Michael Tomasky points out that there is plenty of ammunition left with which Clinton could destroy Trump. And he doesn’t even list it all. Here are just some of them:
Trump Foundation. By now you know all about this bogus enterprise, thanks to the great reporting of David Farenthold of The Washington Post. I would imagine thereâ€™s more coming, possibly having to do with the kinds of business relationships Trump had with the leading donors to the foundation (a ticket-scalper? Come on.). But even if thereâ€™s not more coming, thereâ€™s material aplenty already, from the serious (the apparent, and apparently illegal, self-dealing) to the comic (the two grandiose portraits of himself the charity spent tens of thousands of dollars to purchase).
But there’s more! A couple of days ago Josh Marshall wrote,
We now have clear evidence of self-dealing in the payouts made by the Foundation and as of yesterday pretty clear evidence that Trump has used the Foundation to avoid paying taxes on income. The combination could spell real legal trouble for Trump, possible even criminal penalties. In short, you’re not allowed to use a family foundation as a piggy bank or slush fund for tax avoidance and personal or business purposes. We’ve proceeded cautiously in what we know and what we don’t. We’ve also tried to be cognizant of the fact that this is an area of criminal law where intent is critical – which is to say, ignorance of the law is a defense. That said, one top former IRS official involved in oversight of tax exempt organizations told TPM, “Once you see a pattern of that kind of egregious nature, you start to think if whether thereâ€™s an appropriate criminal referral there.” Here’s the story.
And today, Talking Points Memo reports,
The New York attorney general’s investigation of the Donald J. Trump Foundation appears to have broadened to include new allegations of self-dealing by Trump that surfaced after the probe began, TPM has learned.
The town of Palm Beach, Florida, has provided documents to the New York Attorney General’s Office as part of the probe, a lawyer for the town confirmed to TPM on Wednesday. The documents relate to a legal dispute that Trump settled with the town using foundation money. The details of the 2007 Palm Beach case were first reported by the Washington Post last week. …
…New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had announced earlier this month, before the Washington Post’s reporting on the Palm Beach case, that his office had opened an investigation into Trump Foundation after it was reported that Trump had used foundation money to buy personal gifts for himself.
The contact with Palm Beach by the Attorney General’s Office suggests its probe had widened to include other alleged acts of self-dealing. The Attorney General’s Office declined to comment Thursday.
Oh, but wait. Remember Trump University? Tomasky writes,
Trump University. In a lifetime of scams too numerous to count and too appalling to rank, this may be Trumpâ€™s biggest scam of all. Many people lost their money and got nothing whatsoever out of it. There are depositions that have been made public in which Trump U. employees admit they were under instructions to give students a very hard sell and sometimes to lie to them. Then of course thereâ€™s the whole way that the states of Texas and Florida dropped their investigations of it, after donations from theâ€¦
… from the Trump Foundation! This is what happened in Florida:
Trump, who bragged during the primaries about controlling politicians through financial support, is facing greater scrutiny for a 2013 contribution from his foundation to a political group working to re-elect Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The $25,000 donation came in just days after Bondi’s office said it was considering joining a New York-led investigation of Trump U. Florida ultimately decidedÂ against getting involved in the investigation
And this is what happened in Texas:
A few years earlier, Trump U. also caught the attention of the office ofÂ Texas’ then-Attorney General,Â Greg Abbott.Â In January 2010, his office opened an investigation into the school in response to complaints about deceptive business practices, and later in the year, the school effectively ended operations in the state altogether.Â Years later, when Abbott was running for governor, Trump made two donations to Abbott’s campaign, one for $25,000 and another for $10,000.
Hmmm. But wait, there’s more! Tomasky doesn’t even mention Newsweek‘s scoop, which is that one of Trump’s companies violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba!
Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in the Caribbean country was prohibited without U.S. government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Trumpâ€™s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. Once the business consultants traveled to the island and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers with Trumpâ€™s companyâ€”then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resortsâ€”how to make it appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort.
Wow, that should cost Trump some support in Florida. Elsewhere, an anonymous plaintiff has re-filed her suit against Trump that claims he raped her when she was 13 years old. It’s not clear to me whether anything will happen with this suit before the election, but it’s remarkable so little is said about it. See also Snopes. That’s another one Tomasky left out. Tomasky also didn’t mention that U.S. Intelligence officials are still looking into ties between one of Trump’s advisers and the Kremlin.
Tomasky did go into Modelgate —
Modelgate. And speaking of undocumented workers, one of the better scoops of this season that failed to get the oxygen it deserved was this amazing report by James West in Mother Jones about how young female models in Trumpâ€™s employ were working in the country illegally and were treated worse than many people treat their dogs. Only one of these women talked to West on the record, but this is a story that would sicken the women watching the next debate, and the men with consciences, too.
Tomasky also mentioned Trump’s history of ripping off contractors and his plan toÂ round up and deport 12 million people, which certainly deserves more scrutiny.
Someday, Trump may actually regret he ever tried the running for president thing.