Over the course of this series, we have developed a profound concern about the health of the American political body.
Presidents like Warren Harding and Richard Nixon were disgraced for far less than the kinds of nonsense we see all the time with Trump. This week's additions aren't the worst that we've covered, but if one were to collect every installment in this series into a book and read it cover to cover, they'd see a striking pattern.
Donald Trump Jr. is going to be paid $100,000 to speak at a Texas college.
On Oct. 24, the president's son — the same one who met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer in June 2016, perhaps to obtain dirt on Hillary Clinton — will deliver a speech at the University of North Texas for $100,000, according to The Dallas Morning News. As UNT's website explains, Trump Jr. "actively oversees all aspects of the Trump Organization including its expansive property portfolio." In a normal administration, this would have nothing to do with the president, but we must never forget what Eric Trump once admitted, that the brothers talk with their father about "the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that." He later clarified, when asked about how often they do this, that it's "probably quarterly."
Jared Kushner's company needs investors badly.
Speaking of the president's family: It came out this week that the Kushner family's real estate empire, desperate to avoid suffering a major loss on a Manhattan office tower, has been scouring the world for investors. Israel, France, South Korea, China, Qatar . . . No rock has been left unturned, or at least, it seems that way. Perhaps most notably, when Kushner met with a Russian ambassador and the head of a Kremlin-controlled bank after Trump's election, spokespeople for both Putin and the bank claimed he did so to discuss the family's real estate business. Kushner, of course, claims that it was to discuss his upcoming role as a Trump presidential adviser.
Trump granted one Venezuelan government-owned petroleum company an exemption from economic sanctions — and it's represented by lobbyists connected to the president.
When Trump imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela on Friday, he notably excluded the petroleum company Citgo on the grounds that doing so would "mitigate harm to the American and Venezuelan people." Yet it hasn't escaped attention that Citgo is represented by Avenue Strategies, a lobbying firm founded by former Trump campaign advisers like Barry Bennett. Indeed, Citgo paid Avenue Strategies $80,000 through June to lobby the Trump White House on the "potential impact of U.S. energy and foreign policy restrictions on Citgo Petroleum Corporation's operations and valuation of assets."
Citgo also gave $500,000 to the Trump inauguration committee.