlessly over minuscule disclosures related to the Clinton Foundation. Never mind that there has not been any finding that Hillary Clinton violated any law or granted any special favors. The so-called “liberal” media has latched onto the story with a fierce determination to find wrongdoing. Meanwhile, another story has been getting short shrift despite actual findings of guilt.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump made a $25,000 donation to a political group called “And Justice For All.” The group was supporting the reelection of Pam Bondi, the Attorney General of Florida. At the time Bondi was investigating whether to join a multi-state lawsuit against Trump University for fraud. Within days of receiving the check, Bondi opted out of the lawsuit. But the stench of corruption doesn’t stop there.

The funds for the donation were drawn from the Trump Foundation, a personal account intended for donations to non-profit charities. It was illegal for such funds to be given to a political campaign. When the IRS questioned Trump’s people about it, they said that the funds went to a charity in Kansas with a similar name. That’s the first lie.

Trump may have thought the matter was put to rest after he paid a $2,500 fine to the IRS. He also reimbursed his Foundation from his private account. Additionally, according to the statute in Florida, Bondi would have to return the funds to the donor. However, there is no record that that was ever done.

Now Trump has responded to questions about the donation. In his typically incoherent rambling he dismissed the entire affair as a mistake:

“I never spoke to her, first of all; she’s a fine person beyond reproach. I never even spoke to her about it at all. She’s a fine person. Never spoken to her about it. Never. Many of the attorney generals turned that case down because I’ll win that case in court. Many turned that down. I never spoke to her.”

That’s the second lie. Do you get the impression that he wants to convey that he never spoke to her? You’re not alone. The problem is that Bondi disagrees. According to the Associated Press:

“Florida’s attorney general personally solicited a political contribution from Donald Trump around the same time her office deliberated joining an investigation of alleged fraud at Trump University and its affiliates.”

Furthermore, Bondi was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox Business today and confirmed that she solicited the donation from Trump. With the disclosure that Bondi and Trump did actually talk about the donation, and the fact that the Florida investigation was nixed shortly thereafter, it’s hard not to view this as a bribe. What’s more, Trump has bragged about doing this often in his business affairs:

“When they call, I give. And you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me,”

This is standard operating procedure for Trump. And it isn’t even the only time he did it with regard to the Trump University fraud. He also appealed to the Texas AG to drop the Trump U. case being considered in that state. After the Texas case was dropped, Trump cut a check to the gubernatorial campaign of then attorney general, now Texas Governor, Greg Abbott.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

With such clear cut evidence of a crime, you might think the media would give this more than a sideways glance. On Fox News the Bondi story has not been covered at all. And yet, as Media Maters reported, Fox “spent Tuesday obsessing over Hillary Clinton coughing during a rally.” Because that’s what passes for news at Fox. And they certainly wouldn’t want to tell the truth about Trump after investing the last couple of years in his candidacy.

Trump Campaign Linked To Russian Hacking Of DNC, FBI Asked To Investigate

In the days leading up to the Democratic National Convention reports that the party’s computer networks were hacked threatened to derail the entire affair. Stolen emails were timed for release in a deliberate attempt to harm the party’s prospective nominee, Hillary Clinton. It wasn’t long before Russian operatives were identified as the likely perpetrators.

Donald Trump Vladimir Putin

The notion that Russians were attempting to interfere with American elections was not especially significant. The KGB has done this sort of thing before. However, their interest in advancing the campaign of Donald Trump ought to have raised red flags. What would motivate them to go to these lengths to get Trump into the White House? And who else would have an incentive to achieve that goal? There’s an obvious answer to the latter question and it may have been revealed in this article in The Hill:

“The ranking members of four House committees have asked the FBI to investigate whether officials from Donald Trump’s campaign had any role in recent cyberattacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).”

There are legitimate reasons to suspect that the Trump camp is connected to the hacking of Democratic networks. The Democrats, including House Oversight Committee member Elijah Cummings, have genuine concerns that they are asking FBI Directer James Comey to investigate. They want to know whether “connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian interests may have contributed” to the cyberattacks. As The Hill article notes:

“The five-page letter lists a number of press reports detailing an apparent relationship between Trump aides and Russia, including foreign policy adviser Carter Page’s reported dealings with Russian energy firm Gazprom and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s ties to a pro-Russian official in Ukraine.”

That’s just the beginning. Trump’s affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin has been well established, along with myriad political and financial connections. He frequently praises Putin’s leadership. And who can forget Trump’s explicit request for the Russians to hack into Hillary Clinton’s email? That’s a naked call for foreign adversaries to commit crimes against an American candidate for president.

In addition, Trump has articulated policies that are favorable to the Russians. Most notably his willingness to abandon the NATO Treaty and allow Putin to annex parts of Ukraine and the Baltic states. What’s more, Trump and his associates are deeply intertwined with Russian financiers who hold significant amounts of his debt. Time Magazine recently reported that:

“…as major banks in America stopped lending him money following his many bankruptcies, the Trump organization was forced to seek financing from non-traditional institutions. Several had direct ties to Russian financial interests in ways that have raised eyebrows.”

The cumulative affect of these facts make it all the more critical that a full investigation is conducted. The integrity of our elections are stake. Republicans will howl, but this is not the sort of partisan hustle that typifies GOP efforts to slander Democrats.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The Republican Congress spent eight years twisting the nation’s legislative branch into a private investigative arm of the GOP. They held dozens of hearings on everything from Benghazi to Planned Parenthood. And in every case the only purpose was to harass Democrats and waste taxpayers’ money. Yet for all their trouble they never proved a single misdeed by the Democrats they sought to defame. By contrast, the abundant and sordid details evident here make the Democrats’ request for an investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russian hacks appropriate and necessary.

Fox News War Mongering EXPOSED: Former Exec Confesses ‘My Job Was To Sell The War’ In Iraq

The flagrantly right-wing bias of Fox News is no longer in doubt by anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the network’s aggressive propagandizing. Most of the network’s anchors, contributors, and guests lean so far to the right that Joseph Goebbels would have been proud to be associated with it. And yet, their own pride of ideological leaning is carefully hidden under a veil of phony fairness and balance.

Fox News

That’s why it was surprising to find a public admission of political spin from a high level Fox insider buried in a story on a completely different subject. Last week Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine published another article in his investigative series that contributed to the downfall of Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. Sherman is also the author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room.

The sexual harassment scandal that led to the humiliating ouster of the most powerful man in media had been steadily escalating. Dozens of women came forward to tell their painful stories of abuse. One of those women was Laurie Luhn who worked for Fox News for more than twenty years. The circumstances of her harrowing experience are spelled out in excruciating detail in Sherman’s article. But little noticed was this paragraph buried deep withing the article that revealed something unrelated to the abuse:

“As she was promoted through the ranks at Fox, Luhn worked harder and harder to please Ailes. She zealously promoted the network’s right-wing agenda. ‘I was very proud of the product. I was very proud of how we handled 9/11. Very proud of how we handled the run-up to the Iraq War,’ she said. ‘My job was to sell the war. I needed to get people on the air that were attractive and articulate and could convey the importance of this campaign. It was a drumbeat.'”

As the Director of Bookings for Fox News, Luhn saw her job as “selling the war” in Iraq. And she clearly recognized the benefits of seeking attractive, articulate salespeople to move the product. The “drumbeat” to which she refers was evident every day as the network hammered its advocacy of a war that had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11. This was much more than a typical news slant to sway public opinion. This was a blatant effort to steer the nation into an international conflict that has had disastrous results from which we are still suffering today.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

These revelations turn the Luhn story into a much more complex affair. While she was on a daily mission to help her employer embroil the country in an immoral and illegal war, she was also a victim of unconscionable behavior from her despicable boss. There is no excuse for what Ailes allegedly did to her and the many other women making similar allegations against him. But there is a strange and sad irony that these heinous acts resulted in Luhn providing one of the most potent examples of how Fox News deliberately deceived the American people and unleashed an era of war, terrorism, and misery on the world.

Is This Treason? What Donald Trump Just Said Undermines American Democracy

It may be an Olympic-grade understatement to say that Donald Trump has done some god-awful things in his quest for the presidency. From mocking the disabled to ripping off veterans to insane proposals with regard to Muslims and immigrants. But he may just have outdone himself.

In a press conference this morning, Trump was asked about reports that Russia was responsible for the hacking of DNC emails. He has previously dismissed the charges as Democratic efforts to distract from the content of the stolen emails, despite the fact that it is the FBI and other intelligence agencies who identified Russia as the likely culprit.

Trump Putin

His response to today’s inquiries, however, introduced a new and deeply disturbing tactic on Trump’s part. He offered, without prompting, his interest in further exploiting the email theft to his advantage. In a direct response to a question on whether he would condemn the hacking he said “No, it gives me no pause,” and that:

“If Russia or China or any other country has those emails I mean to be honest with you, I’d love to see em.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Donald Trump, the nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, is affirmatively endorsing the notion of revealing private information that was stolen from Americans by a foreign and hostile government. That is an untenable and unpatriotic position that undermines the country’s interests as well as the principles of personal privacy and information security. But it gets even worse. Trump went on to say:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

In that statement Trump is literally soliciting Russia to commit cyber-crimes and espionage against fellow Americans. How is that not treasonous? He continued with a thinly disguised reference to Russia being “rewarded mightily” for their hacking. Is that an offer to compensate Russian hackers and spies for their efforts? Or is Trump simply implying that Russia would benefit from a Trump presidency and that he would make it worth their while were they to sabotage the campaign of Hillary Clinton? Either way he is taking up sides with an international foe against his own country. Now what is it that we call that?

In the press conference Trump flatly denied having any connection to Russian politics or business. That’s a lie. Has he already forgotten his Miss Universe Pageant he held in Moscow just three years ago? But his Russian ties go much deeper than that. As reported by Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo:

“At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties.”

Marshall’s article goes into extensive detail of Trump’s connections to Russian oligarchs and politicians. He makes the case that Trump’s chumminess with Putin is not coincidental. Marshall’s documentation is thorough and somewhat frightening. And if anyone wonders why Putin would favor Trump, look no further than Trump’s recent denigration of NATO and his reluctance to honor the agreement. That would be a huge advantage for Putin whose expansionism would be made much easier if he didn’t have to worry about the U.S. defending its NATO allies.

Another Trump lie in the press conference was his assertion that “I never met Putin, I don’t know who he is. He said one nice thing about me.” It is true, of course, that Trump never met Putin (although he once claimed to know him very well because they both appeared on “60 Minutes” in separate interviews, thousands of miles apart). But what are we to make of his claim that he doesn’t know who Putin is? Folks, we are treading dangerously close to mental incapacity here.

Trump’s VP, Mike Pence, issued a statement that appeared to distance himself from Trump’s perfidy:

“If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences.”

Pence might want to confirm that with his boss who is promising that the perpetrators would be rewarded mightily. And contrary to his suggestion that both parties will ensure that there are consequences, the Republican Party has yet to make any public statement repudiating Trump’s remarks or even the more general issue of the hacking of the DNC. Contrast that with the statements from the Democratic side including:

Hillary for America Senior Policy Advisor, Jake Sullivan: This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. […] This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.

Former CIA Director Leon Panetta: “I find those kinds of statements to be totally outrageous because you’ve got now a presidential candidate who is in fact asking the Russians to engage in American politics. I just think that’s beyond the pale. […] I think that kind of statement only reflects the fact that he truly is not qualified to be president of the United States.”

It is incomprehensible that a candidate for the nation’s highest office is articulating activities that amount to aiding and abetting foreign enemies. Trump’s comments should be investigated by the FBI and his connections to Russian economic and political players should be thoroughly examined. As for Trump’s supporters, they need to reassess their allegiance to him, because if he can’t be trusted to act in the best interests of the nation, he surely should not get the vote of any patriotic American.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Fox ‘News’ Boss Roger Ailes Is FIRED As His Creation Donald Trump Takes GOP Nomination

Tonight Donald Trump will be making his HUGE speech to accept the Republican Party’s nomination for president of the United States. It’s ironic, therefore, that the man most responsible for his victory over seventeen other Republican hopefuls just got his ass booted out the door.

Ailes Trump

Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News, has accepted a separation agreement that is effective today. It was only three days ago that the strange saga of Ailes was first reported. The unusually rapid progress of events that resulted in Ailes’ surprise termination followed the filing of a lawsuit by former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson alleging that Ailes sexually harassed her and then retaliated after she reported prior incidents of harassment and gender discrimination. The suit alleges that Ailes told her “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago.” Shortly after Carslson’s lawsuit hit the press several other women came forward with similar complaints.

Ailes released a statement saying in part, “I am proud of our accomplishments and look forward to continuing to work with you as a consultant in building 21st Century Fox.” Fox sources, however, say that he will not be an official consultant, but will be available to informally advise his old pal Rupert Murdoch, CEO of the Fox News parent corporation 21st Century Fox.

Ailes’ long history of exploiting sex in the workplace has been well documented. The environment at Fox is known for making inappropriate demands on female staff, including wearing revealing clothes and engaging in other provocative behavior on-air. Gabriel Sherman wrote in his biography of Ailes, “The Loudest Voice In The Room,” that Ailes has repeatedly given direction to his staff regarding the display of female body parts.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

As Donald Trump takes the stage tonight at the Republican National Convention, the propaganda machine that made it possible is undergoing a severe upheaval. There is no clear line of succession in the executive ranks. Rupert Murdoch will be temporarily assuming the role of interim CEO. And as the dust settles it will be Murdoch’s kids who will be calling the shots and filling the vacancies. There are likely to be other shoes dropping in coming weeks, so stay tuned for further developments.

Donald Trump Has A Frightening Plan To ‘Reform’ Government That He Won’t Tell You Tonight

One of the most persistent criticisms of Donald Trump is that he’s been running for president for over a year and has failed to articulate a single policy in any detail. His platform is made up entirely of vapid slogans (“Make America Great Again”), simplistic one-liners (“Build a Wall”), and childish insults (“Crooked Hillary”). Rest assured that as he accepts the Republican Party’s nomination for president tonight he won’t be any more forthcoming about how he intends to achieve his vaguely stated goals.

RNC Trump

Consequently, we should be grateful that his surrogate, Gov. Chris Christie, is shooting his mouth off in private meetings with GOP donors. It is in these settings that Republicans often reveal their true intentions as they seek to squeeze funds from their wealthy benefactors. Yahoo news is reporting that:

“If he wins the presidency, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump would seek to purge the federal government of officials appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama and could ask Congress to pass legislation making it easier to fire public workers, Trump ally, Chris Christie, said on Tuesday.

Christie, who is governor of New Jersey and leads Trump’s White House transition team, said the campaign was drawing up a list of federal government employees to fire if Trump defeats Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

“As you know from his other career, Donald likes to fire people,” Christie told a closed-door meeting with dozens of donors at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Chris Christie is in a position to know what he’s talking about. He is a leading candidate to assume a prominent role in a Trump administration, i.e. Attorney General or Chief of Staff. And he shares Trump’s visceral hatred of President Obama, so he would be anxious to erase any remnants of his historic presidency.

Government purges are a tactic that has been popular with fascist regimes for decades. It is a means of consolidating power, imposing ideological conformity, and insuring loyalty. But it is grossly undemocratic and contrary to the principles of a free society. In the United States the concept of “career” employees has been valued because it results in decisions being made on merit rather than political partisanship. Even the threat of political purges can sway agency staffers to adopt positions that are overtly harmful in order to please their current bosses rather than the public whom they serve.

The last notable example of this type purge occurred during the administration of George W. Bush. He took the wholly unprecedented and unethical action of firing staff attorneys at the Justice Department and replacing them with lackeys who would do his bidding. That led in part to an email scandal that dwarfs anything Hillary Clinton has been accused of.

The purge that Christie spoke of goes far beyond what Bush did at the Justice Department. Under a President Trump every agency of government would be at risk. The Environmental Protection Agency could be stuffed with pro-coal and oil shills who would obliterate regulations that have proven to be effective in cleaning the air and water in America. Health and Human Services could become the headquarters for dismantling ObamaCare. The Department of Labor could be restructured to serve corporations and diminish the influence of unions. The Department of Education could begin to kill off public schooling in favor of vouchers and faith-based alternatives. And just imagine the harm that could be done with extreme hawks populating the Homeland Security and Defense departments.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

This is just another of Trump’s secret agendas that make him an existential threat to the nation – and the world. Some of what he is plotting isn’t known because he refuses to disclose anything significant about policy, or even personally (such as his ultra-secret tax returns). Some of it isn’t known because he has no idea what he believes to begin with. What we do know about his governing philosophy we’ve learned by his inadvertent slips of the tongue to the press. For instance, yesterday he said that he would not necessarily honor our mutual defense agreements under the terms of the NATO treaty. Revelations like the one Christie has provided helped to torpedo Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012. And that’s why the press needs to aggressively seek out information that the candidates strive to conceal. Democracy depends on it.

Speechwriter Exposes Trump Camp’s Lies About Melania’s Plagiarized Speech

The controversy over Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech at the Republican National Convention stubbornly refuses to go away. Following the initial revelation that several passages were blatantly lifted from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, Donald Trump’s defenders mobilized to deny reality and try to convince America that they could not believe their own eyes and ears.

Michelle Obama/Melania Trump

The Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, dismissed it as being a coincidental collection of commonly used words. That was after he baselessly blamed it all on Hillary Clinton. Chris Christie excused it because only part of it was plagiarized. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson complained that Michelle Obama thinks she “invented the English language.” RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer turned it back on Michelle Obama saying that she plagiarized My Little Pony. Trump Communications Director Jason Miller reduced it to “included fragments that reflected her own thinking.” The Trump people simultaneously said that Melania wrote the speech herself (which she told NBC’s Matt Laurer), but that any problems were the fault of her team of writers.

Today the speechwriter came forward with a totally new account of what happened. She released a letter on Trump Organization stationary (image below) taking the fall for the whole affair:

“My name is Meredith McIver and I’m an in-house staff writer at the Trump Organization. I am also a longtime friend and admirer of the Trump family.”

“In working with Melania Trump on her recent First Lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people. A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama. Over the phone, she read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake, and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps, as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

So it turns out that the lines were indeed lifted from Obama’s speech after all. And it was Melania who did it. McIver is taking responsibility for not checking Melania’s work. However, everyone on the Trump team who vociferously denied any remote possibility of plagiarism, even ridiculing the notion, are now exposed as either liars or fools.

McIver went on to say that she offered Trump her resignation, but that he refused to accept it saying that “people make innocent mistakes.” This was an “innocent mistake” that made Melania look awful in her national coming out, and resulted in two days of distractions from the whatever messages Trump was hoping to convey at the convention. (That may be a blessing in disguise considering the fright-fest that Trump put on yesterday). And in the end, Trump thinks it was all a positive development:

Almost as significant as the admission that the speech was plagiarized is the discovery that Michelle Obama is “A person [Melania] has always liked.” That may not sit well with a crowd that regards the Obamas as foreign interlopers bent on destroying America. For the record, Donald Trump was also a big fan of Obama at one time, as he wrote in his book “Think Like A Champion.”

Apparently Melania et al couldn’t find any Republican women who expressed the same values that Michelle did. But stealing lines from a historic speech is a funny way of showing your admiration. And that’s why this episode remains significant. It demonstrates that Trump’s fabled management skills are just another fraudulent PR scam. This speech would have to have been reviewed by numerous people before allowing the candidate’s wife to take it out onto the stage. But they couldn’t handle something as simple as sourcing a speech. And Trump’s want’s us to trust him with the nuclear codes?

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

McIver Letter

Melania Trump’s RNC Speech Was Blatantly Plagiarized From Michelle Obama’s 2008 DNC Speech (Video)

On the first day of the Republican National Convention there was plenty of drama and controversy to roil the Trump campaign. A vote on the convention rules blew up with many delegates disgusted by the Trump team’s bullying tactics. Some early speakers took harsh and negative tones that were contrary to the theme of unity and inclusion.

Melania Trump

But the most striking misstep came when Donald Trump’s wife Melania delivered a speech that contained several passages that were obviously plagiarized from the speech that Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. This rhetorical larceny was first noticed by by Jarrett Hill on Twitter. Here are some of the nearly identical phrases that appeared in both speeches:

Michelle Obama, 2008 Melania Trump, 2016

Barack and I were raised with so many of the same values: that you work hard for what you want in life; that your word is your bond and you do what you say you’re going to do; that you treat people with dignity and respect, even if you don’t know them, and even if you don’t agree with them. And Barack and I set out to build lives guided by these values, and pass them on to the next generation.

From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life: that your word is your bond and you do what you say and keep your promise; that you treat people with respect. They taught and showed me values and morals in their daily life. That is a lesson that I continue to pass along to our son, and we need to pass those lessons on to the many generation to follow.

The similarities here are too close and too numerous not to be recognized as deliberate theft. And the fact that Melania was allowed to go out on stage to deliver that speech is an indictment of the entire Trump operation. Surely she did not write the speech. But it was written by people on Trump’s staff who were trusted enough to put his wife’s fate in their hands. And it had to have been reviewed by by everyone from Trump’s communications managers to Trump himself.

This is going to be tough to explain away. And it will be an indelible stain at the worst possible time for a convention – on the opening night. It’s just downhill from here.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Update: The Trump campaign responded with this statement from Trump communications director Jason Miller:

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success.”

It’s hard to tell what part of that statement is a response to this matter. I think it’s the part where they say that “some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking,” in effect, blaming Melania.