Just a reminder: President Trump is still profiting off the presidency.
The Washington Post obtained and reviewed federal documents related to Trump’s use of his own facilities for official business and travel. Since Trump took office, taxpayers have paid at least $970,000 to Trump’s company, specifically tied to payments for stays at Trump hotels and clubs.
Just since March, the Post said it’s tracked $340,000 of government funds being spent at Trump facilities, mostly related to Trump, his family and administration officials’ trips. As the Post notes, it’s unclear whether taxpayers footed the bill for rooms for Trump and his family, but we have paid for his staffers and security detail to stay at Trump resorts as they travel with the President.
This bit from the Post is sobering:
“The records show that taxpayers have now paid for the equivalent of more than four years’ worth of nightly rentals at Trump properties, including 950 nights at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J. and 530 nights at the president’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.”
What The Investigations Team Is Watching
Kate Riga is working on an update about Liberty University’s attempts to pursue trespassing charges against two journalists who wrote a story, interviewed students and took photos on campus as the school was criticized for reopening amid COVID-19. Local prosecutors say they will not pursue charges against the journalists.
Josh Kovensky just published an update to his earlier coverage of Sam Patten, the American political consultant who pleaded guilty to helping a Ukrainian politician — with ties to Paul Manafort — get tickets to Trump’s inauguration. He pleaded guilty in 2018 to violating the Foreign Registration Act. Read the piece here.
What The Breaking News Team Is Watching
Former vice president and presumed 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden told voters last night that he has no intention of giving Trump the “Nixon treatment” that former President Gerald Ford gave the disgraced ex-president. “Absolutely yes, I commit,” Biden said during a town hall Thursday evening in response to a question on whether or not he would pardon Trump. We’ll look out for any Trump reactions to this remark.
McConnell eats his words: After accusing former President Barack Obama of not leaving a plan in place for his predecessor to respond to a pandemic, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell admitted his mistake on Thursday evening. “I was wrong,” McConnell told Fox News host Bret Baier. “They did leave behind a plan. … So I clearly made a mistake in that regard.” We’ll keep an eye on whether other Republicans distance themselves from this narrative.
If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This
Matt Shuham reported on Dr. Rick Bright’s testimony before a House subcommittee on Thursday, in which the whistleblower testified there is still “no master, coordinated plan” coming from the administration on how to combat the COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier coverage of the Trump administration’s botched response to the pandemic:
- CDC Releases Edited Guidance On Reopening Amid Coronavirus
- Trump Dismisses Fauci’s Warning Against Reopening Schools: ‘I Totally Disagree’
- Trump Raises His Projected COVID-19 Death Toll Yet Again
12:00 p.m ET: Trump gave remarks on vaccine development.
12:30 p.m. ET: Trump will sign an Armed Forces Day proclamation in the Oval Office and watch the unveiling of the U.S. Space Force flag.
2:00 p.m. ET: The White House press secretary will hold a briefing.
4:00 p.m. ET: Trump will deliver remarks in the Rose Garden about “Hard Work Heroism, and Hope.” Afterwards he will depart the White House for Camp David.
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Trump Demands Graham Make Obama Testify. Graham Says No Thanks. — Cristina Cabrera
What We Are Reading
Arizona Attorney gGeneral “Actively Pursuing” Right-Wing Troll Jacob Wohl — Roger Sollenberger
Welcome To Our Very Safe Restaurant! — Alan Sytsma