Recommended Readings about Donald Trump

The following is a list of recommended readings about Donald Trump.  I have provided brief comments and quoted highlights from most of these articles.  This will give you a Reader's Digest version of the articles, but I encourage you to click on the links to read the articles in their entirety.  This is very much a work in progress.  I will be adding more articles as time permits.

 

  1. An Open Letter to Trump Voters from His Top Strategist Turned Defector
  2. National Security
  3. Donald Trump's Mental Health
  4. Scams/Highly Questionable Business Deals/Business Failures/Failure to Pay Bills/Bankruptcies
  5. Charity Cheapskate
  6. Tax Avoidance/Cheating
  7. Trump the Coldhearted
  8. Alleged Sexual Harassment/Rape
  9. Trump the Impersonator
  10. Trump the Racist?
  11. Endorsements and Rejections
  12. Trump the Liar
  13. General
  14. Trump the Misogynist
  15. Donald Trump Is An Existential Threat To American Democracy
  16. The Conservative Case For Voting For Clinton (Or Donald Trump Is An Existential Treat To Our Democracy II)
  17. Republicans Declare War On Our Democratic System
  18. Yet another reading list 

 

An Open Letter to Trump Voters from His Top Strategist-Turned-Defector by Stephanie Cegielski, XOJane March 28, 2016

 
Stephnie Cegielsik signed on to be a top advisor when Trump began campaigning for President. Now, she wishes she hadn't.

Even Trump's most trusted advisors didn't expect him to fare this well. . . .But something surprising and absolutely unexpected happened. Every other candidate misestimated the anger and outrage of the “silent majority” of Americans who are not a part of the liberal elite. So with each statement came a jump in the polls. Just when I thought we were finished, The Donald gained more popularity.

I don't think even Trump thought he would get this far. And I don’t even know hat he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all.

He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver's seat, and nothing else matters. The Donald does not fail. The Donald does not have any weakness. The Donald is his own biggest enemy.

 
What was once Trump's desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks.
 
I'll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.

You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.

He doesn't want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.

The hard truth is: Trump only cares about Trump. . . .

The man does not know policy, nor does he have the humility to admit what he does not know — the most frightening position of all. . . .

I began to realize his arrogance and isolation had taken over and were now controlling his message.

And here's what he tapped into: the unprecedented, unbelievable anger.

Because we are all angry — and we all have a right to be. But Trump is not our champion. He would stab any one of his supporters in the back if it earned him a cent more in his pocket.

No matter how many times he repeats it, Trump would not be the "best" at being a president, being in shape, fighting terrorism, selling steaks, and whatever other "best" claim he has made in the last 15 minutes.

He would be the best at something, though. He is the best at looking out for Donald Trump — at all costs.

Don’t let our country pay that price.

 

 

 

 

National Security

 

The following stories all touch on Trump and national security.  Stories 8 - 12 are closely related. Indeed, the seventh, eighth and ninth stories outlining the close ties between Trump and his associates and the Kremlin may explain the seventh story detailing his reckless position endangering our NATO allies. Stories 4 - 7 are also closely related and bear on his fitness to be in charge of nuclear weapons.  They should be read in conjunction with the section on his mental health.

 

  1.  Trump at War by Andy Kroll, Huffington Post

This is a devastating look at Trump's lack of military and foreign policy expertise as well as his disrespect for veterans. Here are a few excerpts.

 

Trump’s pronouncements on foreign policy, combined with his years of broadsides, have set off a very real fear within military circles about what might happen were he to become president. In the last two months, I spoke with dozens of people in the national security realm—current and retired officers, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and former White House, State Department, Pentagon and CIA officials. The words they used to describe their mood: Terrified. Shocked. Appalled. Never before, they say, has a candidate gotten so close to the White House with such little respect for the military." . . .

 Richard Kohn, an expert in civil-military relations and retired professor at the University of North Carolina called Trump's foreign policy advises, "probably the least qualified group of foreign policy and national security advisers I’ve ever seen or even heard of." . . .

"For even the savviest of presidents, the relationship between a commander in chief and his military is famously fraught, an intricate dance of egos and agendas, worldviews and bureaucracies. A President Trump, however, could usher in a clash of historic proportions. 'If you take the man at his word,' said Michael Breen, the president of the Truman National Security Project and a decorated former Army officer, 'we have a presidential candidate who seems to have committed himself to triggering what would probably be the greatest crisis in civil-military relations since the American Civil War.'

 

  1. Open Letter On Donald Trump From GOP Nationals Security Leaders signed by 121 GOP experts    War On The Rocks, March 2, 2016

. . . his insistence that close allies such as Japan must pay vast sums for protection is the sentiment of a racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II. . . .

He is fundamentally dishonest. Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation.

His equation of business acumen with foreign policy experience is false. Not all lethal conflicts can be resolved as a real estate deal might, and there is no recourse to bankruptcy court in international affairs.

 

  1. Rubio: I Still Believe Trump Can't Be Trusted with America's Nuclear Weapons Codes   John McCormick, The Weekly Standard, June 9, 2016

One month after announcing his support for Donald Trump, Marco Rubio still believes that the presumptive GOP nominee is unfit to be commander-in-chief. "I stand by everything I said during the campaign," the Florida senator told THE WEEKLY STANDARD on Thursday when asked if he still believes Trump cannot be trusted with access to the country's nuclear weapons codes.

During the campaign, Rubio said that Trump was "dangerous" and that we must not hand "the nuclear codes of the United States to an erratic individual."

 

  1. Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All    Jane Mayer,  The New Yorker, July 25, 2016
 
Tony Schwartz spent 18 months working very closely with Donald Trump as his ghostwriter for "Art of the Deal".  He started speaking out about his experience with Trumb because
 
. . . the prospect of President Trump terrified him. It wasn’t because of Trump’s ideology—Schwartz doubted that he had one. The problem was Trump’s personality, which he considered pathologically impulsive and self-centered. . . .
 
“I put lipstick on a pig,” he said. “I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is.” He went on, “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
 
If he were writing “The Art of the Deal” today, Schwartz said, it would be a very different book with a very different title. Asked what he would call it, he answered, “The Sociopath.” 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Compare what Tony Schwartz said about Trump with what Jack O'Donnell, a man who worked with him for 3 years said about him. (the next one on this list.)

 
  1. I know Trump, and he's not fit to be president, by Jack O'Donnell, Tucsom.com/Arizona Daily Star, 8/13/16

Compare what Jack O'Donnell, who worked for Trump for 3 years, said about him with what Tony Schwartz, who worked very closely with Trump for 18 months said about him (number 4 above).

 

I will be upfront and begin this column by stating that I am not a Donald Trump fan. When I go the polls this November, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

But unlike many pundits and average citizens , I have made my decision based on actually knowing Trump. I worked for him for three years in Atlantic City. From 1987 to 1990, I was senior executive at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino. The last half of my time with Donald, I was the president and chief operating officer of the business. . . .

I am horrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency. I know first-hand that he lacks the intelligence, nor does he have the attention span to process the complexities of running our great country. The vision of him sitting in the War Room during a national crisis should frighten every American. Sitting with the Joint Chiefs, secretary of defense, secretary of state and others, he would be forced to do something he is not capable of doing: listening to others.

 
  1. This video featuring retired General and former CIA Director Michael Hayden and Joe Scarborough is chilling and buttresses the claim made by Trump's former ghostwriter, Tony Schwartz (See number 5 above).  Hayden stresses that the nuclear launching system was built for speed and that there isn't much in the way to stop a president from launching nukes, whether a launch was genuinely warranted or not.  Scarborough relates a story a national security expert told him about Trump questioning, three times in an hour, why we can't launch nuclear weapons if we have them. Scarborough's source is anonymous, so it is open to question.  However, I believe Scarborough and his source are telling the truth since they seem to back up what Schwartz has said on the record.

 

 

 

  1. John Noonan is a former nuclear missile officer and a former national security advisor to Jeb Bush. He unleashed an amazing serious of tweets explaining how Trump could undermine our national security by undoing six decades of nuclear deterrence theory, even if he doesn't order the launching of our nuclear missiles.  He elaborates on his tweets in this interview.  What he says is important and does not get enough coverage. I urge you to click both these links and read what he has to say.

 

  1. What Exactly Would It Mean to Have Trump's Finger on the Nuclear Button by Bruce Blair, PoliticoMagazine, 6/11/16

 

  1. Donald Trump’s NATO comments are the scariest thing he’s said   Zack Beauchamp,  Vox, July 21, 2016

Donald Trump's statement that we might not defend our NATO allies if attacked by Russia projects weakness that could undermine the alliance.  It raises uncertainty and increases the probability of a nuclear war that could kill millions. This is why we should not be leaving foreign policy in the hands of Chauncey Gardiner.

 
  1. Donald Trump's Sham Patriotism  Frank Bruni, New York Times July 23, 2016

His patriotism doesn’t add up. On one hand, it leads him to echo conservatives’ longstanding charge that President Obama belittles our country by apologizing too much for it. On the other, Trump told Sanger and Haberman that he’d refrain from reprimanding allies with poor records on civil liberties because the United States is no paragon.

“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” he said. “Look at what is happening in our country. How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”

That’s a shocking statement in the context of Republican complaints thatDemocrats fail to appreciate and celebrate American exceptionalism. But it’s not so surprising from Trump, who excused Vladimir Putin’s criminality by saying that we Americans aren’t ones to talk.

He was on “Morning Joe.” He’d been praising Putin’s strength. And when Joe Scarborough pointed out that Putin “kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” Trump responded: “Well, I think our country does plenty of killing also, Joe.”

Plenty of Killing: That could have been the title of Trump’s convention speech, a pitch-black warning about a country soaked in blood. While it’s customary for politicians who are arguing for change to describe a troubled nation with an unsustainable status quo, Trump evoked a dystopia out of “The Hunger Games,” a land damned near unlovable. 

 
  1. The Quiet American  by Franklin Foer, Slate  April 28, 2016
 
This is a very long article examining the history of Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort.  Manafort made his name lobbying for torturing tyrants and murderers.  He was also instrumental in helping Victor Yanukovych, a close ally of  a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch, become president of Ukraine in 2010.  Tensions arose between Russia and the West in the aftermath of Yanukovych's ouster in 2014.
 

His work necessarily entails secrecy. Although his client list has included chunks of the Fortune 500, he has also built a booming business working with dictators. As Roger Stone has boasted about their now-disbanded firm: “Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, lined up most of the dictators of the world we could find. … Dictators are in the eye of the beholder.” Manafort had a special gift for changing how dictators are beheld by American eyes. He would recast them as noble heroes—venerated by Washington think tanks, deluged with money from Congress. . . .

Strangely, the HUD scandal proved a marketing boon for the firm. An aide to Mobutu Sese Seko told the journalist Art Levine, “That only shows how important they are!” Indeed, Manafort enticed the African dictator to hire the firm. Many of the world’s dictators eventually became his clients. “Name a dictator and Black, Manafort will name the account,” Levine wrote. (Levine’s piece, published in Spy, featured a sidebar ranking the ethical behavior of Washington lobbyists: It found Black, Manafort the worst of the bunch.) The client list included Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos (with a $900,000 yearly contract) and the despots of the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Kenya, Equatorial Guinea, and Somalia. When the Center for Public Integrity detailed the firm’s work, it titled the report “The Torturers’ Lobby.”

In 2005, the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Ahmetov summoned Manafort to Kiev. Ahmetov hailed from Donetsk, the Russian-oriented heavy-industry east of the country. Ahmetov had cause for panic. The best political hope for his region, and, more to the point, his own business interests, was a gruff politician called Victor Yanukovych. As a teen, Yanukovych spent three years in prison for robbery and assault. After his release, he was again arrested for assault. None of this past history—these “youthful mistakes,” which he once instructed the KGB to expunge from his record—slowed his rise through the political ranks. In 2002, he served a brief stint as prime minister in a sclerotic pro-Russian government, mired in corruption scandals.

When Ahmetov summoned Manafort, in 2005, his candidate had suffered a crushing defeat. Yanukovych had just run for president of Ukraine, a campaign that involved rampant fraud and the possible poisoning of his opponent with dioxin. His bid ended in massive protests against him and his crude attempts to overturn the will of the people. The protests, the Orange Revolution, were a burst of optimism that Ukraine might transcend its past and take its seat as a European-style democracy. They should have destroyed Yanukovych’s career. . . .

At the same time, Manafort understood how to accentuate divisions in the Ukrainian electorate. He had overseen Reagan’s Southern strategy; he understood the power of cultural polarization. His polling showed that Yanukovych could consolidate his base by stoking submerged grievances. Even though there was little evidence of the mistreatment of Russian language speakers by the Ukrainian state, he encouraged his candidate to make an issue of imagined abuses to rally their base. To the same end, he instructed Yanukovych to rage against NATO, which he did by condemning joint operations the alliance was conducting in Crimea.

When American Ambassador William Taylor arrived in Kiev in 2006, he summoned Manafort to a meeting in his office. Manafort would become a fixture in the offices of American ambassadors to Ukraine, the U.S. government’s primary conduit to Yanukovych and the pro-Russian camp. As Taylor told a group of American democracy activists just after the meeting, he had asked Manafort to tamp down Yanukovych’s criticisms of the joint operations NATO was conducting with the Ukrainians. The implications of his ask were clear: The interests of American security were hurt by such rhetoric. (emphasis added)

 
 
  1. Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing by Josh Marshall, Talking Points Memo, July 23,16

1. All the other discussions of Trump's finances aside, his debt load has grown dramatically over the last year, from $350 million to $630 million. This is in just one year while his liquid assets have also decreased. Trump has been blackballed by all major US banks.

2. Post-bankruptcy Trump has been highly reliant on money from Russia, most of which has over the years become increasingly concentrated among oligarchs and sub-garchs close to Vladimir Putin. Here's a good overview from The Washington Post, with one morsel for illustration ...

4. Then there's Paul Manafort, Trump's nominal 'campaign chair' who now functions as campaign manager and top advisor. Manafort spent most of the last decade as top campaign and communications advisor for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister and then President whose ouster in 2014 led to the on-going crisis and proxy war in Ukraine. Yanukovych was and remains a close Putin ally. Manafort is running Trump's campaign.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump's financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That's simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.

 
 
  1. Putin's Puppet  by Franklin Foer, Slate,  July 21, 2015
 
This is a very long, detail rich piece by Franklin Foer outlining Trump's ties to Putin and his oligarchs.  It provides a lot more meat to the bones presented in Josh Marshall's "Trump & Putin" piece above. If the Russians were to design a perfect candidate to serve their interests, he would look a lot like Donald Trump.
 

A foreign power that wishes ill upon the United States has attached itself to a major presidential campaign. . . .

One of the important facts about Trump is his lack of creditworthiness. After his 2004 bankruptcy and his long streak of lawsuits, the big banks decided he wasn’t worth the effort. They’d rather not touch the self-proclaimed “king of debt.” This sent him chasing less conventional sources of cash. BuzzFeed has shown, for instance, his efforts to woo Muammar Qaddafi as an investor. Libyan money never did materialize. It was Russian capital that fueled many of his signature projects—that helped him preserve his image as a great builder as he recovered from bankruptcy.

The money didn’t come directly. Hunting for partners with cash, he turned to a small upstart called the Bayrock Group, which would pull together massive real estate deals using the Trump name. . . .

Bayrock itself was an enterprise bound to end in a torrent of litigation. The company’s finance chief Jody Kriss has sued it for fraud. In the course of the litigation, which is ongoing, Kriss alleged a primary source of funding for Trump’s big projects: “Month after month for two years, in fact whenever Bayrock ran out of cash, Bayrock Holdings would magically show up with a wire from ‘somewhere’ just large enough to keep the company going.” According to Kriss, these large payments would come from sources in Russia and Kazakhstan that hoped to hide their cash. Another source of Bayrock funding was a now-defunct Icelandic investment fund called the FL Group, a magnet for Russian investors “in favor with” Putin, as a lawsuit puts it. (The Daily Telegraph has reported that Bayrock mislabeled FL’s investment as a loan, in order to avoid at least $20 million in taxes.)

These projects are simply too ambitious, too central to his prospects, for Trump to have ignored the underlying source of financing. And it was at just the moment he came to depend heavily on shadowy investment from Russia that his praise for Putin kicked into high gear. In 2007, he told Larry King, “Look at Putin—what he’s doing with Russia—I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done—whether you like him or don’t like him—he’s doing a great job.” . . .

Trump’s advisers have stakes in businesses where the health of the Russian state is the health of the firm—where, in fact, the state and the firm are deeply entangled. The campaign isn’t just one man with an aesthetic affinity for Putin and commercial interests in Russia; his sentiments are reinforced and amplified by an organization rife with financial ties to the Kremlin.. . .

In the end, we only have circumstantial evidence about the Russian efforts to shape this election—a series of disparate data points and a history of past interference in similar contests. But the pattern is troubling, and so is the premise. If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to serve his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump. The Republican nominee wants to shatter our military alliances in Europe; he cheers the destruction of the European Union; he favors ratcheting down tensions with Russia over Ukraine and Syria, both as a matter of foreign policy and in service of his own pecuniary interests. A Trump presidency would weaken Putin’s greatest geo-strategic competitor. By stoking racial hatred, Trump will shred the fabric of American society. He advertises his willingness to dismantle constitutional limits on executive power. In his desire to renegotiate debt payments, he would ruin the full faith and credit of the United States. One pro-Kremlin blogger summed up his government’s interest in this election with clarifying bluntness: “Trump will smash America as we know it, we’ve got nothing to lose.”

 

  1. Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia? by Franklin Foer,  Slate, October 31, 2016
 
Computer scientists believe they have observed significant traffic between Donald Trump's server and two servers belonging to the Alfa bank in Russia.  The Alfa bank is one of the most powerful banks in Russia and its founder has ties with Vladimir Putin. Most interestingly, traffic between the servers peaked during times of important political events in the United States. The most likely explanation for this traffic is that it represents email flowing between Trump's servers and the Russian bank.  Representatives of both the Trump campaign and Alfa Bank vigorously deny that there is a connection between them.
 
 
  1. I Ran Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission. I Know The Iran Deal Is Working by Uzi Eilam, J Street Blog, June 12, 2016

 

Simply put, every single one of their pathways to a nuclear weapon has been blocked. The deal has been a major success. Don’t just take my word for it -- listen to what other senior Israeli security leaders have to say.

  • IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gadi Eisenkot: “The deal has actually removed “the most serious danger to Israel’s existence for the foreseeable future, and greatly reduced the threat over the longer term.”
  • Former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy: “This agreement closes the roads and blocks the road to Iranian nuclear military capabilities for at least a decade. And I believe that the arrangements that have been agreed between the parties give us a credible answer to the Iranian military threat, at least for a decade, if not longer.”
  • Former head of Israeli Military Intelligence Amos Yadlin: “The agreement rolls back the Iranian nuclear program to the point of a breakout time of one year, reduces the scope of the program, and places it under a verification regime that is much more invasive than the current system and includes access to military facilities. For at least the next ten years, the threat of nuclear armament in Iran has been reduced.”
  • Lieutenant General Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s Defense Minister until quite recently, made clear last month that Israel does not face an existential threat from Iran.

 

  1. Letter to the President on the Anniversary of the Nuclear Agreement With Iran signed by 75 national security experts, Scribid, July 12, 2016
 
  1. Trump as a Strategic Asset of the Islamic State by Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg, The American Prospect, June 15, 2016

The strategic text that apparently served as an Islamic State handbook, The Management of Savagery, lays out just this rationale—in religious language that belies its secular roots. It explains that terror attacks against the West will lead to clumsy assaults on the Islamic world, thereby “dragging the masses [of Muslims] into the battle.” The organization's pre-Ramadan manifesto this year repeats justifications for killing civilians in an attempt to argue away traditional Islamic rules for just war.

Two other things leap out of that manifesto: a recurring attempt to convince readers that the Islamic State's battlefield losses and shrinking territory in Syria and Iraq are inconsequential, and fury at Muslims who have not joined its side. The subtext is that the so-called Caliphate is facing the very real possibility of being overrun. The effort to recruit foreign fighters, much as it has frightened Europe, has fallen far short of the Islamic State's fantasies. The vast majority of Muslims have persisted in what the radicals consider apostasy. They are labeled “mindless beasts” who count themselves as Muslims but believe America.

So the Islamic State, besieged and apparently lacking foreign networks, urges “supporters of the Caliphate in Europe and America” to carry out attacks on civilians. It's the classic lament and call to arms of a revolutionary group facing defeat. The victims of its violence are randomly chosen. The expectation is that the theatrics of bloodshed will provoke an over-the-top, indiscriminate response by the enemy against Muslims. This, in turn, is supposed to prove even to “mindless beasts” that coexistence between Islam and the West is impossible—both in the individual's daily life and on the global stage.

Donald Trump, with his bravado and hatred, is playing the part assigned to him in this script, little as he understands it. As president, he would constantly show that terror works, not just in his words but in his actions.

 

 

 

Donald Trump's Mental Health

 

A neuroscientist explains: Trump has a mental disorder that makes him a dangerous world leader

According to a number of top U.S. psychologists, like Harvard professor and researcher Howard Gardner, Donald Trump is a “textbook” narcissist. In fact, he fits the profile so well that clinical psychologist George Simon told Vanity Fair, “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops.” This puts Trump in the same category as a number of infamous dictators like Muammar Gaddafi, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Saddam Hussein.

 

IS DONALD TRUMP ACTUALLY A NARCISSIST? THERAPISTS WEIGH IN!

 

 “He’s very easy to diagnose,” said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. “In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He’ll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn’t like her looks. ‘You’re fired!’ would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants.”  . . .

[Harvard professor and developmental psychologist] Mr. Gardner said, “For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous.”

 

 

Scams/Highly Questionable Business Deals/Business Failures/Failure to Pay Bills/Bankruptcies

 

There is a lot covered in this category because there is a lot of overlap between the subcategories.  For example, Trump University went bankrupt.  Do I put that under "Bankruptcies" or "Scams"?  There is a common denominator in all these categories.  Melania Trump received criticism for plaigerizing Michelle Obama in her convention speech when she said "Your Word Is Your Bond".  It is hard to see how this noble ideal applies to each of the following examples.

 

  1. Donald Trump said ‘university’ was all about education. Actually, its goal was: ‘Sell, sell, sell!’  By Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman and Dalton Bennett, Washington Post, June 4

 

  1. Former Trump University Workers Call the School a ‘Lie’ and a ‘Scheme’ in Testimony by Michael Barbaro and Steve Eder, New York Times, May 31, 2016

In blunt testimony revealed on Tuesday, former managers of Trump University, the for-profit school started by Donald J. Trump, portray it as an unscrupulous business that relied on high-pressure sales tactics, employed unqualified instructors, made deceptive claims and exploited vulnerable students willing to pay tens of thousands for Mr. Trump’s insights.

One sales manager for Trump University, Ronald Schnackenberg, recounted how he was reprimanded for not pushing a financially struggling couple hard enough to sign up for a $35,000 real estate class, despite his conclusion that it would endanger their economic future. He watched with disgust, he said, as a fellow Trump University salesman persuaded the couple to purchase the class anyway.

“I believe that Trump University was a fraudulent scheme,” Mr. Schnackenberg wrote in his testimony, “and that it preyed upon the elderly and uneducated to separate them from their money.”      . . .

The most striking documents were written testimony from former employees of Trump University who said they had become disenchanted with the university’s tactics and culture. Corrine Sommer, an event manager, recounted how colleagues encouraged students to open up as many credit cards as possible to pay for classes that many of them could not afford.

“It’s O.K., just max out your credit card,” Ms. Sommer recalled their saying.

Jason Nicholas, a sales executive at Trump University, recalled a deceptive pitch used to lure students — that Mr. Trump would be “actively involved” in their education. “This was not true,” Mr. Nicholas testified, saying Mr. Trump was hardly involved at all. Trump University, Mr. Nicholas concluded, was “a facade, a total lie.”

 

  1. Trump Vitamins Were Fortified With BS by Abby Haglage, The Daily Beast, May 25, 2016
 

Call it “Vitamin T.” For several years in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Donald Trump encouraged people to take part in a pseudo-scientific vitamin scheme—all without expressing any concern about how it might potentially endanger people’s health.

Through a multi-level marketing project called The Trump Network, the business mogul encouraged people to take an expensive urine test, which would then be used to personally “tailor” a pricey monthly concoction of vitamins—something a Harvard doctor told The Daily Beast was a straight-up “scam.”

And when The Daily Beast asked a doctor for The Trump Network to defend the products, he wound up deriding the idea of “evidence-based” medicine.

 
  1. USA TODAY exclusive: Hundreds allege Donald Trump doesn’t pay his bills  by Steve Reilly, USA Today, June 9, 2016

 

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages. . . .

 

The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years. In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources. Some just give up the fight, or settle for less; some have ended up in bankruptcy or out of business altogether.

 

  1. How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions by Russ Buettner and Charles V. Bagli, The New York Times, June 11, 2016

An in-depth analysis of how Trump squeezed millions of dollars out of his casino business while hurting small businesses and leaving lenders and stockholders holding the bag as his business slipped into bankruptcy.  As any casino gambler knows, the House always wins.  It takes a special kind of talent to grind a casino into the ground, and Trump's talent in this arena was huuuuuuge.

Mr. Trump assembled his casino empire by borrowing money at such high interest rates — after telling regulators he would not — that the businesses had almost no chance to succeed.

His casino companies made four trips to bankruptcy court, each time persuading bondholders to accept less money rather than be wiped out. But the companies repeatedly added more expensive debt and returned to the court for protection from lenders.

After narrowly escaping financial ruin in the early 1990s by delaying payments on his debts, Mr. Trump avoided a second potential crisis by taking his casinos public and shifting the risk to stockholders.

And he never was able to draw in enough gamblers to support all of the borrowing. During a decade when other casinos here thrived, Mr. Trump’s lagged, posting huge losses year after year. Stock and bondholders lost more than $1.5 billion.

    

  1. Do you remember the USA Freedom Kids who danced and sang for Trump at one of his rallies?  It looks like their manager might sue Trump's organization for stiffing them.

 

  1. HOW DONALD TRUMP’S COMPANY VIOLATED THE UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA by Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 9/29/16

      DONALD TRUMP STILL WON'T TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT CUBA by Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 9/30/16

    From the Herald archives: Donald Trump on the embargo and casinos by Donald Trump, Miami Herald, 9/30/16 reprent of letter originally published on 6/25/99

 

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts indirectly funded an effort to explore business opportunities in Cuba in 1998 during a time when there was a strict embargo preventing Americans from doing buisness in Cuba.  Trump Hotels didn't directly spend money in Cuba.  Instead, it reimbursed another company, Seven Arrows, whose representatives spent $68,000 making an explaratory trip to Castro's Cuba on Trump Hotels' behalf. When Trump Hotels reimbursed Seven Arrows, they broke the law.  But fear not, a Seven Arrows executive wrote to the Trump Hotels explaining how they could skirt the law by claiming the trip was for charitable purposes. Trump's Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway tried to spin this by pointing out that nothing came of this venture. Trump did not actually invest in Cuba. But that (intentionally) misses the point. The very act of spending money in Cuba for exploring the possibility of doing business violated the law.  Trump's unmitigated gall and gold-medal hypocrisy can be seen in this letter arguing against lifting the embargo that he wrote to the Miami Herald June 25, 1999.

 

[Castro] turned his nation into a maximum-security prison. His regime controls every aspect of human life - access to food, medical assistance, schools and employment. Castro has not mellowed with age. Terror continues to reign. The secret police are unrestrained. The disappearance and beatings of citizens are still tools of civilian control, as is the suppression of free speech. Castro's ruthless domination of the Cuban people has not lessened even as his regime crumbles. . . .

Of course, he would love Donald Trump to come to Havana and build casino hotels. Why? Not to raise the standard of living for the people of Cuba. Quite the contrary. Almost every dollar would go to prop up his police-state. Why? Because foreign investors cannot legally do business with private Cuban citizens. They can go into business only with the Castro government. It is highly illegal in Cuba for anyone except for the regime to employ a Cuban citizen. . . .

If I opened a casino/hotel in Havana, I would be required to pay Castro about $10,000 per year for each Cuban worker. But the workers would not benefit. Castro would pay them the equivalent of $10 a month. The rest he uses to pay for the brutal and violent system that keeps him in power - and deprives the Cuban people of basic human rights. In other words, my investment in Cuba would directly subsidize the oppression of the Cuban people.

Yes, the embargo is costly. If I formed a joint venture with European partners, I would make millions of dollars. But I'd rather lose those millions than lose my self-respect. I would rather take a financial hit than become a financial backer of one of the world's most-brutal dictators, a man who was once willing to aid in the destruction of my country. To me the embargo question is no question at all. Of course, we should keep the embargo in place. We should keep it until Castro is gone.

Trump announced that he was running for President under the Reform Party in October 1999.  Trump's first public campaign stop for his 1999 run was in Miami, where he courted Little Havana with his anti-Castro rhetoric.

 

 

Charity Cheapskate

 

When it comes to giving to charity, it seems like there is less to Trump than meets the eye.  The following stories deal with the quest to verify Trump's claims of charitable giving.  Special acknowledgement should be given to David A. Fahrenthold of the Washington Post.  Not only did he write many of the stories, his persistent questioning on twitter pressured Trump to make good on a pledge to donate $1 million to veterans he had made nearly four months earlier. These articles mainly show that Trump has given very little to his charities through the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Trump insists that he's given a lot of money to directly to charity instead of through his foundation, but reporters have been unable to find any evidence to verify this claim. Trump could provide the evidence by releasing his tax returns or by providing receipts from the charities.  However he has not done this.  Apparently, for whatever reason, he'd rather have people think of him as a charity cheapskate than surrender his tax returns or provide receipts.

Update 9/26/16: A new story by David Fahrenthold complicates the picture outlined by previous stories. It is no longer correct to say he gave nothing to charity after 2009 and before 2016.  He asked who owed him $2.3 million to give the money to charity instead of paying him.  Read the 17th story listed here for details. That still does not significantly change the picture that Donald Trump, a man who is worth up to $10 Billion, is a charity cheapskate.

  1. Trump: The Least Charitable Billionaire  The Smoking Gun, April 12, 2011

This report may be one of the first to look at Trump's history of charitable giving, or lack thereof. 

A TSG review of the group’s Internal Revenue Service returns dating back to 1990 reveals that Trump, the foundation’s president, may be the least charitable billionaire in the United States.

How miserly is The Donald?

From 1990 through 2009, Trump has personally donated a total of just $3.7 million to his foundation, which was incorporated in 1987. In fact, the billionaire is not even the largest contributor to his own charitable organization. . . .

During the past two decades, the Trump foundation has made charitable contributions totaling a paltry $6.7 million.

 

 

  1. There's something fishy about Donald Trump's charitable donations by Marcia Dunn, Business Insider/AP, August 2, 2015

Trump claimed to have given $102 million in cash and land to charitable organizations over the previous five years. However, tax filings by the Donald J. Trump foundation showed that Trump had made no contributions to his foundation between 2009 and 2015.  Marcia Dunn did, however, find one example of a rather interesting "charity".

Actual cash donations account for only around a tenth of the $102 million Trump says he has given in the last five years. Most of the total comes from land-related transactions. One major land donation from Trump earlier this year may result in a significant tax deduction for Trump for continuing to operate a commercial golf driving range.

Trump announced in January he was providing a land conservancy in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, with a legal promise never to develop 16 luxury homes on what is now the driving range of the Trump National Golf Course Los Angeles.

But city planning documents indicate Trump had no plans to use the land for anything other but a driving range — which he will continue to do under the terms of the easement.

A possible multimillion dollar beneficiary of Trump's gift: Donald Trump. Easements — contractual limitations which formally devalue the land, even if they require no changes in its use or ownership — provide an avenue for federal tax write-offs.

By committing to use his driving range as a driving range, Trump is likely entitled to a sizable tax deduction, said Dean Zerbe, a tax attorney for Alliant Group of Houston and who previously headed an investigation into easement write-offs for the Senate Finance Committee.

 

Dunn reported the Donald J. Trump foundation was largely funded by other people's money.  It had no staff and gave out $3.6 million between 2011 and 2013.  

 

  1. For Years, Trump's Charity Gave Veterans Little More Than Peanuts by John McCormack, The Weekly Standard, January 27, 2016

Donald Trump says he's skipping the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Thursday night because he's upset with Fox News and debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Trump will instead hold a "special event to benefit veterans organizations" in Iowa, according to a campaign press release. But the event could come off as a cheap political stunt exploiting veterans, especially because the Donald J Trump Foundation has been far from generous to veterans organizations over the years.

 

As Emily Canal of Forbes reported in October: "The Donald J. Trump Foundation has donated $5.5 million to 298 charities between 2009 and 2013 (the most recent year available), according to the non-profit's 990 tax forms from those years. Of that, only $57,000 has been donated to seven organizations that directly benefit military veterans or their families, Forbes found. Wounded Warriors was not among the organizations Trump's foundation gave to in that time period." ...

The Trump Foundation's $57,000 in donations to veterans groups from 2009 to 2013 amounted to far less than Trump's donations to the Clinton Foundation. "Trump is listed on the Clinton Foundation's donor page as having given somewhere between $100,001 and $250,000," the Daily Caller reported last year. (emphasis added).

 
 
  1. Missing from Trump’s list of charitable giving: His own personal cash  By David A. Fahrenthold and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post  April 10, 2016

 

Since the first day of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has said that he gave more than $102 million to charity in the past five years.

To back up that claim, Trump’s campaign compiled a list of his contributions — 4,844 of them, filling 93 pages.

But, in that massive list, one thing was missing.

Not a single one of those donations was actually a personal gift of Trump’s own money.

Instead, according to a Washington Post analysis, many of the gifts that Trump cited to prove his generosity were free rounds of golf, given away by his courses for charity auctions and raffles. . . .

Some beneficiaries on the list are not charities at all: They included clients, other businesses and tennis superstar Serena Williams. . ..

. . .his giving appears narrowly tied to his business and, now, his political interests.

 

This article notes than nearly all of Trump's donations to charity have come from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a foundation that has been funded with other people's money.

 

  1. Four months after fundraiser, Trump says he gave $1 million to veterans group  By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post May 24, 2015

Donald Trump skipped a Republican presidential debate on January 28 to host a televised fundraiser for veterans.  He claimed that he had raised $6 million, with $1 million coming from his own pocket.  Nearly four months passed and he had not made good on his pledge to donate $1 million.  After being pressed by reporters to account for his $1 million pledge, Trump finally made his donation on May 23.

 

Other big donors to Trump’s fundraiser had already made their gifts weeks before. Why had Trump waited so long?

“You have a lot of vetting to do,” Trump said Tuesday in a telephone interview conducted while he was flying to a campaign rally in Albuquerque.

For this particular donation, it would seem that little new vetting was required because Trump already knew the recipient well. The Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation had already received more than $230,000 in donations from the Donald J. Trump Foundation — a charity controlled by Trump but largely funded by others. Last year, the group gave Trump its “Commandant’s Leadership Award” at a gala in New York.

When asked Tuesday whether he had given the money this week only because reporters had been asking about it, Trump responded: “You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy. I gave out millions of dollars that I had no obligation to do.”

 

  1. Trump promised millions to charity.  We found less than $10,000 over 7 years By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post June 28, 2016

 

In May, under pressure from the news media, Donald Trump made good on a pledge he made four months earlier: He gave $1 million to a nonprofit group helping veterans’ families.

Before that, however, when was the last time that Trump had given any of his own money to a charity?

If Trump stands by his promises, such donations should be occurring all the time. In the 15 years prior to the veterans donation, Trump promised to donate earnings from a wide variety of his moneymaking enterprises: “The Apprentice.” Trump Vodka. Trump University. A book. Another book. If he had honored all those pledges, Trump’s gifts to charity would have topped $8.5 million.

But in the 15 years prior to the veterans’ gift, public records show that Trump donated about $2.8 million through a foundation set up to give his money away — less than a third of the pledged amount — and nothing since 2009. Records show Trump has given nothing to his foundation since 2008. . . .

In the 1980s, Trump pledged to give away royalties from his first book to fight AIDS and multiple sclerosis. But he gave less to those causes than he did to his older daughter’s ballet school.

In recent years, Trump’s ­follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent. . . .

In all, when the $1 million gift to veterans is added to his giving through the Donald J. Trump Foundation, Trump has given at least $3.8 million to charity since 2001. That is a significant sum, although not among billionaires. For example, hedge-fund titan Stanley Druckenmiller, just behind Trump on Forbes’s rankingsof net worth, gave $120 million to his foundation in 2013 alone.

What has set Trump apart from other wealthy philanthropists is not how much he gives — it is how often he promises that he is going to give.

 

 

  1. Five questions we still can’t answer about Donald Trump’s charity donation   By David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post July 6, 2016

For weeks now, The Washington Post has been trying to prove Donald Trump right about something important.

So far, we’ve failed.

The Post has been trying to confirm a claim that Trump and his campaign staff have made repeatedly: that the mogul has given millions of dollars of his own money to charities.

First, The Post looked in public records.

The proof wasn’t there.

Indeed, the tax filings of the Donald J. Trump Foundation — which Trump set up in 1987 to give away his money — show no gifts from Trump himself since 2008. (Filings since then show that all the new money in Trump’s foundation was supplied by other donors. Trump still chooses how to give it away.)

The Post then looked through an internal list compiled by Trump’s campaign, which said the tally showed $102 million in charitable gifts from Trump.

The proof wasn’t there, either.

 

  1. Eric Trump said his charity received ‘hundreds of thousands’ from his father. Now, he’s not sureBy David A. Fahrenthold,  Washington Post  July 12, 2016

Last week, Eric Trump said that his own charitable foundation had received "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in personal donations from his father.

But on Monday, Eric Trump said he could not name a single instance when Donald Trump had given such a gift.  . . .

That issue [the nature of Trump's charitable giving] has become a test of character and honesty for the presumptive GOP nominee — who, earlier this year, made good on a promise to give $1 million to a veterans charity only after intense media scrutiny.

Since 2001, Trump has repeatedly made other public promises to give the proceeds of business ventures to charity. In all, those promises add up to more than $8.5 million. But public records show little evidence that Trump made good on those promises. He has given away only $2.8 million through his Donald J. Trump Foundation, and public records show no gifts at all from Trump to his namesake foundation since 2008. [Since then, its coffers have been filled by other donors.]

Trump and his aides have said that the mogul gives much more than that — but privately, out of the limelight. But, before the $1 million for veterans, the last personal gift The Post had unearthed was from 2009.

 

 

  1. Lessons from my search for Donald Trump's personal giving to charityBy David A. Fahrenthold,  Washington Post,  August 5, 2016

Trump has promised to give millions of dollars of his own money to charity. Trying to find evidence of them, I first looked at the Donald J. Trump Foundation. Dead end. Tax records show no gifts from Trump to his namesake foundation since 2008. Then I looked at the Trump campaign's official list of his donations. Dead end. That list included thousands of free rounds of golf, given away by Trump's golf courses. But no gifts of cash from Trump's own pocket. His campaign said those gifts did exist. It just wouldn't say who got them.

 

  1. Afghanastan Veteran: Trump Used Us by Sean M. Easter, Hartford Courant, June 4, 2016

Trump made a big deal of the $6 million fundraiser he held in January for veterans.  He claimed that $1 million of this money was coming out of his own pocket.  Yet, much, if not most of that money was not distributed until Trump came under scrutiny in late May from reporters asking where the money had gone to.  This is an article by an Afghanistan Veteran reacting to the much payment of the money that was promised.

In the months between then and now, Trump bristled when asked how much of his self-reported $6 million in funds raised had been distributed. On Tuesday, he responded to straightforward questions from reporters with personal attacks. He insisted, bizarrely, "I wanted to keep it private, because I don't think it's anybody's business if I want to send money to the vets." This, as though the act of throwing a fully public fundraiser could make the funds anything but public business.

His response says much, generally, about Mr. Trump's fitness for office, and his devil-may-care attitude toward basic tenants of democratic leadership such as transparency, accountability and respect for the role of the press. There is much to be said about whether this behavior evinces fundamental values such as honesty, truthful representation and follow-through. But as a veteran, the core issue here is, to me, simple and clean:

He used us.

 

  1. Trump's Qadhafi boast raises questions about chariy claim  by Ben Schreckinger, Politico, June 10, 2016

Muammar Qadhafi had a hard time finding a place to stay in 2009 when he wanted to attend a UN meeting in New York.  Most landlords were shunning him because of his role in the terrorist attack against Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scott\land.  But Trump was willing to rent some land for the dictator to pitch his tent on.  No one knows how much Trump got for rentin his land, but it must have been a fortune.  He boasted that he received more for renting the land out for one night than it was worth for a year or two years.

Many were upset with Trump for renting land to a Terrorist, but when questioned about it on CNN he said that he had given the money to charity.

However, Politico investigators looked into the matter and could find no evidence that he had given the money to charity. When Politico Reporters asked Rabbi Stephanie Bernstein, whose husband had died on the flight what she thought of this, she replied,  "It shows that what’s most important to him is making money. “He doesn’t care about the morality involved here."

 

  1. Why Trump is mad at Blomberg

    New York City's elite don't like Donald Trump because he is a charity cheapskate. This article has an amusing story about Trump cashing a check for 13 cents.

  1. Trump promised personal gifts on ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ Here’s who really paid. , By David A. Fahrenthold,  Washington Post,  August 19, 2016

 

The same thing happened numerous times on “The Celebrity Apprentice.” To console a fired or disappointed celebrity, Trump would promise a personal gift.

On-air, Trump seemed to be explicit that this wasn’t TV fakery: The money he was giving was his own. “Out of my wallet,” Trump said in one case. “Out of my own account,” he said in another.

But, when the cameras were off, the payments came from other people’s money.

In some cases, as with Kardashian, Trump’s “personal” promise was paid off by a production company. Other times, it was paid off by a nonprofit that Trump controls, whose coffers are largely filled with other donors’ money.

The Washington Post tracked all the “personal” gifts that Trump promised on the show — during 83 episodes and seven seasons — but could not confirm a single case in which Trump actually sent a gift from his own pocket. . . .

In all, The Post found 21 separate instances where Trump had pledged money to a celebrity’s cause. Together, those pledges totaled $464,000. The Post then contacted the individual charities to find out who paid off Trump’s promises.

In one case, the answer was: nobody at all.

In 2012, Trump had promised $10,000 to the Latino Commission on AIDS, the charity of former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza. The charity said it never received the money.

In two other cases, it was not possible to determine what happened. One charity said that somebody had paid off Trump’s promise but declined to say who. Leaders of another charity — baseball star Darryl Strawberry’s foundation, to which Trump had promised $25,000 — did not respond to multiple calls or emails from The Post.

In the other 18 cases, the answer was the same — on-air, Trump promising a gift of his own money; off-air, that gift coming from someone else.

 

Update 9/20/16: When David Fahrenthold first reported this story, a representative of the Latino Commission on AIDS told him that they had not received the money promised to them by Trump on the Celebrity Apprentice.  They later rechecked their records and found out that they did receive a check after all.  However, it was from the Trump Foundation which was entirely funded with other people's money in 2012.  None of the money they received was came out of Trump's own pocket.

 

  1. How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money by David Fahrenthold, Washington Post, 9/10/16

Donald Trump has apparently converted the Trump Foundation into an instrument for charity fraud.  It was entirely by other people's money between 2009 and 2015.  And during that time, Trump or a close family member used the Foundation's money (other people's money) to purchase Tim Tebow's helmet for $12,000 and a large painting of Donald Trump for $20,000. This would not be illegal if Trump (or his Foundation) gave the picture and the helmet to other charities, but there is no evidence that he has done that. What's worse, it looks like he used other people's money to bribe Florida's Attorney Geeeral, Pam Bondi, not to investigate claims of fraud at Trump University. [Update 9/15/16: There is new evidence significantly weakens the claim that Trump used charity money to bribe Bondi not to investigate Trump University.  Though the contribution of charity money to Bondi's political campaign violated tax law, it was PROBABLY not part of a deal for her to look the other way.]

 

  1. New Records Shed Light on Donald Trump's $25,000 Gift to Florida Offical by Kevin Sack and Steve Eder, New York Times, 9/14/16

A political action committee formed to support Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's reelection campaign received a check for $25,000 from the Donald J. Trump Foundation four days after the Orlando Sentinel wrote a story saying Bondi's office was considering investigating fraud complaints against Trump University.  The timing of the contribution made it look like this was a bribe to get Bondi to halt the investigation of Trump University.  We can't rule the possibility of a bribe out completely, but new evidence has been made public that greatly weakens this case.

 

  1. Trump used $258,000 from his charity to settle legal problems by David Fahrenthold,  Washington Post, 9/20/16
  1. Trump Directed $2.3 million owed to him to his tax-exempt foundation instead by David Fharenthold, Washington Post, 9/26/16

This story significantly complicates the picture and somewhat changes the conclusions reached in previous reports.  It would be wrong to say Trump gave NOTHING in charity after 2008 and before 2015.  He told others who owed him $2.3 million to send their money to charity instead.  The picture is cloudy as to whether he specifically told them to send their money to the Trump Foundation, but whether he made that specific request or not, that is where their money went to.  Trump's spokesman, Boris Ephsteyn denied that Trump directed the money be paid to the Trump Foundation. The situation is also unclear a to whether Trump owed income tax on this money.  If Trump had told them that they had to pay the money to a specific charity then he owed income tax on the money.  If he didn't tell them which charity to give to, then they didn't.  It is also unclear whether he paid income tax on this money if he did indeed need to pay it.  This story is quite complex, so you should read it in its entirety and evaluate it yourself.

 

  1. Trump Foundation ordered to stop fundraising by N.Y. attorney general’s office by David Fahrenthold, Washington Post  10/3/16

New York State Attorney General issued a cease and desist order to the Trump Foundation ordering it to cease fundraising.  It issued this order because the Foundation did not register with the state to obtain legally required authorization to solicit money.  The Trump Foundation also failed to submit the  annual audited financial statements that were required to maintain its authorization to solicit money. 

In addition . . . the Trump Foundation was ordered to supply the state with all the legal paperwork necessary to register as a charity that solicits money within 15 days.

Trump’s foundation must also look back and determine whether it violated state law in prior years by soliciting money without authorization, Sheehan wrote. If so, it must provide the financial audit reports it should have provided for those years. Those reports, Sheehan said, are also due within 15 days.

If Trump’s foundation does not comply, Sheehan wrote, it will be considered “a continuing fraud upon the people of New York.”

 

  1. Trump boasts about his philanthropy. But his giving falls short of his words  by David Fahrenthold,  Washington Post, 10/29/16

 

Trump has often pretened to be generous towards charity in public, but when it comes time to pay up he just doesn't come through with his own money. He is quick to take credit for other people's charitable donations, but he's a shy one when it is time to whip out HIS checkbook. If you can only read one article about Trump and charity, this one is it.

 

The Post found that his personal giving has almost disappeared entirely in recent years. After calling 420-plus charities with some connection to Trump, The Post found only one personal gift from Trump between 2008 and the spring of this year. That was a gift to the Police Athletic League of New York City, in 2009. It was worth less than $10,000.

 

In addition, it looks like Trump used the Donald J. Trump Foundation as his own personal piggy bank.

New findings, for instance, show that the Trump Foundation’s largest-ever gift — $264,631 — was used to renovate a fountain outside the windows of Trump’s Plaza Hotel.

Its smallest-ever gift, for $7, was paid to the Boy Scouts in 1989, at a time when it cost $7 to register a new Scout. Trump’s oldest son was 11 at the time. Trump did not respond to a question about whether the money was paid to register him.

At other times, Trump used his foundation’s funds to settle legal disputes involving Trump’s for-profit companies and to buy two large portraits of himself, including one that wound up hanging on the wall of the sports bar at a Trump-owned golf resort. Those purchases raised questions about whether Trump had violated laws against “self-dealing” by charity leaders.

 

 

 

Tax Avoidance/Cheating

 

  1. Donald Trump's Worthless Real Estate Math by David Cay Johnston, The Daily Beast, May 24, 2016

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign disclosure reports declare that his buildings are worth a lot of money, in his view demonstrating phenomenal business acumen and how the Trump name adds luster. But in property tax filings Trump describes the same properties as almost worthless, asserting one of his biggest properties is in such an awful location that its retail space is unrentable--what he’d probably define as a loser.

There are multiple lessons in the different faces Trump presents to voters and tax officials that shine a light on Trump’s character and conduct. There are also lessons for you if you own a home or other real property--or plan to someday--because when big property owners pay less, more of the burden falls on you. . ..

 

  1. Trump Tax Tactics In The Spotlight A May 16, 2016 ABC News video that discusses some of the same info covered by Johnston's article on Donald Trump's worthless Real Estate Math, but covers a couple of other questionable tax avoiding schemes

 

  1. WARNING!!! False story ahead. After 9/11 Trump Took Money Marked for Small Business  by Michael Warren, The Weekly Standard, February 15, 2016

The Empire State Development Corporation used improper guidelines in dispensing money intended to help small businesses recover from 9/11.  Trump's company took advantage of this loophole by grabbing money intended for the little guy.

 

In 2005, Trump valued 40 Wall Street at $400 million, and the Trump Organization describes the building as an "impressive, landmark property." And as Trump said immediately following 9/11, none of his properties were directly damaged by the attack on the World Trade Center. But through a loophole in the rules, Trump was able to squeeze $150,000 of money from taxpayers for his valuable landmark property.

Update: Politifact calls this story a half-truth. Snopes claims that this report is FALSE. Instead of just deleting it, I shall leave it up to correct the record. I regret the error.

 

  1. New Evidence Donald Trump Didn’t Pay Taxes, David Cay Johnston, The Daily Beast, 6/15/16

Donald Trump paid no income tax in 1984. This article hints at a whiff of tax fraud.

 

Jack Mitnick, the lawyer and accountant who prepared Trump’s tax returns for more than two decades, was Trump’s only witness. Mitnick testified that he was “thoroughly familiar” with the Trump tax returns and all aspects of the finances of Trump Tower, which were central to the appeal.

 

But when shown a photocopy of Trump’s 1984 tax return, Mitnick testified that “we did not” prepare that return, referring to himself and his firm, and he said did not know who did. However, Mitnick did not dispute that it was his signature on the photocopy.

The original tax return was never found, the judge noted.

Among the issues raised by Mitnick’s 1992 testimony is whether Trump or someone acting on his behalf substituted a return that he or someone else prepared and then transferred Mitnick’s signature using a photocopier.

 

  1. Trump once revealed his income tax returns. They showed he didn’t pay a cent. by Drew Harwell, Washington Post, May 21, 2016

 

Trump had submitted his 1978 and 1979 returns to the regulators as part of an application for a casino license. State records summarizing the returns show that Trump claimed that his combined income during those two years was negative $3.8 million, allowing him to pay no taxes. A few years earlier, he had told the New York Times he was worth more than $200 million.

 

  1. Trump appears to have paid no taxes for two years in early 1990s by Shane Goldmacher, Politico, 6/17/16

Trump paid $0 or near $0 in 1991 and 1993 due to losses at his hotels and casinos. Trump was having tough times during those years and his creditors forced him to live on only $450,000 a month income(That’s right. That’s not a typo.)

 

  1. What we know about Donald Trump and his taxes so far by Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Washington Post, 8/1/16

This is a good summary that discusses the five years when Trump paid no taxes.

 

  1. "The Making of Donald Trump": David Cay Johnston on Trump's Ties to the Mob & Drug Traffickers, Interview with author and tax expert, David Cay Johnston, Democracy Now! 8/10/16

Donald Trump, we know, paid no federal income taxes in 1978, 1979—he and I had lunch and talked about it once—in 1984 and in the 1990s. The 1984 tax return is very revealing. There are special laws in America for full-time real estate people that allow them to live tax-free if they own a lot of property. So, if Donald gave us his tax returns, I could tell you what his property is really worth as opposed to what he tells people it’s worth. That’s one reason he’s not going to give it out. I don’t think he’s anywhere near as wealthy as he claims. Not even close.

But in 1984, he was audited by the state of New York and the City of New York, which both have income taxes. He filed a tax form, not the whole return, that showed zero income for this category of income and over $600,000 of deductions. Surprise, surprise, the auditors said, "Please justify these deductions." He couldn’t do it. But he ordered his law guy—his tax guy to make an appeal. And under oath, his longtime tax guy is shown the return that was filed, and he goes, "Um, that’s my signature, but I didn’t prepare that document." That’s very good evidence of tax fraud.

And Donald has engaged in other tax frauds we know about. He was involved in what’s called the empty box scandal here in New York. That’s where you claim to not live in the city—in the state, and you have an empty box mailed to you out of state to avoid sales tax. In that case, when Donald found out there was an investigation, he did what he often does to not be investigated: He ran to law enforcement and ratted out other people.

 

  1. Donald Trump and the Art of the Tax Loophole by Steven Rattner, New York Times, May 13, 2016

No loophole is too obscure or outlandish for Trump to use to avoid taxes.  He even put goats on two of his New Jersey golf courses so he could lower his property tax by getting them designated as agricultural properties.

 

  1. Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades By DAVID BARSTOW, SUSANNE CRAIG, RUSS BUETTNER and MEGAN TWOHEY, New York Times, 10/10/16

Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss on his taxes in 1995 thanks in part to his disastrous business decisions involving his hotels and casinos.  This article is so important that I needed a full blog post to do it justice.

 

  1. Art of the Steal: This is How Trump Lost $916M and Avoided Tax by David Cay Johnston, The Daily Beast, 10/3/16

This may be the most important article about Trump and taxes. Here are a few highlights, but READ IT IN ITS ENTIRETY

 

Last May, Trump revealed that he took on debt with no intention of paying it all back, which strikes me as fraud. “I’ve borrowed knowing you can pay back with discounts,” he told CNBC in May, boasting “I’ve done well with debt.”

Back then Trump threatened endless litigation unless 70 banks he owed money gave him millions more in new loans at low interest rates and provided him with $5.4 million a year for personal spending, the equivalent of $10 million in today’s money. . . .

What made the litigation threat credible was Trump’s refusal to pay more than 150 illegal immigrantswho demolished the Bonwit Teller department store to make way for Trump Tower. A federal judge ruled that Trump conspired to cheat the workers, who never did collect all of their $4-an-hour wages despite an 18-year struggle.

The bankers realized that a man who would endure almost two decades of litigation to avoid paying such meager wages might tie them up for eternity over the billions of dollars owed to them. . . .

So while Trump made money at every turn, the banks that lent him money, the workers and small businesses who delivered for Trump, and the investors in his casino company all got stiffed. And while they paid taxes on whatever income they did manage to collect, Trump enjoyed at least $916 million of tax-free income. . . .

A complete tax return for 1995 would also make it possible to determine if Trump followed the law, as a statement he issued asserts, or misreported figures to inflate his tax savings.

 

  1. David Cay Johnston: 'There’s very good reason to believe Trump’s been engaged in tax fraud'

  2. Donald Trump's leaked tax returns help explain why he wants to end the estate tax, Josh Barro, Yahoo! News, 10/3/16

Trump’s wants to repeal estate taxes.  This will be most beneficial to those owning estates worth more than $10 million.

Fun fact:

The $916 million loss that Donald Trump reported on his 1995 income taxes was extraordinary. As Alan Cole from the conservative Tax Foundation notes, total net operating losses claimed on all individual income tax returns in 1995 amounted to $49.3 billion.*

 

That is, in that year, Trump claimed nearly 2% of all the net operating losses on individual tax returns in the entire country. (emphasis added)

 

 

Trump the Coldhearted

 
INSIDE TRUMPS' BITTER BATTLE Nephew's ailing baby caught in the middle, Heidi Evans, New York Daily News, December 19, 2000
 
 
Even when it comes to a sick baby in his family, Donald Trump is all business. The megabuilder and his siblings Robert and Maryanne terminated their nephew's family medical coverage a week after he challenged the will of their father, Fred Trump. "This was so shocking, so disappointing and so vindictive," said niece Lisa Trump, whose son, William, was born 18 months ago at Mount Sinai Medical Center with a rare neurological disorder that produces violent seizures, brain damage and medical bills topping $300,000. The Trump family feud has come to light in recent days as the dispute over Fred Trump's estate is being played out in Queens Surrogate Court. The patriarch left between $100 million and $300 million, according to different family estimates. A separate case over the denial of medical coverage that Fred Trump freely provided to his family for decades was filed in Nassau Supreme Court. Both lawsuits were filed by Fred Trump 3rd and Mary Trump, the children of Donald's late brother, Fred Jr. They offer a rare window into one of New York's most prominent families, a world where alliances and rivalries are magnified by power, money and the tough-nosed tactics of Donald Trump. "When [Fred 3rd] sued us, we said, 'Why should we give him medical coverage?
 
'" Donald said in an interview with the Daily News last week. Asked whether he thought cutting their coverage could appear cold-hearted, given the baby's medical condition, Donald made no apologies. "I can't help that," he said. "It's cold when someone sues my father. Had he come to see me, things could very possibly have been much different for them.
 
 
 
 
Alleged Sexual Harassment/Rape
 
 
  1. Ex Wife: Donald Trump Made Me Feel 'Violated' During Sex  by Tim Mak, The Daily Beast, July 27, 2015

Ex-wife Ivana used the word "rape" in a deposition filed in her divorce hearing to describe Donald's behavior during a particularly nasty incident. Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, defended Trump by claiming " “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.” Cohen also threatened to mess up the life of Daily Beast reporters who were about to write up this story.  Ivana later softened her statement--some might even consider it a kind of retraction.  Whether she sofened her statement because she was under pressure or had been offered a large payment to change her story is unknown.

 
  1. Jill Harth, woman who sued Trump over alleged sexual assault, breaks silence.  by Lucia Graves, The Guardian, July 20, 2016
 
  1. Why the New Child Rape Case Against Donald Trump Should Not Be Ignored  by Lisa Bloom, Huffington Post, June 29, 2016

A woman is suing Trump claiming that he raped her when she was ONLY THIRTEEN. Her claim was filed with an affidavit from a woman who alleges that she witnessed the rape. It is very rare for rape cases to have a witness. 

 

 

Trump the Impersonator

  1. Donald Trump masqueraded as publicist to brag about himself  by Marc Fisher and Will Hobson, Washington Post, May 13, 2016

 

  1. Donald Trump’s ‘John Miller’ interview is even crazier than you think  by Chris Cillizza, Washington Post, May 16, 2016

 

  1. Trump Used His Aliases For Much More — And Worse — Than Gossip  by David Cay Johnston, The National Memo May 14, 2016

 

  1. Donald Trump would be America's healthiest president, doctor's letter says  by Ellen Brait, The Guardian, December 14, 2015

Trump released what looks like a fake doctor's note that was addressed "To Whom My Concern" and concluded "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."  It is hard to imagine a real doctor who wanted to be taken seriously making this claim without having first examined every president going back to George Washington.   The letter also states, "Mr. Trump has had a recent complete medical examination that showed only positive results. Actually, his blood pressure 110/65, and laboratory results were astonishingly excellent." This sounds more like the exaggerated puffery we have come to expect from Trump. Read this column by Kurt Eichenwald for a more thorough debunking of Trump's "doctor's letter'.  And here is another devastating takedown of Trump's "doctor" letter that is written by a real doctor. (Update, 8/28/16 --Dr. Harold Bornstein has stepped forward and claimed to have written Trump's doctor letter.  However, I still call bullshit.  Here's why.)

 
 
 
Trump the Racist?
 
  1. Is Donald Trump a Racist?  by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, July 23, 2016
 
Donald Trump has shown a disturbing pattern of bigotry over the last four decades.  Nicholas Kristof provides evidence strongly suggesting that Trump is a racist.
 
In 1991, a book by John O’Donnell, who had been president of the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, quoted Trump as criticizing a black accountant and saying: “Black guys counting my money! I hate it. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day. … I think that the guy is lazy. And it’s probably not his fault, because laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control.” O’Donnell wrote that for months afterward, Trump pressed him to fire the black accountant, until the man resigned of his own accord.
 

Trump eventually denied making those comments. But in 1997 in a Playboy interview, he conceded “the stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true.”. . .

Here we have a man who for more than four decades has been repeatedly associated with racial discrimination or bigoted comments about minorities, some of them made on television for all to see. While any one episode may be ambiguous, what emerges over more than four decades is a narrative arc, a consistent pattern — and I don’t see what else to call it but racism.

 

Trump responded to Kristof's column with the following statement:

 

Donald Trump has a lifetime record of inclusion and has publicly rebuked groups who seek to discriminate against others on numerous occasions. To suggest otherwise is a complete fabrication of the truth.

 

  1. THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE AD TOLD US WHO DONALD TRUMP REALLY IS by Jamal Smith, MTV News, 8/23/16 

This article provides a good discussion about the time in 1989 when Donald Trump purchased a full page ad calling for the death penalty for five Black and Latino teenagers who turned out to be innocent of a rape.  The ad scoffed at the idea of police brutality.

He has learned nothing from misjudging the Central Park Five. After New York City reached a $41 million settlement in 2014 with the five wrongly convicted men — they were now men, after all — Trump published an op-ed full of disgust, again in the Daily News. He wrote that it was “ridiculous” that the city offered a settlement, and that “settling doesn’t mean innocence.” Even after their exoneration, either Trump still believed they were guilty or he couldn’t take being so wrong. Actually, it might be the one position on which he’s been consistent since then.

 

 

Endorsements and Rejections (You are known by the company you keep).

 

  1. Harvard Republican Club, August 4, 2016

The Harvard Republican Club published a magnificent repudiation of Trump. It is a tour de force of a rejection. Here are a few highlights.

In every presidential election since 1888, the members and Executive Board of the Harvard Republican Club have gathered to discuss, debate, and eventually endorse the standard-bearer of our party. But for the first time in 128 years, we, the oldest College Republicans chapter in the nation, will not be endorsing the Republican nominee. . . .

Perhaps most importantly, however, Donald Trump simply does not possess the temperament and character necessary to lead the United States through an increasingly perilous world. The last week should have made obvious to all what has been obvious to most for more than a year. In response to any slight –perceived or real– Donald Trump lashes out viciously and irresponsibly. In Trump’s eyes, disagreement with his actions or his policies warrants incessant name calling and derision: stupid, lying, fat, ugly, weak, failing, idiot –and that’s just his “fellow” Republicans.

 

He isn’t eschewing political correctness. He is eschewing basic human decency. . . .

 

Donald Trump is a threat to the survival of the Republic. His authoritarian tendencies and flirtations with fascism are unparalleled in the history of our democracy. 

 

 

  1. American Nazi Party chairman says Donald Trump presents ‘a real opportunity’ for movement, New York Daily News, August 7, 2016

 

Who needs the Harvard Republican Club when you have the Nazis in your corner? 

 

The chairman of the American Nazi Party said he loves the idea of Donald Trump as president, since it would be a “real opportunity” for fellow haters to boost their movement.

 

“If Trump does win, it’s going to be a real opportunity for people like white nationalists, acting intelligently to build upon that,” Nazi leader Rocky Suhayda said on a July broadcast of his radio show, which Buzzfeed News clipped Saturday.

 

  1. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke LOVES Trump so much that he is robocalling potential voters asking them to vote for both himself and Donald Trump.
  2. Donald Trump is an ‘abusive braggart’ unfit to lead our Armed Forces, by Four-star General (ret.) Barry McCaffrey,  Seattle Times, August 8, 2016

 

The shameful reaction by presidential candidate Donald Trump to the mother and father of U.S. Army Capt. Humayun S.M. Khan prompts me to state publicly that Trump should never serve as our commander in chief.  . . .

Trump’s cruel cultural jab at Ghazala Kahn as a grieving Gold Star mother is simply the final straw. In my judgment, Trump, if elected, would provoke a political and constitutional crisis within a year. He has called for the illegal torture of enemy detainees. He has called for the deliberate targeting and murder of civilians as retribution. He has questioned whether the U.S. should actually fulfill our defense obligations under the NATO pact. These NATO obligations are a U.S. Senate-ratified treaty that Trump should know is the highest law of the land. . . .

Trump sounds like a 12-year-old — a willful and abusive braggart. He is remarkably ignorant and uneducated about the world that we face and the means we may use to defend ourselves.

 

  1. I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton. by Michael J. Morell, former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the CIA, New York Times, 8/5/16

 

On Nov. 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton. . . Donald J. Trump is not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security. . . .

In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief. . . .

The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was a career intelligence officer, trained to identify vulnerabilities in an individual and to exploit them. That is exactly what he did early in the primaries. Mr. Putin played upon Mr. Trump’s vulnerabilities by complimenting him. He responded just as Mr. Putin had calculated.

Mr. Putin is a great leader, Mr. Trump says, ignoring that he has killed and jailed journalists and political opponents, has invaded two of his neighbors and is driving his economy to ruin. Mr. Trump has also taken policy positions consistent with Russian, not American, interests — endorsing Russian espionage against the United States, supporting Russia’s annexation of Crimea and giving a green light to a possible Russian invasion of the Baltic States.

In the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.

 

  1. 50 Republican National Security Officials Eviscerate Trump In Open Letter

Dozens of the Republican Party’s most experienced national security officials will not vote for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, they wrote in an open letter released Monday.

“We are convinced that [Trump] would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being,” said the former officials, many of whom held top positions in the George W. Bush administration. . . .

Signers include some of the best known intelligence, defense and security experts of the past two decades: Michael V. Hayden, the former director of both the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency; Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge, both of whom served as secretaries of Homeland Security during the Bush administration; Dov Zakheim, a former under secretary of defense; John D. Negroponte, a deputy secretary of state and a former director of national intelligence; Eric Edelman, a top national security adviser to former Vice President Dick Cheney; and Robert Zoellick, a former deputy secretary of state, United States trade rep and president of the World Bank.

 

  1. Beat him like a drum: Donald Trump must not just lose in November; to correct the institutions he’s broken, he must suffer a humiliating defeat by Republican Political Strategist Rick Wilson, New York Daily News, August, 7, 2016

 

The single worst major party nominee in modern history — a man who has no political core, lies practically every time he speaks and is patently unstable — reached this point because every leader and institution in my party, the Republican Party, has failed again and again to grapple with the grim realities of Trump's impact on the election, the conservative movement and the character of our nation. . . .

 

A growing number of Americans are coming to the realization that Trump is more than just a political train wreck; he's a real threat to the nation, what with the fear of nuclear weapons and the sweeping power of the federal government in his tiny paws.

Those of us who believe, who know, that Trump is dangerous can't just settle for him being beaten in November. We need to ensure that he is on the business end of a decisive, humiliating defeat — so that the terribly divisive forces he has unleashed are delivered a death blow.

 

  1. Donald Trump may have lost the vote of some of our top national security experts.  However, he's won the hearts and minds of these eloquent speakers.

 

 

 

  1. Donald Trump tweeted, "Dwyane Wade's cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!"  Ana Navarro, a Republican strategist, responded appropriately by saying, "Forget about being unfit to be President, he's unfit to be human."
  1. The Arizona Republic endorses Hillary Clinton.  This is the first time they have not endorsed a Republican in their 126 year history.
  2. The San Diego Union-Tribune endorsed Hillary Clinton.  This is the first time in their 148-year history that they have endorsed a Democrat for President.  They write:

Vengeful, dishonest and impulsive, Trump is no Romney. This is why Hillary Clinton is the safest candidate for voters to choose in a complex world.

Terrible leaders can knock nations off course. Venezuela is falling apart because of the obstinance and delusions of Hugo Chávez and his successor. Argentina is finally coming out of the chaos created by Cristina Kirchner and several of her predecessors.

Trump could be our Chávez, our Kirchner. We cannot take that risk.

  1. For the first time in its history, the Editorial Board of USA Today has weighed in on the presidential race.  Though they did not endorse Clinton, they unanimously agreed that a Trump presidency would be a disaster.
  2. I Wrote That I Despised Hillary Clinton. Today, I Want To Publicly Take It Back. by Isaac Saul, Huffington Post, 9/28/16

    Isaac Saul had been a fierce critic of Hillary Clinton's.  He did a complete 180 and this is one of the most persuasive pieces that I've seen endorsing her (and not just opposing Trump).  He now believes, " Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to ever run for president."

  3. Former Bush Administration Homeland Secretary, Michael Chertoff, endorsed Hillary Clinton and said that, "Trump's sense of loyalties are misplaced".  Mark Hensch writes, "Chertoff's support for Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, is notable not only because of his work for President George W. Bush's administration but because he was a Republican prosecutor who led the congressional investigation into the Whitewater controversy involving the Clintons' real estate investments."

 

Trump the Liar

 

  1. Politifact, a non-partisan Pulitzer Prize winning fact checking site evaluates the truthfulness of statements by various politicians and pundits.  Here is a comparison of Donald Trump's and Hillary Clinton's honesty, as of Sept. 4.

 

  1. Washington Post Fact Checker: This is the Washington Post's Fact Checker score as of July 15, 2016.  Four Pinocchios is the equivalent of a Pants on Fire lie. A Geppetto Checkmark indicates a true statement.

 

 

Granted, these numbers are out of date.  But the Washington Post's comparison the quality of Clinton's and Trump's lies is most instructive.

Trump is also the rare politician who will repeat false claims, over and over, even after they have been debunked by fact-checking organizations. Most politicians will simply stop repeating a claim after receiving Four Pinocchios, our worst rating. . . 

As you see, the ratio of Trump’s Four-Pinocchios ratings is sky-high. In fact, nearly 85 percent of Trump’s claims that we vetted were false or mostly false. A line graph of Trump’s numbers would show a very steep sky jump. By contrast, Clinton has a bell curve of a typical politician. The number of false claims equals the number of true claims, while her other claims fall mostly somewhere in the middle. . . .

Trump’s Four-Pinocchios claims are too numerous to tally; we even have created a Web page that contains a complete list. The volume of his false claims is extraordinary, especially because he so often repeats them.  He continued to say that he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrate the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,when that never happened. He repeatedly says he opposed the Iraq war from the start, when that’s false. He constantly says the Islamic State terrorist group controls the oil in Libya, when that’s wrong. He routinely inflates the unemployment rate from 4.9 percent to as high as 42 percent.

 

In that sense, the raw numbers do little justice for how cavalier Trump is with the facts; there’s certainly never been a major-party politician with Trump’s Four-Pinocchio score.

 

 

  1. INTRODUCING A NEW SERIES: TRUMP AND THE TRUTH by David Remnick, The New Yorker, 9/2/16

Remnick’s column introducing a weekly series in the New Yorker devoted to examining Trump’s lies.  Remnick writes:

 

No President has not lied, even Lincoln. Honest Abe once said, “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.”

But sometimes there really is something new under the political sun. Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President, does not so much struggle with the truth as strangle it altogether. He lies to avoid. He lies to inflame. He lies to promote and to preen. Sometimes he seems to lie just for the hell of it. He traffics in conspiracy theories that he cannot possibly believe and in grotesque promises that he cannot possibly fulfill. When found out, he changes the subject—or lies larger.

 

  1. TRUMP AND THE TRUTH: IMMIGRATION AND CRIME by Eyal Press, The New Yorker, 9/2/16

    Despite Trump’s inflammatory claims, evidence suggests that the crime rate actually goes DOWN when immigration increases. See also Time Magazine’s story, “Donald Trump Is Dangerously Wrong on the Immigration-Terror Link

  1. Trump:A True Story by David A. Fahrenthold and Robert O’Harrow Jr., Washington Post, 8/10/16 

Donald Trump launched a libel suit against Timothy L. O’Brien because O’Brien quoted sources in his book who said that Trump was worth far less than what he has said he was worth.  As a result, O’Brien’s lawyers were able to grill Trump under oath.  This is the story of Trump (sort of) admitting under oath that he had made misstatements or exaggerated  the truth numerous times in the past.  Fahrenthold and O'Harrow write:

 

That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did.

Trump has had a habit of telling demonstrable untruths during his presidential campaign. The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has awarded him four Pinocchios — the maximum a statement can receive — 39 times since he announced his bid last summer. In many cases, his statements echo those in the 2007 deposition: They are specific, checkable — and wrong.

Trump said he opposed the Iraq War at the start. He didn’t. He said he’d never mocked a disabled New York Times reporter. He had. Trump also said the National Football League had sent him a letter, objecting to a presidential debate that was scheduled for the same time as a football game. It hadn’t.

 

  1. DONALD TRUMP EITHER LIED TO THE REPUBLICANS OR BROKE THE LAW, Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 9/23/16

Either Donald Trump flat out lied to Jeb Bush and the Republicans during one of their debates or he committed perjury.  There is no alternative. We don't know which story he told was true and which was a lie. But there can be no question. Trump lied. And this lie could be the basis for impeachment hearings against Trump.

  1. A Week of Whoppers From Donald Trump by Maggie Haberman and Alexander Burns, New York Times, 9/24/16 

The New York Times documents 31 times that Trump lied in one week.  There are some real doozies here.

 

  1. HOW DONALD TRUMP’S COMPANY VIOLATED THE UNITED STATES EMBARGO AGAINST CUBA by Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 9/29/16

      DONALD TRUMP STILL WON'T TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT CUBA by Kurt Eichenwald, Newsweek, 9/30/16

    From the Herald archives: Donald Trump on the embargo and casinos by Donald Trump, Miami Herald, 9/30/16 reprent of letter originally published on 6/25/99

 

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts indirectly funded an effort to explore business opportunities in Cuba in 1998 during a time when there was a strict embargo preventing Americans from doing buisness in Cuba.  Trump Hotels didn't directly spend money in Cuba.  Instead, it reimbursed another company, Seven Arrows, whose representatives spent $68,000 making an explaratory trip to Castro's Cuba on Trump Hotels' behalf. When Trump Hotels reimbursed Seven Arrows, they broke the law.  But fear not, a Seven Arrows executive wrote to the Trump Hotels explaining how they could skirt the law by claiming the trip was for charitable purposes. Trump's Campaign Manager, Kellyanne Conway tried to spin this by pointing out that nothing came of this venture. Trump did not actually invest in Cuba. But that (intentionally) misses the point. The very act of spending money in Cuba for exploring the possibility of doing business violated the law.  Trump's unmitigated gall and gold-medal hypocrisy can be seen in this letter arguing against lifting the embargo that he wrote to the Miami Herald June 25, 1999.

 

[Castro] turned his nation into a maximum-security prison. His regime controls every aspect of human life - access to food, medical assistance, schools and employment. Castro has not mellowed with age. Terror continues to reign. The secret police are unrestrained. The disappearance and beatings of citizens are still tools of civilian control, as is the suppression of free speech. Castro's ruthless domination of the Cuban people has not lessened even as his regime crumbles. . . .

Of course, he would love Donald Trump to come to Havana and build casino hotels. Why? Not to raise the standard of living for the people of Cuba. Quite the contrary. Almost every dollar would go to prop up his police-state. Why? Because foreign investors cannot legally do business with private Cuban citizens. They can go into business only with the Castro government. It is highly illegal in Cuba for anyone except for the regime to employ a Cuban citizen. . . .

If I opened a casino/hotel in Havana, I would be required to pay Castro about $10,000 per year for each Cuban worker. But the workers would not benefit. Castro would pay them the equivalent of $10 a month. The rest he uses to pay for the brutal and violent system that keeps him in power - and deprives the Cuban people of basic human rights. In other words, my investment in Cuba would directly subsidize the oppression of the Cuban people.

Yes, the embargo is costly. If I formed a joint venture with European partners, I would make millions of dollars. But I'd rather lose those millions than lose my self-respect. I would rather take a financial hit than become a financial backer of one of the world's most-brutal dictators, a man who was once willing to aid in the destruction of my country. To me the embargo question is no question at all. Of course, we should keep the embargo in place. We should keep it until Castro is gone.

Trump announced that he was running for President under the Reform Party in October 1999.  Trump's first public campaign stop for his 1999 run was in Miami, where he courted Little Havana with his anti-Castro rhetoric.

  1. Donald Trump ties his record:37 false claims in one day, Daniele Dale, Toronto Star, 10/25/16

 

 
 

General

  1. Donald Trump Hired Me As An Attorney. Please Don’t Support Him For President. by Thomas M. Wells, Huffington Post, 7/31/16  
A former lawyer for Donald Trump gives 20 reasons why Trump is unfit to be President.
 
  1. "The Making of Donald Trump": David Cay Johnston on Trump's Ties to the Mob & Drug Traffickers, Democracy Now!, August 10, 2016

    This is a wide ranging interview with David Cay Johnston, author of "The Making of Donald Trump".  It covers everything from Trump's ignorance of nuclear weapons to his ties with organized crime, to his (alleged) tax fraud, to his withholding payment for medical treatment for his very sick grandnephew when he was a baby.  If you can only read or watch one thing on this list, this is it.

 

 

 

Republicans Declare War On our Democratic System

 

Republicans are now vowing Total War. And the consequences could be immense.  by Paul Waldman, Washington Post, 11/3/16

Republicans are willing to burn down our democratic system in order to get Trump elected. And if he is not elected, they will do everything they can to burn down our government.  The the threat they pose to our system is unprecedented.

 

And please, spare me any explanations for this phenomenon that rely on how “divided” Americans are. Are we divided? Sure. But there’s only one party that is so vigorously undermining core democratic institutions in this way. You may not like what Democrats stand for, but they aren’t engaging in widespread official vote suppression, chanting that should their candidate win her opponent should be tossed in jail, promising to prevent any Republican president from filling vacancies on the Supreme Court, suggesting that they’ll try to impeach their opponent as soon as he takes office, cheering when a hostile foreign power hacks into American electronic systems, and trying to use the FBI to win the election.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yet Another Reading List

Here is another reading list put together by Joe Donatelli of Buzzfeed.  There is some overlap between Donatelli's reading list and mine, but I highly recommend checking it out