A New York Judge on Thursday told lawyers for President Donald Trump that allegations from New York’s attorney general — that Trump illegally used his foundation as a piggy bank — “are what they are,” and that “until you deny them, I accept them.”
Judge Saliann Scarpulla acknowledged that Summer Zervos’ case would impact the foundation case inasmuch as it determines whether a sitting president can be sued.
If the appeals court in Zervos’ case “says that Clinton versus Jones is still good law, then this case will continue,” despite the Trump camp’s motion to dismiss, Scarpulla said.
The White House rejected four Veterans Affairs administrative judge applicants after asking about their party affiliation, The Washington Post reported Tuesday, in what appeared to be an unprecedented politicization of the process. Three Democrats and one independent applicant were rejected; three Republicans and one Republican-voting unaffiliated judge were approved.
On Oct. 12, Ben Carson made a surprising announcement to Housing and Urban Development Department staff: A Trump political appointee at HUD, Suzanne Israel Tufts, was next-in-line to lead the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General. The current acting DOI IG was caught off-guard, and DOI itself eventually denied Carson’s claim; hours later, the DOI IG released a report finding that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke violated travel rules. The next day, Tufts resigned altogether from the government.
TPM has filed a FOIA request to determine exactly what led Carson to announce — incorrectly, prematurely or on purpose — that Tufts would be taking over the DOI OIG.
Finally: President Donald Trump’s consistent, often petty lying has become a defining characteristic of his presidency. But his use of political appointees and the federal bureaucracy to further those lies, in service of Republicans’ midterm election goals, is worth pointing out.
For example, Trump admitted he has no proof for his bogus and fear-mongering claim that “unknown Middle Easterners” are traveling with migrants and asylum-seekers toward the U.S. border. But Department of Homeland Security officials, TPM reported, appear to have delivered talking points to support that bogus assertion to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Vice President Mike Pence.
A spokesperson for Pence told TPM she got the statistic — that “in 2017 alone the U.S. apprehended on average between [sic] 10 suspected terrorists a day attempting to enter the country illegally” — from DHS.
Let’s set aside that the assertion itself, in this context, equates “unknown Middle Easterners” and “suspected terrorists.” Beyond that, a DHS official, pressed repeatedly to provide evidence for that claim, failed to provide any.
“You can definitely say DHS data,” the official said. “There is no report to link to.”
He also worded the statistic differently, saying that DHS had “prevented” suspected or known terrorists from “traveling or attempting to travel to the United States.”
The Washington Post explored the bureaucratic back-up needed for others lies, including Trump’s assertion that a middle-class tax cut would arrive in Congress with days to go before the midterm elections — despite Congress not being in session. “Washington’s bureaucratic machinery whirred into action nonetheless — working to produce a policy that could be seen as supporting Trump’s whim.”
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