Patterico's Pontifications

11/15/2018

Justice Department’s Claims that Whitaker Didn’t Know About Fraud Seem … Wrong

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:56 am



The Justice Department has been claiming Matthew Whitaker didn’t see nothin, he didn’t hear nothin, and he didn’t say nothin about fraud at the company on whose board he sat.

A Justice Department spokeswoman has said: “Acting attorney general Matt Whitaker has said he is not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.”

Yeah, about that:

Acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker received early warnings that customers were complaining that an invention-marketing company he advised might be a fraud, according to several people familiar with his role, but Whitaker vigorously defended the company and remained on its board until joining the Justice Department in 2017.

Since his appointment by President Trump last week, Whitaker has said through a Justice Department spokeswoman that he was unaware of allegedly fraudulent activities at Miami-based World Patent Marketing. The company shut down in May and agreed to pay a settlement of nearly $26 million to resolve a wide-ranging Federal Trade Commission complaint that it bilked customers.

As a member of the company’s advisory board, Whitaker had been told of complaints about the company’s practices, according to two people familiar with the FTC investigation. He did not appear to take any action in response, they said.

In addition, shortly after joining the board in late 2014, Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney in Iowa, personally intervened when a for-profit consumer complaint website posted comments critical of the company.

Ed Magedson, the founder of the Arizona-based Ripoff Report, said he received a phone call from Whitaker in early 2015 after the website posted complaints about World Patent Marketing.

“He threatened me, using foul language,” said Magedson, whose website sells companies a program to improve their reputation among consumers. “He threatened to sue and to ruin my business if I did not remove the ‘false reports.’ ”

At one point, Whitaker said he would refer Ripoff Report to the Department of Homeland Security, Magedson said.

A dishonest thug who likes to threaten people who expose the fraud of companies he is associated with. No wonder Trump likes him so much. (Well, that and his comments on the TV trashing Mueller.)

Be proud!

73 Responses to “Justice Department’s Claims that Whitaker Didn’t Know About Fraud Seem … Wrong”

  1. Obama had two AG’s who were extremely loyal. Why can’t Trump?

    AZ Bob (885937)

  2. Ed Magedson, the founder of the Arizona-based Ripoff Report, said he received a phone call from Whitaker in early 2015 after the website posted complaints about World Patent Marketing.

    “He threatened me, using foul language,” said Magedson, whose website sells companies a program to improve their reputation among consumers. “He threatened to sue and to ruin my business if I did not remove the ‘false reports.’ ”

    At one point, Whitaker said he would refer Ripoff Report to the Department of Homeland Security, Magedson said.

    I would also have suspected that Ripoff Report was a racket. Wasn’t there a Ninth Circuit First Amendment case that we discussed here, that involved a lady who destroyed people’s and businesses’ reputation online and then offered to fix them for a fee?

    nk (dbc370)

  3. I would also have suspected that Ripoff Report was a racket. Wasn’t there a Ninth Circuit First Amendment case that we discussed here, that involved a lady who destroyed people’s and businesses’ reputation online and then offered to fix them for a fee?

    Except Whitaker’s company was a fraud, an admitted fraud, that was shut down after they admitted to fraud and paid $26M fine. So ripoff report was right.

    Since his appointment by President Trump last week, Whitaker has said through a Justice Department spokeswoman that he was unaware of allegedly fraudulent activities at Miami-based World Patent Marketing. The company shut down in May and agreed to pay a settlement of nearly $26 million to resolve a wide-ranging Federal Trade Commission complaint that it bilked customers.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (744849)

  4. and he’s still exponentially more ethical than dirty bob mueller and the filthy and cowardly men and women of the sleazy fbi

    how about that

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  5. Many state bar association rules provide it is unethical to threaten criminal prosecution in civil disputes. Some also prohibit threats to file administrative or disciplinary complaints/reports. A threat to report someone to Homeland Security might fall under that prohibition.

    DRJ (46c88f)

  6. He threatened me, using foul language

    it’s really hard to take people seriously when they mewl like this

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  7. and he’s still exponentially more ethical than dirty bob mueller and the filthy and cowardly men and women of the sleazy fbi

    how about that

    That’s idiotic and fatuous, to answer your question.

    Whitaker is unqualified to actually work at the DOJ, other than serving up chili in the cafeteria, he proved that during his disastrous tenure at the Southern District of Iowa.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  8. it’s really hard to take people seriously when they mewl like this

    Yup, every time a see a foot post.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  9. it depends what kind of chili i should think

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  10. As Christian Adam’s has related this is all part of a whispering campaign by isgur flores and o callaghan.

    Narciso (427a64)

  11. A dishonest thug who likes to threaten people who expose the fraud of companies he is associated with.

    Let’s hope the Third Lady fires him.

    Dave (9664fc)

  12. Attorneys often represent clients who turn out not to be the best of people, Herr Oberstrudelfresser.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Whitaker may need #GoFundMe

    mg (9e54f8)

  14. So Mueller has been pursuing a false course re roger stone, but Rosenstein has given him 18 months to destroy.

    Narciso (427a64)

  15. “He threatened to sue and to ruin my business if I did not remove the ‘false reports.’ ”

    Only Mueller is allowed to use Mueller’s tactics.

    Munroe (5bb48f)

  16. DRJ @ 5. I believe that’s only when the purpose is to obtain a settlement, DRJ. An extension of compounding a felony.

    An attorney could tell Avenatti, for example, “If you go anywhere near my client, we’ll have you arrested again”, even without a domestic violence protection order. He’s not looking to obtain an unfair advantage in a civil case — he is looking to get the other person to cease and desist from criminal behavior.

    nk (dbc370)

  17. Attorneys often represent clients who turn out not to be the best of people, Herr Oberstrudelfresser.

    Except he wasn’t their attorney. Basic facts are important.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  18. The Department of Justice is issuing a rulemaking that would interpret the statutory definition of machine gun in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly known as bump-fire stocks, fall within that definition.

    This rule is intended to clarify that the statutory definition of machinegun includes certain devices (i.e., bump-stock-type devices) that, when affixed to a firearm, allow that firearm to fire automatically with a single function of the trigger, such that they are subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Gun Control Act (GCA). The rule will amend 27 CFR 447.11, 478.11, and 479.11 to clarify that bump-stock-type devices are machineguns as defined by the NFA and GCA because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

    The Whitaker justice departments first big decision. Except that’s not how it actually works mechanically.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (6e7a1c)

  19. He’s a political hack with a thin resume for a big job. Here’s a good observation of his thuggy behavior on behalf of the scam patent company.

    That, ladies and gentlemen, is the current acting attorney general in a previous life, leveraging his career in federal law enforcement to run protection for a criminal enterprise.

    Paul Montagu (70fe18)

  20. Most of the rules say one cannot use threats to “gain an advantage” in a civil dispute. Maybe that refers solely to settlements but it sounds like it applies to more than settlements.

    DRJ (15874d)

  21. Except he wasn’t their attorney. Basic facts are important.

    No? Please tell me all the basic facts, about the attorney-client relationship generally, and Whitaker’s relationship with World Patent Marketing specifically.

    This is the third time (yes, I’m keeping count) when you have used “alternative facts” in an exchange with me.

    nk (dbc370)

  22. Anonymous sources are suggesting deliberate action.

    Narciso (4cefba)

  23. Speaking of fraud, the Dems in Florida sent emails throughout the state telling them to ignore absentee deadlines and just get those votes.

    Laws are so quaint. And now that they have judges in their pockets, the laws don’t apply anymore.

    NJRob (1d7532)

  24. For the nonlawyers: The ethical rule that DRJ & nk are discussing above is typified by Rule 4.04 of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, which provides in pertinent part:

    (b) A lawyer shall not present, participate in presenting, or threaten to present:
    (1) criminal or disciplinary charges solely to gain an advantage in a civil matter ….”

    The textbook example of a violation of this rule arises when there’s no logical connection between the civil claim being pursued and the criminal charges being threatened: “Give us the money you owe us for your rent, or we’ll tell the FBI you’ve got kiddie porn on your computer.”

    I know some lawyers who are very scrupulous in complying with this rule, so much so that they never threaten to present criminal charges, period. But most experienced trial lawyers focus on the word “solely” and on Comment 2 to the rule:

    Using or threatening to use the criminal process solely to coerce a party in a private matter improperly suggests that the criminal process can be manipulated by private interests for personal gain. However, giving any notice required by law or applicable rules of practice or procedure as a prerequisite to instituting criminal charges does not violate this Rules, unless the underlying criminal charges were made without probable cause.

    Some of them take the “safe harbor” intended for required notices and expand it to the size of San Francisco Bay. But it’s intended to cover “required” notices, not just those that make you (and your client) feel righteous and fearsome. For example, under Tex. Penal Code § 31.06, if a customer stiffs your client with a bounced check, a lawyer may, without violating the ethical rules, send a demand letter which includes the following statement:

    “This is a demand for payment in full for a check or order not paid because of a lack of funds or insufficient funds.  If you fail to make payment in full within 10 days after the date of receipt of this notice, the failure to pay creates a presumption for committing an offense, and this matter may be referred for criminal prosecution.”

    And I’m seeing more and more commercial fraud & breach of contract cases pleaded in the alternative under the Texas Theft Liability Act, which basically takes the common-law tort of conversion and, in the process of codifying it into statute, tacks on a provision for recovery of attorneys’ fees (plus a very modest penalty in addition to actual damages). It doesn’t require advance notice before filing the claim, but I’m seeing lots of lawyers nevertheless add this claim to a breach of contract demand letter, often with a citation to the parallel criminal theft statute and an explicit threat that prosecutors will be contacted with the relevant evidence — and I think that’s probably okay, so long as the potential crimes at least arguably fit the facts alleged and relate to the resulting civil claims.

    Many, many states still have this rule on the books, but in a move with which I disagreed at the time and still disagree with three-plus decades later, the ABA took this rule out of its Model Rules of Professional Responsibility in 1983, although there are more general rules, and common-law case precedents on legal ethics, which could theoretically be used to punish the same sort of misconduct.

    Either way, in the real world, there’s usually some arguable connection between the civil claim being advanced (or defended against) and the threat of tattling to law enforcement authorities. And as a practical matter, lawyers are very, very rarely investigated or punished by their state bar authorities for violations of this rule.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  25. Here’s the final judgment, including a consent decree and the $26M equitable relief fund, entered into by World Patent Marketing, Inc. to resolve the FTC lawsuit against it. In it, the defendants “neither admit nor deny any of the allegations in the Complaint” (except for facts necessary to establish the FTC’s and the court’s jurisdiction). The defendants were all enjoined to sin no more, but there are no binding factual findings or stipulations to establish that they actually sinned in the past.

    It’s unclear whether Whitaker was acting as an outside director, an officer, or a lawyer for World Patent Marketing, but regardless of that, and regardless of the whopping size of the settlement, Whitaker can fairly insist that neither he nor the company has ever admitted to fraud. I don’t think this is going anywhere in terms of disqualifying his as Acting AG.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  26. No? Please tell me all the basic facts, about the attorney-client relationship generally, and Whitaker’s relationship with World Patent Marketing specifically.

    This is the third time (yes, I’m keeping count) when you have used “alternative facts” in an exchange with me.

    Let’s see, he was on the board of the company and was a pitchman, he was never an attorney for them. You can be a lawyer and a barista at Starbucks, that doesn’t make you on their legal team.

    But you knew this of course, because it’s basic facts.

    Colonel Klink (3debb4)

  27. Whitaker was not a party — either in his personal capacity, nor in a representative capacity as either a director, officer, or attorney for World Patent Marketing — and so he wouldn’t be legally bound even if the company and the other individual defendants (including its majority shareholder) had admitted fraud or other criminal or civil blameworthiness.

    It’s ugly, and indicative of fringe connections with people playing fast and loose with Other People’s Money; it raises questions about Whitaker’s judgment, and Trump’s in promoting him; but it’s not going to win a court fight challenging Whitaker’s appointment.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  28. It’s ugly, and indicative of fringe connections with people playing fast and loose with Other People’s Money; it raises questions about Whitaker’s judgment, and Trump’s in promoting him; but it’s not going to win a court fight challenging Whitaker’s appointment.

    Right, it goes to his basic qualifications, ethics, and morals, but those wouldn’t be material to the current lawsuit over his position.

    Colonel Klink (5228b5)

  29. @ Colonel Klink (#28): I haven’t seen any indications that Whitaker was formally retained as an attorney for the company, in addition to being an outside director on its board. At least as the tale is told by Ripoff Report, he did that. Regardless, however, no such formal retention is necessary in order for a lawyer who’s an outside director to slip into the functional role of lawyer-advocate for the company, and the ethical rules would apply to Whitaker even if he only “participat[ed] in presenting or threaten[ing] to present criminal charges,” even from his nominal role as a company outside director. I’m not at all persuaded that the lack of a formal attorney-client relationship helps Whitaker here; that particular defense probably wouldn’t fly. But for the other reasons I mentioned above, I don’t think this is going anywhere.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  30. Bah. Editing error: The sentence in #31 which reads “At least as the tale is told by Ripoff Report, he did that” should have followed the sentence beginning with “Regardless,” not preceded it.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  31. But Rosenstein can be trusted to supervise an investigation, that arose from his own dubious fisa application,

    Narciso (4cefba)

  32. I haven’t seen any indications that Whitaker was formally retained as an attorney for the company, in addition to being an outside director on its board.

    I don’t think he was an attorney for them at all. He tangentially dropped his previous office in his correspondence with multiple clients, he specifically didn’t claim to be WPM’s attorney.

    Like I said, immaterial to the lawsuit brought by Maryland, but very material to him being qualified to work at the DOJ. Not being acting AG, just having a job there.

    Whether WPM officially copped to being a scam, they were a scam, the entire business sector is fundamentally a scam, and he was actively pitching the service, not to companies to make the products, but to people to buy the marketing service. It was basically a pyramid scheme, you get some folks to build a pitch deck for you on their thing, then you use that to pitch others that you’re pitching the first, rinse, repeat. The fact that he signed on to do it in the first place, then sent those super sketchy emails, just shows his personal lack of ethics, even if he didn’t personally get rich, he helped the scammers, and he can’t argue that he didn’t, there are videos and correspondence showing him doing it.

    I have a number of patents either personally or with teams, a few held outside of government/employer ownership, and the way patent marketing companies do business just isn’t how you’d go about getting a patent into the marketplace. Especially if the tiny marketing company was taking your money, and thousands of other peoples’, it’s illogical on its face, a logistical impossibility.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (ab0951)

  33. “But Rosenstein can be trusted to supervise an investigation”

    Man, what moron appointed Rosenstein? Must have been a real idiot.

    Davethulhu (fab944)

  34. However, the DoJ is allowed to say: “We doubt some of the answers you gave to FBI questions. We can charge you with several counts of lying. You’d better tell us what we want to hear or we’ll ruin you.”

    Kevin M (a57144)

  35. “Except Whitaker’s company was a fraud, an admitted fraud”

    And in normal everyday interactions in Real World Land, the question is: How shall he be judged for it based on what he knew at the time? Unless you’d like to depart forever from the great small-government concept of the ‘limited liability corporation’ in all future interactions and simply slaughter everyone who ever worked for a bad business for a first infraction?

    This is the first I or anyone else has heard of “Ripoff Report” (or WPM for that matter) and his assumption that it was a scam (probably supported by prior false reports they posted, plenty of TruePundits got their start in online marketing and reviewing) would have been easily justified.

    “Whitaker is unqualified to actually work at the DOJ, other than serving up chili in the cafeteria, he proved that during his disastrous tenure at the Southern District of Iowa.”

    ‘Qualifications’ are how you appoint an unending cavalcade of big government losers who enrich only themselves, other Washingtonians, and their own careers. I would rather Trump put the first ten chili cooks in the White House staff directory in charge of the DOJ than tolerate its specious and openly political legal assaults on his duly elected offices and duly appointed personnel a moment longer.

    As far as his ‘disastrous tenure’ goes, cite or we’ll be saying ‘Yeah, right!’

    Izzet (fd6264)

  36. Paul Krugman had a similar exposure to Enron, which was actually a massive fraud.

    And let’s not forget Geithner.

    Of course, if the object is to say “Trump’s judgements about people and their honesty is unsound”, maybe there’s a point. But he may value loyalty more than you do.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  37. “Whether WPM officially copped to being a scam, they were a scam, the entire business sector is fundamentally a scam, and he was actively pitching the service, not to companies to make the products, but to people to buy the marketing service. It was basically a pyramid scheme, you get some folks to build a pitch deck for you on their thing, then you use that to pitch others that you’re pitching the first, rinse, repeat.”

    See also: ‘College Admissions’, ‘Social Security’

    “The fact that he signed on to do it in the first place, then sent those super sketchy emails,”

    They sound pretty standardized actually. Is ‘sketchy’ a legally actionable adjective? Would the judge accept ‘creepy’ or ‘skeevy’?

    “just shows his personal lack of ethics,”

    Does the Ethics Board have a ‘Don’t be sketchy’ clause?

    “even if he didn’t personally get rich, he helped the scammers, and he can’t argue that he didn’t, there are videos and correspondence showing him doing it.”

    A guy who joined a company board to do a job did that job in a generally agreeable manner for agreed-upon compensation and no other fiduciary benefit that we can see must now be punished for every bad thing the company ever did no matter who materially directed or oversaw the fraudulent aspects.

    What I like about NeverTrumpers is how they, the true conservatives, tirelessly defend our legal traditions and culture and definitely aren’t just mad that they don’t get to be the people reading dissenters out of the conservative movement anymore!

    Izzet (f41f19)

  38. However, the DoJ is allowed to say: “We doubt some of the answers you gave to FBI questions. We can charge you with several counts of lying. You’d better tell us what we want to hear or we’ll ruin you.”

    As long as “what we want to hear” is the truth, it sounds like good law-enforcement practice to me.

    Dave (9664fc)

  39. As long as “what we want to hear” is the truth

    That’s a big IF

    Kevin M (a57144)

  40. It’s the same as the torture argument, since it’s pretty much the same process.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  41. ‘Qualifications’ are how you appoint an unending cavalcade of big government losers who enrich only themselves, other Washingtonians, and their own careers. I would rather Trump put the first ten chili cooks in the White House staff directory in charge of the DOJ than tolerate its specious and openly political legal assaults on his duly elected offices and duly appointed personnel a moment longer.

    That’s nice, so is he “Qualified” to be acting AG, or not?

    And the marketing company wasn’t the only shady thing he’s done since losing his job as US Attorney.

    As far as his ‘disastrous tenure’ goes, cite or we’ll be saying ‘Yeah, right!’

    His claim to fame as his personal choice to prosecute a case at the SDoI where he spent 2 years prosecuting a guy for bribery that was bounced by the jury in less than 2 hours, and that included lunch. You can read about it here. Even if the guy was guilty, the case was a disaster.

    Did you not know any of this, it requires about 10 minutes of reading?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (abc493)

  42. “Whether WPM officially copped to being a scam, they were a scam, the entire business sector is fundamentally a scam, and he was actively pitching the service, not to companies to make the products, but to people to buy the marketing service. It was basically a pyramid scheme, you get some folks to build a pitch deck for you on their thing, then you use that to pitch others that you’re pitching the first, rinse, repeat.”

    See also: ‘College Admissions’, ‘Social Security’

    OK, and…

    “The fact that he signed on to do it in the first place, then sent those super sketchy emails,”

    They sound pretty standardized actually. Is ‘sketchy’ a legally actionable adjective? Would the judge accept ‘creepy’ or ‘skeevy’?

    That’s standard in what job qualification? When you go on a job interview, do they ask you about your “legally actionable” job performance?

    “just shows his personal lack of ethics,”

    Does the Ethics Board have a ‘Don’t be sketchy’ clause?

    Ethics board, yes they do. Plus it’s kind of baked into job qualifications. If your argument is he’s fine because he wasn’t officially sanctioned, prosecuted, whatever, then OK, that’s your prerogative, but he’s sketchiness is public now.

    “even if he didn’t personally get rich, he helped the scammers, and he can’t argue that he didn’t, there are videos and correspondence showing him doing it.”

    A guy who joined a company board to do a job did that job in a generally agreeable manner for agreed-upon compensation and no other fiduciary benefit that we can see must now be punished for every bad thing the company ever did no matter who materially directed or oversaw the fraudulent aspects.

    Except, if the job you’re hired to do is scam people, and someone who was supposedly a stickler for ethics when he prosecuted a dem for taking $2k in a shakedown when the US Attorney for the Southen District of Iowa, getting a job doing the same thing shows, at a minimum, a very flexible ethical code. Plus, if he didn’t know, in the correspondents you can read, or the video you can watch, then he’s an idiot, or he knew what he was getting into.

    What I like about NeverTrumpers is how they, the true conservatives, tirelessly defend our legal traditions and culture and definitely aren’t just mad that they don’t get to be the people reading dissenters out of the conservative movement anymore!

    Uhh, what?

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (abc493)

  43. “Even if the guy was guilty, the case was a disaster.
    Did you not know any of this, it requires about 10 minutes of reading?”
    Colonel Klink (Ret) (abc493) — 11/15/2018 @ 11:23 am

    If only the disaster had involved bungling a high profile anthrax case, he would be instantly qualified for a SC position.

    Munroe (b39275)

  44. More on the legality (or illegality, to be more accurate) of Whitaker’s elevation to Acting AG, summarized thus:

    1. OLC’s analysis is serious and very professional—not at all “laughable”;
    2. The two questions the opinion addresses—one statutory, the other constitutional—are genuinely difficult;
    3. OLC’s conclusion that the Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 authorizes the Whitaker designation is possibly (but not certainly) correct, primarily because of an unexplained oddity of the 1998 Act, but there are serious counterarguments, too, some of which OLC doesn’t address;
    4. If Whitaker now holds an “office” within the meaning of the Appointments Clause (an unresolved question the opinion does not purport to answer), OLC has not adequately explained why Trump’s designation of Whitaker would be consistent with that Clause and, in particular, why the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Eaton (1898) does not undermine rather than support the President’s designation here;
    and therefore, at the very least,
    5. The “constitutional avoidance” canon may counsel in favor of a reading of the VRA that preserves the primacy of the AG Succession statute, pursuant to which Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein would perform the AG’s functions during the vacancy (however long it might last).

    And there’s more in the update. I think the State of Maryland has a strong case.

    Paul Montagu (d70e62)

  45. To recap.

    A dishonest thug who likes to threaten people who expose the fraud of companies he is associated with. No wonder Trump likes him so much. (Well, that and his comments on the TV trashing Mueller.)

    Yup, pretty much.

    Colonel Klink (ffba1f)

  46. So Colonel Klink can herd cats. Well done, sir.

    Tillman (61f3c8)

  47. Trump voters in 2016, in their peculiar aggregations in enough states to give Trump an electoral college victory, decided that they weren’t bothered with the idea that the President of the United States lent his name to, and profited by, a preposterous scam known as “Trump University.”

    The fact that our con-man president picked as Acting AG someone who has good con-man credentials should surprise no one.

    Congress wrote the particular loophole that Trump just drove his circus parade through. It could be fixed by a one-line bill which reads, “5 U.S.C. § 3345(a)(3) is hereby repealed.” But as long as the public, or at least the substantial part of it which brought Trump to power, loves ’em some con men, it doesn’t really matter what the laws say: We’re no longer in a Rule of Law nation, we’re in The Apprentice President reality TV show, 24/7/365.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  48. 49. By way of clarification, the degradation of the rule of law didn’t start with Trump. It didn’t start in my lifetime (I was born in 1978). Trump is a symptom of a far deeper problem.

    Gryph (08c844)

  49. Yes well I think this degradation that rosenztein WA party to is a much larger issue, because it happened in his official capacity.

    narciso (d1f714)

  50. The fact that our con-man president picked as Acting AG someone who has good con-man credentials should surprise no one.

    As I said before, Trump may value loyalty more than you do. And as I should have said: or honesty less. What is important to Trump, and to his base, is that somebody will finally do something about the 8+ years of sleaze and corruption that was the hallmark of the Obama administration.

    Sessions was fired for inertia; presumably Whitaker won’t fail here. I also expect his replacement to take office in December.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  51. I’ll point out that the Senate’s current Calendar has adjournment set for December 15. Whatever else might be said about the President’s power to make recess appointments, there is no question he can appoint people whose nominations have not been previously acted upon, during the inter-session recess. And there is quite a backlog.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  52. As I said before, Trump may value loyalty more than you do. And as I should have said: or honesty less. What is important to Trump, and to his base, is that somebody will finally do something about the 8+ years of sleaze and corruption that was the hallmark of the Obama administration.

    The People: No one could possibly be more corrupt than the Obama administration.

    Trump Administration: Challenge accepted, hold my beer.

    Colonel Klink (Ret) (5e03c2)

  53. @50. It really began to accelerate that evening, fifty years ago, when a certain fella w/a 5 o’clock shadow stepped before an NBC TV camera in ‘Beautiful Downtown Burbank’ for just five seconds- at the urging of an aide named Roger Ailes- and entertained America by muttering, “Sock-it-to-me?!?!” The electorate has been laughing down hill ever since.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  54. not even jimmy kimmel jimmying the salsa jar saved Hillary,

    narciso (d1f714)

  55. Trump Administration: Challenge accepted, hold my beer.

    No one has even been charged with corruptly using their office under Trump. Lots of peripheral stuff earlier, but that has nothing to do with the administration itself.

    Not that this matters to his base, who want the last gang punished like Trump promised.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  56. @55: I think “boxers or briefs?” was a definite turn south.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  57. One can assume voters no longer think committing fraud is a disqualifier. After all this man was elected and then re-elected governor of a state, and is now the presumptive senator-elect from that state.

    On March 19, 1997, investigators from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.[30] Eight days after the initial raid, Scott signed his last SEC report as a hospital executive. Four months later, the board of directors pressured Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO.[31] He was succeeded by Thomas F. Frist Jr.[32] Scott was paid $9.88 million in a settlement, and left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[33][34][35] The directors had been warned in the company’s annual public reports to stockholders that incentives Columbia/HCA offered doctors could run afoul of a federal anti-kickback law passed in order to limit or eliminate instances of conflicts of interest in Medicare and Medicaid.[32]

    In settlements reached in 2000 and 2002, Columbia/HCA pleaded guilty to 14 felonies and agreed to a $600+ million fine in what was at the time the largest health care fraud settlement in American history. Columbia/HCA admitted systematically overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, by striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and by filing false data about use of hospital space. They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare for home health care workers, and paid kickbacks in the sale of home health agencies and to doctors to refer patients. In addition, they gave doctors “loans” never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.[36][5]

    In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the United States government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.[37] In all, civil lawsuits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle; at the time, this was the largest fraud settlement in American history.[38][39]

    (Ex Wikipedia)

    kishnevi (5f8436)

  58. @ Kevin M, who wrote in part, addressing me (#52):

    As I said before, Trump may value loyalty more than you do.

    I take your point, and Trump certainly claims to value loyalty, but what he actually values is blind obsequiousness.

    Recall that within a matter of days, Trump insisted that he knows Whitaker and then that he doesn’t know Whitaker. What he really meant by this set of self-contradictions is that he doesn’t really know Whitaker’s character or qualifications, but he likes the eagerness with which Whitaker, as Sessions’ designee at several briefings, kissed up to him, and he likes the enthusiasm with which Whitaker expressed his support as a private citizen before he somehow came to be Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff. Will Whitaker turn out to be truly loyal as Acting AG? It’s a silly question: Something will go wrong, and he’ll have done some little something to annoy Trump that will suddenly become the pivot point for Trump’s reversal of field about Whitaker, at which point Whitaker will be the next body thrown under the bus as part of a two-year trail of Trump Administration roadkill.

    Trump is not loyal to anyone but the Trump Brand — he’s certainly not loyal to his wives, nor to extended family members — and true loyalty is something one must give in order to get, if one wishes to have anything but lick-spittles and groupies as one’s followers.

    Sessions was Trump’s very first endorser from the U.S. Senate, on the brink of the Alabama primary; Trump effectively bought Sessions’ endorsement by outsourcing to Sessions all of the details — except for the Wall and the anti-immigrant rabble-rousing — of his immigration policy. Sessions did more to “normalize” Trump for purposes of his hostile takeover of the GOP than any other national Republican figure. Sessions surrendered a safe U.S. Senate seat and a ton of seniority, plus a remarkable amount of goodwill among his fellow senators for someone so prickly, in order to become one of Trump’s first-announced cabinet appointees. And in return for that, Sessions has been metaphorically crucified by Donald J. Trump almost daily and almost from the moment he was confirmed by the Senate.

    This is why it’s more appropriate to describe Trump as a cult leader than any other type of leader. Cult leaders can attract followers like Omarosa or Scaramucci or Michael Cohen. And now Jeff Sessions’ political corpse is thoroughly riddled with fleas and maggots, given who he rushed to lay down among. Karma is a just b!tch sometimes.

    If Trump demanded of Whitaker personal loyalty to him in his representative capacity — loyalty to the Presidency, rather than to the President — because Trump wanted dedicated public servants working to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, that would be another story. George W. Bush was famously loyal to his staff, to and often well beyond the point at which objective observers thought he should have been. But he wanted loyalty to the team, not to him as its namesake. Trump, by contrast, wants people so personally loyal to him that, as Cohen bragged, he’d “take a bullet for Donald Trump.” Trump wants people whose noses are so far up his behind that they can gag on the stench of his hairspray.

    Overall, he’s gotten far, far better from his staff and cabinet secretaries in the first two years of his Administration than I expected, mostly despite his manipulative, cynical, and always-always-always selfish management style rather than because of it. But pretty soon the order will go out: Execute all survivors, a new Orange Man brush sweeps clean! And then he’ll have no more Jeff Sessions nor John Kellys, and his administration will be run by Acting Secretaries and Temporary Deputies whose moral fiber is absolutely as firm as Michael Cohen’s.

    Beldar (fa637a)

  59. So what explains the erstwhile house majority, what a dubbed the possum Congress, it spent an inordinate amount of time chasing unicorn, yes it occasionally tackled the tax bill, but only using procrustean means, it betrayed budgetary and policy determinations, its signature statement was ‘that’s not who we are’ which raises a question, who are they?

    narciso (d1f714)

  60. Beldar–

    I agree that Trump is terrible person and not deserving of anyone’s loyalty since it’s entirely one-way. But this was known going it, and I don’t blame a cat for killing birds. I will be joining you in giving money to any credible challenger, not because I dislike Trump but because he is SO BAD AT THIS JOB.

    Just the same, I don’t feel the need to take potshots at Trump for being Trump. I’m a lot more annoyed that he is unable to get anything done. Look what Reagan did with the House and Dole’s Senate dragging their feet. Trump can’t do things that are within his sole remit. It’s discouraging.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  61. Overall, he’s gotten far, far better from his staff and cabinet secretaries in the first two years of his Administration than I expected

    Yes, because patriots still exist, in both parties. Trump does go through them fast, through, and the scoundrels outnumber them, as always.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  62. You are sensible Kevin. But you know any real demcratic moderates were gone by 2010, at the latest,

    Narciso (6cccd7)

  63. Oh, there are a few — by “patriot” I do not mean anything more than “works towards the nation’s wellbeing.” They may have moronic ideas of how to go about that, but that isn’t the issue. Until recently I would have said that about Feinstein; her performance regarding Kavanaugh was completely out of character, which is why it was so shocking. You’d expect it from Kamala or Warren.

    There are scoundrels in both parties as well, and they outnumber the patriots pretty badly.

    Kevin M (a57144)

  64. “George W. Bush was famously loyal to his staff, to and often well beyond the point at which objective observers thought he should have been. But he wanted loyalty to the team, not to him as its namesake”
    Beldar (fa637a) — 11/15/2018 @ 7:23 pm

    Being in the crosshairs of a SC tends to personalize issues of loyalty. Just ask Scooter Libby. Or, Kavanaugh.

    Bush never had to deal with it from the other end, unlike Trump, not that he didn’t merit it more with the WMD and torture fiascos. And so, we can pretend that he never relied on any personal loyalty from Ashcroft and Gonzales.

    Munroe (1bb904)

  65. Well fits want loyal, comedy was trying to sabotage w along with Mueller and goldsmith in the hits before a terror attack thug changed the whole Iraq war, interrogations followed the European court of human rights precedents.

    narciso (d1f714)

  66. Trump’s no ‘cultist;’ he’s a showman who hires clowns to perform in his circus to entertain Americans. You won’t see many swooning for ‘The Donald Dime’ like for you-know-who. The interesting question is when the audience will tire of this show. Four years is a good run for any comedy of errors; this one could go eight. But even Ringling Bros., eventually folded their tents.

    There is certain irony, though, that in years to come, a supercarrier named the U.S.S. Donald J. Trump will be grabbing, hooking and landing lots of hot tail. No doubt that imagery amuses our Captain greatly.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  67. While we’re tangentially on the subject of the Mueller investigation, a Trump-appointed federal judge refused to dismiss the case against the company owned by “Putin’s chef”, which may partially explain recent White House anxiety.

    Paul Montagu (70fe18)

  68. Trump’s no ‘cultist;’ he’s a showman who hires clowns to perform in his circus to entertain Americans. […] But even Ringling Bros., eventually folded their tents.

    How many serial bombers did Ringling Bros. inspire?

    Dave (9664fc)

  69. How many serial bombers were life-long friends of a President?

    Kevin M (a57144)

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