Donald Trump Vows To Defend Article XII of the Constitution

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On Thursday Donald Trump met with dozens of Republican Congressmen and party officials to calm the nerves of the party about Trump’s candidacy. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina) told The Washington Post that Trump’s speech “was the normal stream of consciousness that’s long on hyperbole and short on facts. At one point, somebody asked about Article I powers: What will you do to protect them? I think his response was, ‘I want to protect Article I, Article II, Article XII,’ going down the list. There is no Article XII.”

House Republicans have been concerned about Article I of the Constitution lately, as they fear that Presidential executive actions could erode the powers granted to Congress, and prompted this question. It is unlikely that they expected a vow from Trump to protect Amendment XII of the Constitution, as the US Constitution only has seven Articles.

There are three possibilities here.

  • Donald Trump doesn’t actually know how many Articles the Constitution has. This seems possible, as he is often voiced support for likely unconstitutional measures like banning Muslims from entering the country, picking judges based on racial heritage, and doesn’t really seem like the kind of guy to do his homework before blundering into a job.
  • Donald Trump confused Article XII with Amendment XII. Also possible, though unlikely as he was specifically asked about the first Article, not an amendment. This doesn’t really make sense as Amendment XII deals with the structuring of the Electoral College.
  • Donald Trump was making a bad joke. This seems the most likely to me. Trump was joking that he would protect all the Articles, even the ones that don’t exist. If he was making a joke, it seems in bad taste as his fitness for and knowledge of the Presidency have come under a great deal of scrutiny.

In any case, this off the cuff comment raises more grave doubts about Donald Trump’s knowledge of even the most basic tenets of the Constitution that he would swear to defend and enforce.

Sources:
http://www.vox.com/2016/7/7/12122228/donald-trump-constitution-article-12
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2016/07/07/trump-meets-with-hill-republicans-as-controversy-over-star-of-david-tweet-continues/?hpid=hp_rhp-top-table-main_trump-caphill-1035am:homepage/story
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2016/07/07/donald-trumps-pledge-to-defend-article-xii-of-constitution-raises-eyebrows/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2016/07/08/daily-202-has-trump-never-read-the-constitution/577f0751981b92a22d626c61/

Trump Accuses Clinton Of Bribing Attorney General

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Donald Trump was dumbfounded this week when Hillary Clinton was exonerated in the FBI probe into her personal email debacle. As he couldn’t accept that perhaps this email scandal wasn’t a crime, Trump outright accused Hillary Clinton of bribing Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

“So Hillary said today — at least according to what I saw on television, which you can’t always believe. I actually found it hard to believe she’d said this, but she said today that we may consider the attorney general to go forward. That’s like a bribe, isn’t it? Isn’t it sort of a bribe? I think it’s a bribe,” Trump said. “I mean, the attorney general sitting there saying, you know, ‘If I get Hillary off the hook, I’m going have four more years or eight more years, but if she loses, I’m out of a job.’ It’s a bribe. It’s a disgrace.”

Neither Hillary Clinton nor her campaign have made a public statement on whether or not they have considered keeping Lynch on as the Attorney General. Trump’s comment seems to come from a New York Times article where “Democrats close to Mrs. Clinton say she may decide to retain Ms. Lynch, the nation’s first black woman to be attorney general.” I couldn’t find a source for a direct quote from Clinton on this matter, only the secondhand, anonymous information from the New York Times. Whether Clinton has said something in private, or Bill Clinton said something in their ill-advised meeting last week, it is impossible to say.

Trump must not think very highly of Ms. Lynch’s intelligence if he thinks that she couldn’t come up with that idea on her own. Obviously she no possibility of remaining Attorney General under a Trump administration. She’s a woman of color, after all, and tainted by the stench of Obama. She might have a chance of keeping her position under Clinton, but he offers no proof or evidence of bribery, only innuendo and secondhand anonymous sources. This evidence falls far short of the evidence I would need to accuse Hillary Clinton of bribery.

Sources:
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-hits-president-obama-hillary-clinton-campaigning-carnival/story?id=40361484
http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/trump-obama-influenced-fbi-on-clinton-email-clinton-bribed-lynch-1.12008664

Trump Accuses Clinton of Transferring Uranium To Russia For Cash

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Trump’s current manual for his attacks on Hillary Clinton, Clinton Cash, describes another supposed pay-to-play scheme involving uranium and Russia. “Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20 percent of America’s uranium holdings to Russia, while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation — $145 million dollars,” Trump said in his June 22nd Clinton attack speech.

Politifact dug in to fact check this complicated statement.

What does seem to be true is that former members of Uranium One, the company that Trump is referring to that was sold to Russian interests, donated a lot of money to the Clinton Foundation. However there isn’t evidence of a quid pro quo agreement, and there is are a lot of problems with Trump’s simplified assertion and implication of peddling influence.

The State Department did have to sign off on the deal, as uranium is a considered a strategic asset, but nine other government agencies that Hillary Clinton had no sway over were required to sign off as well.

Many of the donations that Trump is referring to happened well before Clinton was Secretary of State or the Russian deal was in the works. All but a small amount of these donations happened while Clinton was running for President in early 2008, and thus no one involved could have known that she was to be Secretary of State. The Russian acquisition did not happen until 2010, when all but one of those donors were no longer invested in the company. Why would they “invest” that much money when Clinton was going for President, not Secretary of State?

“20 percent of America’s uranium holdings” may sound like a lot, but the US doesn’t produce much of the world’s uranium, and actually imports much of it. 20% of the US’s uranium holdings is less than one half of one percent of the uranium produced each year. Also, Russia cannot legally export any of the uranium mined in the US. Polifact suggests that Russia was more interested in Uranium One’s holdings in Kazakhstan, which produces exponentially more uranium than the US.

Was the cash coming to Clinton from current and former Uranium One executives fishy? Definitely. Is there any evidence that this was quid pro quo? Not really, as the vast majority of the donations came two years before the Russia deal and months before Hillary Clinton was appointed Secretary of State. The author of Clinton Cash even admits that there is no smoking gun evidence of paying for favors in this case.

Sources:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/30/donald-trump/donald-trump-inaccurately-suggests-clinton-got-pai/
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/week-transcript-clinton-cash-author-peter-schweizer/print?id=30568766

Trump Just Doesn’t Understand Why Star Of David Post Was Offensive

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A couple of days ago Donald Trump tweeted the above image to wide bipartisan disdain. As WDTLAY and Mic.com pointed out, this image originated from a white supremacist forum.

When Donald Trump should have been laying low and letting Hillary Clinton’s email scandal dominate the headlines, he instead defended his depiction of Hillary Clinton as corrupt with a six pointed Star of David on a bed of cash.

Last night Trump decided to tweet the following:

Capture

No, Donald, it isn’t a Star of David. Donald Trump shows a deep misunderstanding or complete apathy towards what would offend people in general and Jews in particular. There is a pervasive Jewish stereotype that Jews are greedy and corrupt, so when an anti-Semitic group makes an image featuring a six pointed star on a bed of cash and accusing someone of corruption it is not an accident. It was done intentionally by racists to link Hillary Clinton to the supposed corruption of the Jewish race.

There is no such millennia old Jewish stereotype for stickers or empowered female princesses as Donald Trump’s Frozen tweet would suggest. Trump defended Hillary tweet by saying it was just a “plain star,” but it not a plain star. That symbol can be used as nothing more than a shape, as on the Frozen cover, but if you link it to money and corruption you are linking it to anti-Semitism.

Donald Trump has a tendency to retweet things without knowing their origins, as he has retweeted several other images from white supremacist sources. While that is a problem, more troubling is that after the offense has been pointed out he doubles down and defends his actions instead of quietly apologizing and removing the tweet. He has a knee jerk reaction to what he sees as being “politically correct” when it’s really just taking two seconds to think about how your actions might affect other people.

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/06/politics/donald-trump-star-hillary-clinton/
https://mic.com/articles/147711/donald-trump-s-star-of-david-hillary-clinton-meme-was-created-by-white-supremacists#.U1z7RnW7i

 

Trump Praises Saddam Hussein, Disparages The Constitution

SADDAM HUSSEIN

In case there was any confusion about what Donald Trump thought about tyranny, he went ahead and cleared that up yesterday. He’s in favor of authoritarianism, and seems to make no secret of his admiration for one of the worst war criminals of the 21st century. He praised Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein while disparaging the “rights” granted to Americans under the Bill of Rights.

“He was a bad guy — really bad guy. But you know what he did well? He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over. Today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism,” Trump said of the dictator who was hanged in 2006 for crimes against humanity.

While it is unlikely that ISIS would have flourished under the Saddam Hussein regime, it is well documented that Hussein fostered a variety of different terrorist activities. He famously offered a bounties of $25,000 to the families of any Palestinian suicide bomber that killed Israelis.

The Council on Foreign Relations had this to say in 2005:

Has Iraq sponsored terrorism?

Yes. Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship provided headquarters, operating bases, training camps, and other support to terrorist groups fighting the governments of neighboring Turkey and Iran, as well as to hard-line Palestinian groups. During the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam commissioned several failed terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the State Department listed Iraq as a state sponsor of terrorism. The question of Iraq’s link to terrorism grew more urgent with Saddam’s suspected determination to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which Bush administration officials feared he might share with terrorists who could launch devastating attacks against the United States…

What type of terrorist groups did Iraq support under Saddam Hussein’s regime?

Primarily groups that could hurt Saddam’s regional foes. Saddam has aided the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (known by its Turkish initials, PKK), a separatist group fighting the Turkish government. Moreover, Iraq has hosted several Palestinian splinter groups that oppose peace with Israel , including the mercenary Abu Nidal Organization, whose leader, Abu Nidal, was found dead in Baghdad in August 2002. Iraq has also supported the Islamist Hamas movement and reportedly channeled money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. A secular dictator, however, Saddam tended to support secular terrorist groups rather than Islamist ones such as al-Qaeda, experts say.

Hussein’s regime committed acts of terrorism as a matter of course. Chemical weapons were used on the Kurdish minority in the north of Iraq. Political dissidents were abducted, tortured and killed. In 2002 Iraq was designated as one of just seven countries that the State Department called a “state sponsor of international terrorism.”

So no, Donald Trump, Hussein didn’t kill terrorists “so good.” In fact, Iraq under Hussein was a haven for terrorists and a brutal dictatorship at the very other end of the spectrum for values of American freedom and liberty. It is distressing that a man who aspires to uphold the protections of the Constitution would gleefully abandon those protections of the Bill of Rights for the in order to suspected terrorists.

Sources:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/05/donald-trump-praises-saddam-hussein-for-killing-terrorists-so-good/
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/05/politics/donald-trump-saddam-hussein-iraq-terrorism/
http://www.voanews.com/content/trump-portrays-saddam-hussien-as-strong-against-terrorists/3405926.html
http://usiraq.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000863

Trump Asks Who Pays For Clinton/Obama Use of Air Force One: Clinton Does

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Hillary Clinton and President Obama will be campaigning together this week in the purple state of North Carolina. Clinton will be accompanying Obama on Air Force One for the trip, much to the chagrin of her opponent Donald Trump. “Who pays?” he asked yesterday on Twitter.

Most of the time when a President stumps for his replacement they will combine it with other official events so that the cost of travel is covered by the taxpayer. Since this trip is solely for the purpose of campaigning with Hillary Clinton, the Clinton campaign must pay for at least some of the costs of the trip. Since there is not an official component of the trip, the Clinton organization would be paying for some portion of the trip whether Clinton was aboard or not.

“As in other Administrations, we follow all rules and regulations to ensure that the DNC or other relevant political committee pays what is required for the President to travel to political events,” the White House said in a statement.

How much exactly the split will be has not been released, and likely will not be released. Air Force One costs more than $200,000 per hour to operate, and it is unlikely that the Clinton campaign can afford those kind of travel expenses. It is not unusual for a sitting President to campaign for his replacement, and the algebra of payment for use of Air Force One has long been a White House secret, not just the Obama administration.

Sources:
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/politics/obama-clinton-air-force-one-trump/
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/elections-2016-president-obama-hillary-clinton-air-force-one-controversy/
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2016/07/05/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-president-obama-air-force-one/86699270/

Trump Loses Plausible Deniability on Star of David Post, Came From Anti-Semitic Forum

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On Saturday Donald Trump tweeted a picture of Hillary Clinton featuring a six pointed star emblazoned with “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” on a bed of $100 bills. After it was pointed out to Trump that the star could be taken as a Star of David, and that corruption and avarice are common anti-Semitic tropes, the tweet was deleted and reposted, with the Star of David clumsily replaced with a large circle. The media proclaimed that this is a thinly veiled dog whistle to anti-Semitic Trump supporters. Racists would see the Star of David on a bed of money and get the implication, whereas the average non-awful person would just see a shape.

This morning Trump tweeted that the media is being too sensitive, and that maybe the star is just a sheriff’s star or a plain star:

dasd

Trump’s pleas of innocence would be more believable if the image had not originated in a right wing forum known for racist and anti-Semitic posts charmingly called /pol/ – Politically Incorrect. The thread that the image appeared in has been deleted, but don’t worry. You can see the original post using the internet time machine. It was posted June 22, a week before the Trump campaign got a hold of it. Of note is the name of the file hILLhISTORY.jpg. Notice that the letter ‘h’ is lower case where the rest is upper case. This is another well known dog whistle to white supremacists: the two ‘Hs’ stand for “Heil Hitler.”

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This is a dark hole of the internet. These posts are not dog whistles, many of the posts are openly racist, Pro-Nazi, Pro-rape and anti-Hillary Clinton. Here is a sample of some of the other images available in the very same deleted thread where the Clinton image first appeared:

hitler

death

Sources:
https://mic.com/articles/147711/donald-trump-s-star-of-david-hillary-clinton-meme-was-created-by-white-supremacists#.qmx9iabjZ

https://8ch.net/pol/index.html
http://archive.is/E0Dto
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/donald-trump-s-star-david-tweet-about-hillary-clinton-posted-n603161

Trump Calls Himself A “Free Trader” but Actually Seems to Hate the Idea

Donald Trump

Throughout the Trump campaign and when talking about globalization in particular, Donald Trump has often referred to himself as a proponent of free trade, or a “free trader.” But most of his proposed policies and suggested trade agreements are decidedly anti-free trade. Most involve tariffs and government intervention, the opposite of free trade. In a speech this week he said ““Yes, I’m a free trader…Here’s my stance on trading: I want to make great deals for the United States.”

There are many instances where Donald Trump is anti-free trade. In nearly the same breath in that speech he suggested 35% tariff on imported Chinese goods, which would be disastrous for both the US and Chinese economy, not to mention the complete opposite of free trade. In the past he has suggested as high as a 45% tariff “The 45% tariff is a threat. It was not a tax, it was a threat,” Trump said in a March GOP debate. “It will be a tax if they don’t behave. Take China as an example. I have many friends, great manufacturers, they want to go into China. They can’t. China won’t let them. We talk about free trade. It’s not free trade; it’s stupid trade. China dumps everything that they have over here. No tax, no anything. We can’t get into China. The best manufacturers, when they get in, they have to pay a tremendous tax. The 45% is a threat that if they don’t behave, we will tax you. It doesn’t have to be 45, it could be less. But it has to be something because our country and our trade and our deals and most importantly our jobs are going to hell.”

Trump also hates NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Clinton era bill that reduced regulation on trade between Mexico, Canada and the US. “I think NAFTA has been a disaster. I think our current deals are a disaster” Trump told CNN. “I’m a free trader. The problem with free trade is, you need smart people representing you. We have the greatest negotiators in the world, but we don’t use them. We use political hacks and diplomats. We use the wrong people. Mexico is smart; they have out-negotiated us to a fare-thee-well. They’re going to be the capital of automobiles pretty soon, the way they’re going.” Last week he said “NAFTA was the worst trade deal in the history – it’s like – the history of this country,” a sentiment he has shared in almost every speech he has given since becoming a Presidential hopeful.

Trump is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal similar to NAFTA with 11 nations around the Pacific Ocean. Trump often equates this agreement with China and currency manipulation, even though China is not a part of the TPP. “The TPP is horrible deal,” Trump said in a GOP debate. “It’s a deal that was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door and totally take advantage of everyone.” Well, it isn’t as China is not a part of the deal. Despite Trump’s complete ignorance of the particulars of the deal, or even the basics like which countries are involved, he still opposes it. Trump often attacks Hillary Clinton’s support of it, even though she no longer supports it.

Trump continues to contradict himself on his stance on free trade. He must like the sound of “free trade,” but really seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the phrase means. “Why are we striking trade agreements with countries we already have agreements with? Why is there no effort to make sure we have fair trade instead of ‘free’ trade that isn’t free to Americans?” Trump told Breitbart earlier this year. “Why do we not have accompanying legislation that will punish countries that manipulate their currencies to seek unfair advantage in trade arrangements? Why has the Congress not addressed prohibitive corporate tax rates and trade agreements that continue to drain dollars and jobs from America’s shores?”

Sources:
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-donald-trump-speech-20160630-snap-story.html
http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Donald_Trump_Free_Trade.htm
Read Donald Trump’s Speech on Trade
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/nov/12/donald-trump/trump-says-china-will-take-advantage-trans-pacific/
https://ballotpedia.org/2016_presidential_candidates_on_the_Trans-Pacific_Partnership_trade_deal
http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/05/exclusive-donald-trump-declares-war-on-obamatrade-time-to-send-a-real-businessman-to-white-house-to-end-this/

Donald Trump Buys Himself a Tim Tebow Helmet With Charity Funds

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In 2012 Donald Trump attended a charity auction for the Komen for the Cure organization at Trump’s palatial Mar-a-Lago Club. More than $1 million was raised from the items auctioned, including 4 tickets to Celine Dion at Mar-A-Lago that were donated by Trump. One item was won by Mr. Trump himself, a Denver Broncos helmet signed by Tim Tebow. After a reported “bidding war,” Trump paid $12,000 for the helmet and can be seen posing with it in the above picture.

The problem is that he paid with other people’s money that was donated to his charity. The Komen organization told The Washington Post that a check was received for the helmet from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, a a non-profit charity that has Donald J. Trump as its president. The Komen organization stated that Donald Trump has never given them a donation in cash.

As of 2012, Donald Trump had not donated any money to his own charity in three years. Let that wash over you: Billionaire Donald Trump bought himself a football helmet for $12,000 with money that other people had donated that was earmarked for charity.

This could be a pretty serious tax violation, called “furnishing of goods.” Basically this rule prohibits a nonprofit foundation from buying goods for the founders. If this happens, the recipient must notify the IRS and pay a tax penalty. The Donald J. Trump Foundation denied any furnishing of goods on its 2012 tax return, according to the Washington Post.

Whether Trump is liable for an IRS penalty really depends on what happened to the helmet. If Trump still has it then he is absolutely liable, and is pretty clearly breaking the rules. If he gave it away to another charity, he would probably be OK. If he sold it or gave it to a friend or family member he would still be violating the furnishing of goods provision.

In the scope of a billionaire’s foundation $12,000 may seem trivial, but that isn’t the point. The point is that billionaire Donald Trump felt that it was proper to use charitable funds donated by other people to purchase a football helmet.

If you would like to use funds from your own charity to purchase an authentic signed Tim Tebow football helmet, you can purchase one HERE for a mere $695.95, or Best Offer.

Sources:
Photo & Article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/07/01/donald-trump-used-money-donated-for-charity-to-buy-himself-a-tim-tebow-signed-football-helmet/
http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/why-donald-trump-buying-12k-of-tebow-gear-could-potentially-be-an-irs-violation/
http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/news/komen-for-the-cure-perfect-pink-party-draws-hundre/nMFRJ/

Donald Trump Blames Hillary Clinton For A Fannie Mae Filibuster That Didn’t Happen

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Donald Trump claimed in a statement this week that Hillary Clinton filibustered efforts to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insinuated that the Clinton campaign received donations as a quid pro quo. The statement below, released by a man hoping to become the President of the United States, incorrectly names two of the largest and most important mortgage banks in the world as “Fannie and Freddie Mae.”

First, Hillary Clinton fueled the mortgage meltdown, now she wants to bring in millions of low-wage workers to drive down salaries for the most vulnerable Americans — all to boost profits for her special interest donors. Not only did Bill Clinton push legislation that fueled the subprime lending crisis, but Hillary Clinton filibustered legislation to reform Fannie and Freddie Mae — institutions at the center of the Great Recession — which have been funneling hundreds of thousands to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and Foundation.

If Trump is referring to the Republican led effort for the Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005, which Polifact has to assume as Trump gives no evidence or details, then he is wrong because it was never brought to the Senate floor much less filibustered. There was a threat of a Democratic-led filibuster against the bill, but it never came to pass at all, and certainly not led by Hillary Clinton.

News coverage at the time did not mention a filibuster, except for this quote from Democratic Senator Chris Dodd: “The word ‘filibuster’ is nowhere near the horizon,” he said. Hillary Clinton never publicly supported or opposed the bill, and was not on the committee so she did not vote on it.

The Clinton campaign and Clinton supporting PACs have received money from Fannie Mae and its employees, receiving the fourth highest amount of donations from that group. But without evidence of the quid it is hard to prove the pro quo that Donald Trump is insinuating in the above statement.

Sources:
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/28/donald-trump/trump-wrongly-says-clinton-filibustered-fannie-mae/
https://morningconsult.com/2016/06/21/clintons-economic-speech-previews-coming-democratic-tag-team-on-economic-issues/