I was all set to write about the depth of corruption that has taken root in the White House beyond the obvious shenanigans of Trump senior by looking at an article in the L.A. Times regarding Ivanka’s tawdry actions as first daughter and as a senior political adviser to her father on topics well above her pay grade. Not to mention, her ties with the Russian mafia, money laundering and the general bilking of potential and current clients. The other topic came from a Washington Post opinion piece about Hope Hicks and her abrupt exit from her White House communications position.
The Times piece is summed up in the title of the article: Ivanka Trump: Born to legitimize corruption and make the shoddy look cute. Most Americans only see the aging debutante as a glamorous beauty that sweeps in and out of the news cycle flashing her pretty smile and flaunting her runway beauty that most American women never have a chance of attaining. Only now are her actions as a Trump, Inc. surrogate coming under scrutiny. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller over the past few weeks turned his focus on both her and her husband, Jared Kushner. Kushner for his suspect dealings with countries who refused him loans to help bail out his family’s failing international real estate enterprises. Jared may have dealt in a reverse game of quid pro quo when the tiny Middle-Eastern country, Qatar, refused to support his request for a loan.
Ivanka’s woes (among others) come in the form of an FBI counterintelligence probe as highlighted in a CNN article looking into her dealings with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. The Trump’s don’t own the hotel but lease their name and provide some amenities like Ivanka’s trademarked spa like they often do. Dealings of this sort have caused the Trump organization problems in the past, especially for Ivanka (see the Times article above).
The Post’s View opinion column deals with the breakup between Trump and Hope Hicks in a rather unique manner. The gist of the article is,
THE CAPITAL last week was seized by the news that White House communications director Hope Hicks was leaving President Trump’s side, the latest senior aide to depart a tumultuous West Wing. But as a symbol of what is wrong in Mr. Trump’s Washington, Ms. Hicks’s activities just before her announcement were more potent. (my emphasis)
America now knows that Hicks admitted telling “white lies” to the American public over the tenure of here service. These lies, presumably, were meant to aid the Trump narrative when the truth didn’t comport with reality or when the Trump family’s questionable actions became public.
Additionally, and more damning, she refused to answer any questions concerning what has transpired in the White House since Trump took office. Remember, recently, Steve Bannon notoriously refused to cooperate or answer some of the questions asked of him when he faced federal investigators including the House Intelligence Committee. Hick’s refusal is more problematic in that she seemed to evoke some form of executive privilege, which does not in any way apply to her or her testimony. While the opinion piece makes a lot of great points, the one that is by far the most important is the precedent that its sets for future special investigations into criminal wrongs committed by this or future White Houses.
Those were the two topics of privilege that caught my eye in the less obscure headlines in the world of Washington politics. Then Sam Nunberg happened.
One time in the late 1970s at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Kerrville, TX, I saw a performer make the biggest fool of himself than anyone in my life. That title held until yesterday. The Kerrville show was continually held up due to heavy rain that made performing a suicidal endeavor at best. Finally, a gospel group came out and did a quick set and moved off stage. The next performer, who will remain unnamed, had had a lot of time on his hands backstage. After several unheeded intros by his band, the singer/song writer came out to scattered applause.
It was immediately evident that the performer had spent his down time backstage with a large bottle of alcohol. Not quite falling down drunk, but close, he began the first song but stopped the band and began to rag on the gospel group that preceded him in what became a drunken harangue. He wasn’t very nice to say the least. Finally, after what seemed an eternity (really only about five minutes), the venerable, late Rod Kennedy who promoted the festival back then came out and led the drunken singer backstage. Up until yesterday, no one in my experience ever came close to embarrassing themselves publicly like that performer.
Nunberg was like an out of control car brawling its way down Lombard Street in San Francisco. I saw his performance (or rather heard his phone call) on Jake Tapper where he vehemently proclaimed he would not submit to a Robert Mueller subpoena to surrender emails Mueller wants for his Russian probe into Trump’s possible collusion.
Over the course of the conversation he pledged his loyalty to Steve Bannon and Roger Stone while taking potshots at others, Trump included, in a wide-ranging rant of just about everything to do with the Mueller investigation and Trump’s White House. It was just the thing that Americans love to see: Someone making a fool out of themselves for no good reason to their own detriment. He was that unhinged. At several points in the discussion, Trump’s culpability came up,
Nunberg said multiple times that he thinks Mueller, who is leading an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, “may” have information that President Trump did something illegal. The White House rejected that claim, saying Nunberg has no knowledge on the subject.
This morning America awoke to the headlines that Nunberg recanted and will probably work with Mueller despite his odd behavior yesterday.
Pity, he was on a roll.