More Trouble For AOC and Trump

Grind for March 8th, 2019
FIRST SIP:
“A goal should scare you a little and excite you a lot.”

– Joe Vitale



Trending

The Headline

House Democrats ramp up Trump investigations, Trump accuses Dems of “presidential harassment”

The Grind

Democratic lawmakers are requesting documents from more than 60 people including Administration officials and Trump’s family members as they continue to search for evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

There are now six House committees investigating more than 80 topics related to Trump including: his 2016 presidential campaign, his tax returns, his foreign financial interests, his family businesses, his travel ban, and his payment to Stormy Daniels.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) says it is “very clear” Trump obstructed justice and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) insists “there is direct evidence” of collusion with Moscow.

Trump shot back against these claims Sunday, accusing Democrats of “presidential harassment” and claiming he is “an innocent man being persecuted by some very bad, conflicted, and corrupt people in a Witch Hunt that is illegal and should never have been allowed to start.”

The Details

The partisan bickering follows a series of explosive testimonies from Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who recently told lawmakers:

— Trump had previous knowledge about WikiLeaks’ plans to release emails hacked from the DNC

— Trump participated in a scheme to silence women who claimed to have had affairs with him

— Trump asked Cohen to mislead Congress in regards to the Trump Tower Moscow project

Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress during a previous testimony and said he had “suspicions” about collusion between Trump aides and Russia.

Cohen’s claims give Democrats ammunition to continue their exhaustive probes into every aspect of Trump’s life and to push for impeachment.

“We are going to initiate investigations into abuses of power, into corruption, and into obstruction of justice,” said Nadler, whose committee would oversee impeachment proceedings. “We have to do the investigations and get all this…We do not now have the evidence sorted out and everything to do an impeachment. Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen.”

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Sunday called Nadler out on his efforts to impeach Trump without evidence of wrongdoing:

“I think Congressman Nadler decided to impeach the president the day the president won the election,” he said. “Listen to exactly what he said. He talks about impeachment before he even became chairman and then he says, ‘you’ve got to persuade people to get there.’ There’s nothing that the president did wrong.”

In his defense, Nadler claimed Democrats are ‘just doing their job after the GOP shielded Trump from accountability for two years.’

Here’s what’s really going on:

The Democrats are taking advantage of their new majority in the House to ramp up investigations in an attempt to destroy Trump. This has been expected and is starting in earnest now that people are starting to think about the 2020 elections; but as Trump suggested on Sunday, without evidence of crimes the Dems’ behavior is pure harassment.



Big Surprise

The Headline

AOC accused of violating campaign finance law

The Grind

An FEC complaint filed this week by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) accuses Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and her chief of staff of orchestrating an “extensive” scheme designed to evade campaign finance law.

According to the complaint, AOC’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti funneled more than $885,000 in contributions received by two PACs he established (Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats) to two private companies he controlled.

Such an arrangement would have allowed AOC’s campaign to receive money far in excess of the legal limits.

“Certainly, it’s not permissible to use an LLC or any other kind of intermediary to conceal the recipient or purpose of a PAC’s spending,” says former FEC official Adav Noti. “The law requires the PAC to report who it disburses money to. You can’t try to evade that by routing it through an LLC or corporation or anyone else.”

The Details

Mr. Chakrabarti has provided long descriptions of why he structured the campaign the way he did, but his explanations don’t make much sense.

“I read their explanation multiple times, and I still don’t understand,” says Noti.

“One possibility – a strong possibility, based on the description they put out – is they just got really bad legal advice that somehow said they had to to do this,” continues Noti. “But regardless, when they decided to use the PAC form, which they did, they subjected themselves to all the legal requirements that come with that.”

AOC’s team will likely face fines for following bad legal advice, but could face jail time if it is determined they intentionally hid money to use for illegal purposes.

AOC has also been accused of intentionally underpaying her staffers in order to avoid laws requiring transparency from higher-paid officials.

This is “an old trick some of the most corrupt members of Congress have used time and again,” notes NLPC director Tom Anderson.




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