Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Media Will Continue To Largely Downplay Trump's Illegalities

As we and others have pointed out, the story of neo- fascist con artist Donald "Rump" Trump settling his various fraud suits regarding Trump "University" for the princely sum of $25 million has largely escaped the notice of our bloodhounds in the corporate media.  Mark Sumner notes,
On Friday, the President-elect of the United States agreed to pay $25 million for defrauding students of his not-a-university. That settlement includes $1 million in payments to the State of New York for violations of state law. During the campaign, Trump had denied he would ever settle, saying it was “a matter of principle.” However, he’s now treating the $25 million payout as a victory, calling it a “fraction” of his potential losses. 
But less than 48 hours later, you won’t find the story on the front of the New York Times, despite New York AG Eric Schneiderman’s dogged work in assembling the case. You wont find it on the front of the Washington Post, despite the outrageous implications of a president paying out tens of millions weeks before taking office. You won’t find it on the Miami Herald, despite the connection between Trump’s “university” and contributions to Florida’s AG that had all the earmarks of old-fashioned bribes.  (our emphasis)
Imagine if this were a story about the Clinton Foundation's finances instead of the transparent, multi- million dollar con that was Trump "University."  (Scott Lemieux does.) We've had over a year to see that the ethical bar is so low for Rump in the corporate media that it essentially doesn't exist.

Think about that when you read this:
Friday evening, the Washington Post reported * that about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at President-elect Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC to “to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.” The tour included a look at the hotel’s $20,000 a night “town house” suite. The Post also quoted some of the diplomats saying they intended to stay at the hotel in order to ingratiate themselves to the incoming president. 
“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’” said one diplomat from an Asian nation. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’” 
The incoming president, in other words, is actively soliciting business from agents of foreign governments. Many of these agents, in turn, said that they will accept the president-elect’s offer to do business because they want to win favor with the new leader of the United States. 
In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.  (our emphasis)
Combine this with Rump's children being heavily involved in the transition (including meeting with foreign leaders) and his curious understanding of what a "blind trust" is, and it's not hard to get the sense that Rump fully intends to proceed with enriching himself and his family while in office. We know his ego is wrapped up in the trappings of wealth, and he's not going to miss any opportunity to trade on the Presidency to enhance that wealth. He. Has. No. Ethics.

Given the low bar that the corporate media has provided Rump throughout his foray into politics, it's also not hard to get the sense that -- Democrats' howling notwithstanding -- he'll bluff and shamble his way through, with the media giving short shrift to his business- as- usual scams and violations of the Constitution.

* By the way, what should have been a front page story ended up on the Post's Business page.

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