June 1, 2020

Roundup: Amid Protest and COVID Crises, Blatant Trump Corruption Goes On

Roundup: Amid Protest and COVID Crises, Blatant Trump Corruption Goes On

Our nation faces twin traumas: violent protests and police violence across America in the wake of the brutal police murder of George Floyd, and a deadly pandemic that threatens to resurge. President Trump’s handling of each crisis has been not merely grossly incompetent but also malevolent; his concerns regarding the pandemic have nakedly focused on his reelection, rather than saving lives, and his torrent of comments on the protests are an incitement to racist violence. 

Amid all this disgraceful behavior, Trump and his administration continue to engage in blatant acts of corruption and abuse, as they use their administration to enrich themselves and wealthy Republican donors, while harming working Americans, and as they bend and break every rule to in pursuit of their corruption and Trump’s vendettas. 

Just since Friday, we have seen the following:

1. Trump vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have given veterans and others a fair chance to have their federal student loans forgiven if they could prove they had been deceived by their school; he sided with predatory for-profit colleges and reinstated a rule the industry crafted with Betsy DeVos which gives students no reasonable chance to get such debt relief. 

2. Top Justice Department officials forced the resignation of the FBI’s top lawyer, Dana Boente, a 38-year veteran of the Department, after Fox News criticized Boente’s role in the investigation of former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn, whom Attorney General Barr has let off the hook despite Flynn’s guilty plea and the powerful evidence that he was indeed guilty.

3. In the wake of Trump’s dismissal of five agency inspectors general for the crime of doing their jobs properly, Mother Jones revealed that one hand-picked Trump IG, Department of Homeland Security inspector general Joseph Cuffari, a former aid to Arizona governor Doug Ducey, falsely claimed to have a PhD in philosophy. In fact his doctorate is in management, and it came from a then-unaccredited California Coast University, a diploma mill that printed degrees with few academic requirements.

4. The Interior department’s inspector general found that a top official of that agency, Assistant Secretary Douglas Domenech, violated ethics rules by using his position to seek a job for a family member at the Environmental Protection Agency. Domenech is a repeat ethics offender whose previous documented ethics breach concerned improperly meeting with staff of his former employer, the Koch-financed Texas Public Policy Foundation, regarding the Department’s trashing of endangered species protections. Trump may not care as much about Doug Domenech, father-in-law of Meghan McCain, as much as he loves people like Michael Flynn and Donald Trump, but ongoing ethics probes of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a relentless Trump suckup, could eventually imperil the position of Interior inspector general Mark Lee Greenblatt.

5. Trump announced he was postponing the G7 summit and declared he wanted to turn the annual meeting into the “G10 or G11,” adding new members, something he has no power to do on a permanent basis. Trump said the current G7 group is “a very outdated group of countries.” One of the nations he proposed to add was, of course, Russia, which was banned from the meetings in 2014 after Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine. This is the same Vladimir Putin who interfered in the 2016 U.S. election with the aim of electing Donald J. Trump. 

Candidate Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. President Trump presides over the most corrupt administration in history.