June 26, 2018

Sotomayor exposes the hypocrisy of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s Muslim ban

On Tuesday, five Supreme Court justices — Roberts, Kennedy, Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch — upheld Trump’s blanket ban on travel into the United States from several majority-Muslim nations. The policy was Trump’s best effort to make good on his campaign pledge promising “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” The majority […]
May 14, 2018

Michael Avenatti’s Mother’s Day bombshell, explained

On Mother’s Day, Michael Avenatti, attorney for Stormy Daniels, posted a cryptic tweet with several images of Trump Tower on December 12, 2016. The photos featured Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who Avenatti is suing on Daniels’ behalf, Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser and several men who are more difficult to identify. Warning ignored. […]
April 29, 2018

Trump offers wild new explanation for why his son met with a Russian agent

On June 9, 2016, Donald Trump Jr. and other top members of the Trump campaign met with a number of Russians, including lawyer Natalia V. Veselnitskaya. The meeting was set up after Trump Jr. was contacted by Rob Goldstone, an agent who represents a Russian pop star. Goldstone told Trump Jr. that the Russians had dirt […]
April 16, 2018

Michael Cohen’s Catch-22

A federal judge has ordered Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal attorney and “fixer,” to turn over his list of clients by Monday at 10 a.m. The list, the judge says, will be made public. For Cohen, this is a major problem. The request comes after Cohen’s home, hotel room, and office were raided by F.B.I. agents […]
March 16, 2018

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer says 6 other women have come forward with similar stories

Adult film star Stormy Daniels says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006 and, days before the 2016 election, was paid $130,000 by a shell company set up by Trump’s personal attorney to keep quiet. The payment may have violated federal election law. Stormy Daniels’ lawyer, Michael Avenatti, appeared on CNN Thursday evening and […]
February 17, 2018

The NRA donated $10,000 to help train the Parkland shooting suspect to use a rifle

Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old who charged with murdering 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, honed his marksmanship skills in a school program supported by the NRA. Cruz was, according to the Associated Press, a member of the school’s four-person varsity marksmanship team, which received a $10,000 grant from the NRA in 2016. MSD JROTC Marksmanship team would […]
January 26, 2018

These 6 GOP tweets just became very awkward

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a bombshell report about Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul, detailing repeated incidents of sexual harassment and assault. Wynn denied the allegations. In one alleged incident he forced a manicurist to have sex with him and later paid the woman a $7.5 million settlement. It was, according […]
October 2, 2017

CNN showers Trump with praise, declares him ‘presidential’ in wake of Las Vegas shooting

Before President Donald Trump even spoke, CNN declared that his response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 50 people dead was “presidential.” Why? Because Trump had, to that point, only tweeted once about the incident. CNN’s John King noted that in previous incidents, Trump was quick to jump to conclusions. But this […]
July 10, 2017

How Trump took a misleading story on James Comey and turned it into a total fabrication

Trump’s fake attack against James Comey, explained.

Former FBI Director James Comey pauses during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 8, 2017, in Washington. CREDIT: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Did James Comey leak classified information to the press?

There is absolutely no evidence or reporting that he did. But that hasn’t stopped Donald Trump from making the claim on Twitter.

James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media. That is so illegal!

 — @realDonaldTrump

In his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former FBI director James Comey did admit that he gave a memo he had written summarizing a meeting he had with President Trump to a friend and asked him to share it with a reporter.

The Hill reported this morning, citing “officials familiar with the documents,” that “more than half” of the memos Comey created summarizing his meetings with Trump contained classified information.

According to The Hill, there were seven memos produced by Comey about his meetings with Trump and four of them contained classified information. Comey, according to his testimony, gave one to the press. Was it one of the memos that contained classified info? The Hill article does not say that it was.

But Comey, as the Washington Post notes, made clear in his Senate testimony that the memo he gave to the press, detailing his February 14th meeting with Trump, was specifically written to exclude classified information.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): I found it very interesting that, that in the memo that you wrote after this February 14th pull-aside, you made clear that you wrote that memo in a way that was unclassified. If you affirmatively made the decision to write a memo that was unclassified, was that because you felt at some point, the facts of that meeting would have to come clean and come clear, and actually be able to be cleared in a way that could be shared with the American people?
Comey: Well, I remember thinking, this is a very disturbing development, really important to our work. I need to document it and preserve it in a way, and this committee gets this but sometimes when things are classified, it tangled them up.
Warner: Amen.
Comey: It’s hard to share within an investigative team. You have to be careful how you handled it for good reason. If I write it such a way that doesn’t include anything of a classification, that would make it easier for to us discuss within the FBI and the government, and to hold onto it in a way that makes it accessible to us.

The Hill report ignores this testimony and repeatedly suggests — without explicitly alleging it — that Comey leaked classified information, going into details on the potential legal violations and consequences.

The journey from the misleading Hill report to Trump’s tweet was assisted by Fox & Friends, which Trump watches religiously.

Report accuses material James Comey leaked to a friend contained top secret information https://t.co/Hkg4cAb6o9

 — @foxandfriends

The “report” did not make that accusation against Comey — although clearly that was the intention of the article.

The article was written by John Solomon, a top executive with Sinclair Media, which attracted controversy by making a deal with the Trump campaign to secure more access in exchange for more favorable, “straighter” coverage.

How Trump took a misleading story on James Comey and turned it into a total fabrication was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

December 13, 2016

Trump postpones press conference on business conflicts until after Electoral College meets

Bait and switch.

CREDIT: Screenshot

To much fanfare, Donald Trump announced on November 30 that he would hold a press conference on December 15 to discuss how he would “be leaving my great business in total.”

I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my ...

 — @realDonaldTrump

great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! While I am not mandated to ....

 — @realDonaldTrump

do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses..

 — @realDonaldTrump

Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!

 — @realDonaldTrump

That press conference has now been postponed until at least January. Trump officials provided no real explanation for the postponement, other than Trump’s busy schedule.

The delay means that the Electoral College will vote — and likely officially make Trump the next president — before Trump provides any information about how he plans to mitigate his business conflicts.

In his public statements, Trump has indicated that he plans on retaining full ownership over his businesses, while turning over day-to-day management to his adult children. From an ethical and legal perspective, however, this arrangement with his children would be meaningless.

Trump, if he retains ownership of his businesses, would receive a stream of payments from foreign governments — which is a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, the Chief Ethics Counsels for George W. Bush and Barack Obama respectively, have said that the only way for Trump to avoid violating the Constitution is to sell his business in total and to put the proceeds in a blind trust.

The view that total divestment is the only way to avoid an illegal conflict has also endorsed by the Office of Government Ethics.

Trump is actively seeking money from foreign governments, including hosting a party encouraging diplomats to stay at his new D.C. hotel. He’s blurred the line between his business and his administration, naming three of his children to the transition team.

Larry Tribe, one of the nation’s most respected Constitutional scholars, believes that, absent total divestment, the Electoral College should reject Trump. Painter and Eisen agree.

Electoral College must reject Trump unless he sells his business, top lawyers for Bush and Obama…

Now, the Electoral College will vote without knowing anything about Trump’s plans for his businesses.

In the meantime, Trump’s substance-free tweets have helped him burn two weeks. Anytime the transition was asked about conflicts, it used the upcoming press conference to deflect the issue.

The tweets have also generated a slew of positive, inaccurate headlines.

A lot of inaccurate headlines

Trump has given no indication he will “leave” or “quit” his business. From a legal and ethical perspective, the key issue is ownership, not management.

Trump’s decision to delay the press conference will appear on page A20 of tomorrow’s New York Times.

The constitutional prohibition against payments from foreign governments to a president is not frivolous. The founders were attempting to ensure that a president’s loyalty would be to the American people alone.

Trump is eager to change the subject, announcing on Twitter that he would name his choice for Secretary of State on Tuesday.

I will be making my announcement on the next Secretary of State tomorrow morning.

 — @realDonaldTrump

No matter whom Trump chooses for Secretary of State, it will not resolve his unconstitutional conflicts of interest. Members of the Electoral College will now have to exercise their vote without any idea of Trump’s plans.

Trump postpones press conference on business conflicts until after Electoral College meets was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.