Patterico's Pontifications


Trump Pays $2 Million In Damages For Misusing His Charity

Filed under: General — Dana @ 5:22 pm

[guest post by Dana]

In other Trump news today, the president has paid $2 million in a court-ordered settlement for using funds from the Trump Foundation charity for his own personal gain and to benefit his 2016 presidential campaign:

The payment was ordered last month by a New York state judge in an extraordinary rebuke to a sitting president. Trump had been sued in 2018 by the New York attorney general, who alleged that the president had illegally used funds from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to buy portraits of himself, pay off his businesses’ legal obligations and help his 2016 campaign.


In addition, Trump agreed to distribute the remaining $1.8 million left in the Donald J. Trump Foundation to the same eight charities. In all, each charity received $476,140.41.

“Charities are not a means to an end, which is why these damages speak to the president’s abuse of power and represent a victory for not-for-profits that follow the law,” James, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Funds have finally gone where they deserve — to eight credible charities.”

Moreover, if the president wants to create another New York state charity, it will face certain restrictions and supervision.

Reports also say that, along with using the charity’s money for his presidential campaign and Pam Bondi’s Florida attorney general campaign, Trump paid $258,000 in legal settlements for his (for-profit) clubs, purchased sports memorabilia, champagne for a charity gala, and arranged for the charity to pay $10,000 for a 6-foot portrait of himself. Yep, that sounds about right.

Back when the lawsuit was filed in 2018, Trump was determined to not settle the case:

The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!

Still to be ruled on is whether Trump can write off the fine payment as a “charitable donation” on his taxes.

The President of the United States got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and as a result there is no longer a charity to use as his own personal piggy-bank. Good!

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)


The Democrats Are Blowing the Impeachment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:46 am

How? By not introducing (at least so far) an article of impeachment based on Trump’s obstruction of justice as described in the Mueller report. In particular, telling Don McGahn to fire Mueller, and to prepare a false document denying that Trump gave that order.

The following are arguments that Republicans have made, and will make again in the Senate, against impeachment based on the Ukraine matter:

  • The investigation was begun by partisans, and not by an outside counsel.
  • The acts complained of do not amount to statutory crimes.
  • There is no first-hand witness to the events whose account has been made public.
  • There is an arguable national purpose to the actions that does not relate to President Trump personally.

I’m not saying they are good arguments. The first is irrelevant. The second is irrelevant and indeed laughable, given the Founders’ concerns about abuse of presidential power. The third is a joke because we have the transcript, I mean the summary, of the call. And the fourth depends on the notion that Trump deeply cared about corruption in Ukraine — but only corruption related to two individuals, a father and a son, and only after the father became his chief political opponent.

But these arguments would be even harder to make about the obstruction of justice outlined in the Mueller report. The investigation was done by a special counsel, investigating and finding substantial evidence of statutory violations. McGahn is a firsthand witness and we know what he told Mueller. And telling McGahn to lie has no plausible public justification.

Nothing would change if this article of impeachment were introduced, of course. The Republican hacks in the Senate would vote to acquit on this charge too. But they’d look like even bigger fools doing so than they already will. And there is no reason to give Trump a pass on the egregious behavior outlined in the Mueller report.

Well. They didn’t ask me.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

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