It is nigh impossible to appropriately summarize the amount of corruption entailed in two articles written yesterday by the Associated Press and The Daily Beast, but the long and short of it is this: Two men — a convicted pedophile by the name of George Nader; and Elliot Broidy, the former RNC Finance Chair who used Michael Cohen to pay a Playboy Playmate for her silence and an abortion and who has a past conviction for bribery — engaged in a large-scale campaign, using Broidy’s connections to Trump, to turn the United States against Qatar and in favor of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In exchange, they were to receive $1 billion in government contracts from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the United States government.
They were successful for a fairly long time. They donated a shit-ton of money to the RNC and Trump, and George Nader — the convicted pedophile — made a nearly $200,000 donation and got his picture taken with Trump. They helped boost the relationship between Trump and Saudi Arabia (while erecting a blockade against Qatar). Broidy also encouraged Trump to fire Rex Tillerson.
The media found all of this out from emails exchanged between Nader and Broidy, and they might have continued to get away with all of this were it not for Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The problem with these stories, however, is that they are not “sexy,” and you can chalk a lot of it up to “lobbying,” which is apparently the technical term for insane levels of corruption. Broidy and Nader will likely end up in prison, because they didn’t properly register as lobbyists, and Nader is cooperating with Mueller. I don’t know enough about the law in this area to know if Trump did anything illegal — he and the RNC accepted huge amounts of cash and may have changed their positions because of it, which may just be part of the everyday swamp of D.C. It is crooked as hell, and maybe it’s always been that crooked, but these pieces offer a disturbing view into how easy it is to drop a few hundred thousand dollars and end up with millions and millions in government contracts and significant shifts that have no basis in policy. The entire Trump presidency is a racket.
Ultimately, what most people are going to remember about this is one of the emails that Nader sent Broidy, mocking Jared Kushner. “You have to hear in private my Brother what [the crown royals] think of ‘Clown prince’s’ efforts and his [Middle East] plan!” Nader wrote to Broidy, “Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to.”
It’s good to know that Kushner is as disrespected around the world as he is here. That boy is only smart enough to play a patsy in this entire charade.
— If you’re into it, there’s an insightful and lengthy New Yorker piece on why a U.S. ambassador to Panama resigned earlier this year, and it mostly had to do with the same kind of corruption and the incompetence. Here’s the opening paragraph, which provides the gist:
John Feeley, the Ambassador to Panama and a former Marine helicopter pilot, is not averse to strong language, but he was nevertheless startled by his first encounter with President Donald Trump. Summoned to deliver a briefing in June, 2017, he was outside the Oval Office when he overheard Trump concluding a heated conversation, “Fuck him! Tell him to sue the government.” Feeley was escorted in, and saw that Mike Pence, John Kelly, and several other officials were in the room. As he took a seat, Trump asked, “So tell me—what do we get from Panama? What’s in it for us?” Feeley presented a litany of benefits: help with counter-narcotics work and migration control, commercial efforts linked to the Panama Canal, a close relationship with the current President, Juan Carlos Varela. When he finished, Trump chuckled and said, “Who knew?” He then turned the conversation to the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in Panama City. “How about the hotel?” he said. “We still have the tallest building on the skyline down there?”
— Meanwhile, the identity of that “spy” that Trump keeps yelling about has been revealed, and reported in several outlets now. His name is Stefan Halper, a 71-year-old academic and frequent FBI informant. He’s also a Republican, and here’s the kicker: Trump’s top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, recommended appointing Halper to a senior role in the Trump administration. Dude was recommended for an ambassadorship in Asia.
THE CALL IS COMING FROM THE INSIDE.
Rod Rosenstein and Christopher Wray, meanwhile, have agreed to let some Republican lawmakers see documents pertaining to Halper’s role as an informant, which they hope will — I guess — diffuse the situation with Trump and buy the Mueller investigation some more time.
— Elsewhere, in another odd twist of irony, President Trump is refusing to swap out his Twitter phone regularly, putting the phone at risk of being hacked. Why? Because it’s “too inconvenient.” If I’m not mistaken, that’s the same excuse that Hillary used for using a private server.
— Some Republican candidates are running on the message that, if Democrats take over the House, they will impeach Trump. Democrats don’t want to run on this message, obviously. They want to run on “issues,” but impeachment or not, it’d be nice to have a fucking oversight committee looking into all of this corruption. As long as the Republicans are in control, U.S. policy will be based on who makes the biggest campaign contributions.