Rantt Rundown: A Family Built On A Foundation Of Unlawful Corruption

Day 511 of the Trump presidency

Donald Trump, accompanied by his family, at news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York Wednesday Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Donald Trump, accompanied by his family, at a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A lot happened today. From the IG report on Former FBI Director James Comey’s conduct during the Hillary Clinton email investigation to the Trump administration’s depraved defense of their child separation policy. We’ll touch on both in a second, but first, let’s dive into the Trump family culture of corruption.

From settled lawsuits to apparent donation-triggered case dismissals, the Trump family has paid their way around the law their entire lives. They’ve proven they are willing to go to any lengths necessary to win, no matter how illegal. Their conduct indicates they believe they’re above the law. They are mistaken.

Today, Donald Trump and his three eldest children were sued by the State of New York.

In 2016, The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold published a series of reports that revealed the stunning self-dealing and impropriety of the Trump Foundation. It is what triggered New York’s investigation into the Trump Foundation, causing it to be shut down. That reporting would later earn Fahrenthold a Pulitzer Prize. Today, it appears that reporting could cost Donald Trump and his children in a major way. Fahrenthold reported:

New York’s attorney general filed suit against President Trump and his three eldest children Thursday, alleging “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s personal charity and saying that Trump had repeatedly misused the nonprofit organization to pay off his businesses’ creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs and to stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at 2016 campaign events.

In the suit, Attorney General Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation. She asked that its remaining $1 million in assets be distributed to other charities and that Trump be forced to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties.

Underwood also asked that Trump be banned from leading any other New York nonprofit organization for 10 years — seeking to apply a penalty usually reserved for the operators of small-time charity frauds to the president of the United States.

The claims in the New York attorney general’s suit could trigger tax penalties by the IRS, according to tax-law experts, who noted that the Justice Department can also bring criminal charges when prosecutors believe tax-law violations are “willful.”

Without any outside supervision, Underwood said, the foundation came to serve the spending needs of Trump — and then, in 2016, the needs of his presidential campaign. She cited emails from Trump campaign staff members — including then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — directing which charities should ­receive gifts from the Trump Foundation, and in what amounts, in the lead-up to the crucial Iowa caucuses.

The report mentioned the stunning lack of oversight on the part of Donald Trump Sr. and his children. Underwood claimed the Foundation’s board hadn’t met since 1999. Fahrenthold’s piece goes on to cite the fact after a certain period, the Trump Foundation became almost entirely funded by other people’s money. Let’s take a look at how this Foundation was spending other people’s money and how the media completely botched this story when it was first revealed during the election:

On Saturday, September 10, 2016, Fahrenthold published a piece which originally outlined how the Trump Foundation has improperly spent other people’s money for years. It also depicted acts of self-dealing.

It was covered by online publications pretty heavily at the time. With this new information, you would expect the Trump Foundation to be equally scrutinized by cable news going into the next week…That was not the case. That weekend was the 15th anniversary of 9/11, or as the media made sure we didn’t forget, it was the weekend Hillary Clinton had pneumonia.

What followed was some of the worst examples of click-bait journalism and ratings-hungry broadcasting that year. Story after story was published about “Hillary’s Health,” and if you watched cable news that week, you would’ve had no idea that there was a Trump Foundation scandal at all.

What makes this even worse, is after election day, the Trump Foundation admitted to the IRS that Trump did indeed partake in “self-dealing.” This story was covered by, once again, David Fahrenthold. Way before they admitted to self-dealing to the IRS, Fahrenthold had already laid the evidence out in plain sight for everyone to see, and yet cable news networks failed to adequately report on it. In the end, the Trump Foundation was guilty of everything that the media, and Trump himself, attempted to project onto the Clinton Foundation.

I bring up the 2016 coverage because there is no forward progression if one doesn’t own up to their mistakes and learn the valuable lessons within them.

The media must see the error of their ways so that these same impulses do not lead to another 2016.

Meanwhile…

  • The long-awaited DOJ Inspector General report on FBI Director James Comey arrived. The Washington Post reported:

The Justice Department’s inspector general on Thursday painted a harsh portrait of the F.B.I. during the 2016 presidential election, describing a destructive culture in which James B. Comey, the former director, was “insubordinate,” senior officials privately bashed Donald J. Trump and agents came to distrust prosecutors.

The 500-page report criticized Mr. Comey for breaking with longstanding policy and publicly discussing — in a news conference and a pair of letters in the middle of the campaign — an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in handling classified information. The report was a firm rebuke of those actions, which Mr. Comey has tried for months to defend.

In a blow to President Trump’s narrative that Comey protected Hillary Clinton, it found no pro-Clinton political motivations for closing the investigation.  In fact, it appeared to signal the opposite of what Trump wanted it to. Comey went out of his way to release the letter re-opening the email investigation 11 days before the election. The very same letter that ended up tanking her candidacy.

And then, came the news that made Comey look hypocritical, and triggered a priceless Hillary Clinton tweet.

Believe it or not, I could not sum it up better than conservative commentator and former congressman Joe Walsh.

But this didn’t stop President Trump and his propagandists from trying to spin it with blatant lies.

It also led to calls for drastic measures, which were also triggered by Attorney General Jeff Sessions taking responsibility for the Comey firing and the fact Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is not recused.

But they clearly know what picture the report really painted.

  • After Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the bible as justification for the Trump administration’s inhumane policy of separating immigrant children at the border, things got heated at the White House press briefing.

This came after MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff gave us some of the first glimpses into where some of the children who leave the initial holding sells are placed once they make it to a shelter. It’s complete with an eerie mural of President Trump.

There are reports of babies at the breastfeeding age being ripped from their mother’s arms…

And children not being reunited with their deported parents.


The pressure seems to be mounting on members of Congress.

Americans around the country protested this inhumane policy today.

This is not the America the people want.

Rundown // Corruption / Donald Trump / Human Rights / Media Criticism / Trump Foundation