So Tim Watts is my new best friend in the Australian federal parliament. MP Tim Watts. Needless to say, we're pals now because he's getting bombarded by the Trump campaign asking for money to fight 'Crooked Hillary'. Among other things, Tim's a Labor party member. So even apart from it being illegal for Trump to solicit funds from Tim (remember, Tim's not an American citizen, being from Australia), their politics likely don't line up. So as we've been researching Trump's top foreign countries for fundraising, I've been curious whether the Trump campaign has now taken the actually quite simple steps required to purge its list of at least foreign government officials at their government email addresses.
The answer is: no. As recently as last night (US time) Tim was getting emails from Trump begging for more money ahead of the critical June FEC deadline - which we discussed yesterday.
But here's where things got significantly weirder.
I still can't quite believe that even as big a huckster as Donald Trump thinks he can get away with this. But it's starting to seem like Trump was probably lying when he announced with great fanfare a week ago that he was converting some $50 million of loans to his campaign into simple contributions. This would mean that he could no longer use future contributions to pay himself back for those loans. In other words, he couldn't have either small donors or GOP fat cats reimburse him for his "self-funded" primary campaign.
This news comes from Ari Melber and Alexandre Jaffe at NBC News. Back on June 23rd, on the heels of the Trump campaign's catastrophic and humiliating May FEC report, he grandly announced that he was forgiving the debt and that he would file the relevant paperwork with the FEC that day.
But that apparently never happened. The FEC has no record of such a filing.
I'm curious why we're not hearing more about this. On the terrorist/jihadist web, ISIS fighters and supporters seem downright giddy for a Trump presidency, a mockable clown who will tank the US economy and draw the US into the land war they're hoping for.
TPM Reader BM has a theory that is at first glance ridiculous. In fact, on second glance it is also ridiculous. But when it comes to trying to figure out why Donald Trump is asking legislators in Denmark, Iceland and Australia to send him political contributions, I'm really not sure it's more ridiculous than the other theories. Here's BM ...
I have a purely speculative alternate hypothesis for how this train wreck of funding solicitations to foreign legislatures came about.
First, posit that DJT and the rest of his clan have now, and/or have had in the past, business interests in the UK (golf courses), Iceland (google "FL Group"), Australia, Canada, etc.
"It has been a whole campaign about us without us," says Linda Sarsour, a community organizer and executive director of the Arab American Association of New York. The quotesis from this piece from this morning by TPM's Lauren Fox, looking at the mix of fear and mobilization in America's Muslim community in the year of Trump. It's a powerful piece. Give it a read.