The Avalanche: Trump’s Corruption Engulfs His Entire Administration

As a flurry of stories implicates Trump's Cabinet, it's clear the Trump Administration’s primary function is to protect and enable Trump's lawlessness.
President Trump with Attorney General William Bar, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Source: DOJ, Gage Skidmore, and State Department)

President Trump with Attorney General William Bar, Vice President Mike Pence, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Source: DOJ, Gage Skidmore, and State Department)

We are in a new phase of the Trump presidency. Since President Trump’s effort to extort the Ukrainian President into interfering in the 2020 election sparked an impeachment inquiry, the dam has broken. Over the course of this week, the corruption scandals surrounding Trump have snowballed and engulfed multiple members of his team. Before we talk about the new developments, let’s put this in perspective.

The President of the United States is abusing his power and systemically pressuring foreign countries (allies, enemies, and authoritarian regimes alike) to investigate his political opponents. This is in blatant violation of election law. He is doing this while using the full force of the US Government to pressure, and in some cases extort, these countries. His administration is filled with officials who are complicit in both the corrupt acts and coverups.

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At the center of it all is President Trump, who already attempted to extort Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, and the Mueller probe, amid withheld military aid. This conduct has sparked an impeachment inquiry as evidence Trump sought a quid pro quo mounted. But that didn’t stop Trump from publicly asking China to investigate Biden this week, and implicitly offering an apparent quid pro quo for improved trade talks. This was followed by reports that President Trump not only talked about Biden and Elizabeth Warren with Chinese President Xi Jinping in June, Trump also promised not to talk about the Hong Kong protests amid stalled trade talks.

At the office of the Vice President, we have Mike Pence whose denials about any knowledge of President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine have fallen apart. As the whistleblower complaint alleged, Pence was instructed not to attend Zelensky’s inauguration in May. This week, The Washington Post reported that Pence was deployed to tell Zelensky military aid wasn’t being released because of “corruption” in Ukraine. To further diminish Pence’s plausible deniability, on Thursday CNN reported that Pence was told about Trump’s July 25th call with Zelensky the day after it happened. 2019 Mike Pence should have a chat with 2016 Mike Pence.

At the Justice Department, we have Attorney General William Barr protecting Trump from criminal liability and seeking foreign interference in the 2020 election. Barr, who has already tried to clear Trump of obstruction after the Mueller report, is now covering for him once again. The DOJ refused to pursue Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson’s criminal referral about Trump’s July 25th call with Ukraine, which Barr was mentioned in. President Trump and Attorney General William Barr have also sought cooperation from Ukraine, Italy, the UK, and Australia (that we know of) in their effort to discredit former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

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At the State Department, we have Secretary of State Mike Pompeo moving to block his subordinates from cooperation with the House impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, the State Department Inspector General briefed Congress on potential retaliation by leaders of the agency against career officials. This conduct is made increasingly problematic amid reports, and subsequent confirmation from Pompeo himself, that he was on the Ukraine call with President Trump.

They’ve clearly reoriented American foreign policy around furthering Trump’s personal political interests. While we’re on the State Department, we have to talk about former US Envoy Kurt Volker, and how his text messages have added quid pro quo evidence.

Politico called these text messages the “smoking texts.” Among these texts was an exchange where Bill Taylor, the top US diplomat to Ukraine, expressed a belief that Trump was withholding military aid specifically to pressure Ukraine to launch investigations into Trump’s political rivals. The texts also showcased that these US diplomats were pushing Ukraine to go on the record and announce their intention to launch the investigations Trump has requested. On Friday, we got further evidence of this quid pro quo:

At the Treasury Department, we have Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin who has been actively violating the law by withholding President Trump’s tax returns from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA). And how can we forget the second whistleblower? We’ve known about the existence of this whistleblower for a couple of months thanks to a lawsuit Neal filed, but The Washington Post reported the first details:

An Internal Revenue Service ­official has filed a whistleblower complaint reporting that he was told that at least one Treasury Department political appointee attempted to improperly interfere with the annual audit of the president’s or vice president’s tax returns, according to multiple people familiar with the document.

As we’ve seen over the course of this week, Trump and his supporters have tried to defend all these developments through lies. Polling indicates it’s not working as the impeachment inquiry has garnered over 50% support. On Friday, President Trump continued his strategy of publicly admitting these crimes but claiming they aren’t crimes in the following tweet:

After this week, one thing is clear: if Trump was serious about ending corruption, he would start by resigning.

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News // China / Corruption / Donald Trump / Impeachment / Mike Pence / Mike Pompeo / Ukraine / William Barr