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This Week: Want To Make Payday Loans In States Where It’s Outlawed? Rent A Bank!

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November 28, 2019 9:00 a.m.

President Trump’s pardons: “Sheriff Joe” Arpaio. Michael Behenna. And this week, three convicted or accused murderers: Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance and Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, both of whom Trump pardoned, and Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who Trump granted clemency.

Gallagher, the best-known of the trio, was acquitted of charges that he murdered an teenage Islamic State captive. But he was convicted of posing with the boy’s body. And his own SEALs testified against him, including SEAL Dylan Dille, who testified that he witnessed Gallagher shoot innocent people with a sniper rifle. Another SEAL under Gallagher’s charge testified, “I shot more warning shots to save civilians from Eddie than I ever did at ISIS.”

“I stuck up for three great warriors against the deep state,” Trump said Tuesday. In this case, that apparently means the Defense secretary, the (fired) Navy secretary and military prosecutors.

Not a week had passed before Gallagher was selling t-shirts on Fox News. Trump has reportedly even considered featuring the men in his reelection campaign.

Want to make payday loans in states where it’s outlawed? Rent a bank! Laws governing interest rates on predatory loans vary widely from state to state. Predatory lenders hate that. They want to be able to charge 120% APR in Colorado just like they do in, say, Wisconsin. How do they do that now? They use the bank in Wisconsin to process a high-interest loan that, in all other respects, was effectively carried out through a storefront in Denver. Yes, this really happened, and yes, the Trump administration has taken the banks’ side in the ongoing legal battle.

A 2015 court decision has hampered this effort somewhat for predatory lenders, but the FDIC and the Comptroller of the Currency want to change that, announcing a proposal that would actively promote the practice.

FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams “is doing the bidding of loan sharks who have a decades-long history of trying to get around state consumer protection rules,” Americans for Financial Reform spokesperson Carter Dougherty observed. “And now a federal regulator is helping them do it.”

Scott Sutterfield, when he was the top official at ICE’s New Orleans office, signed contracts with for-profit jails to detain the swelling number of asylum seekers in his custody.

As Mother Jones notes, he chose whether they were granted parole — or whether they continued to generate profit for the jailers. Now, having left the Trump administration, he’s joined the other side — LaSalle Corrections, the private prison company to which he used to write government checks.

Sutterfield was in talks for his LaSalle job while still working at ICE, Mother Jones reported. He continued denying asylum seekers’ parole applications through his last days on the job.

Amazon quoted Trump directly in complaining about a lost contract. We mentioned a few weeks ago that the Pentagon had awarded a staggering $10 billion cloud computing contract to Microsoft over Amazon.

The President made it easy for the company to file a protest over the decision — they simply quoted Trump’s own statements about the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos, in speeches and Oval Office commentary. They even included a clip from Fox News host Steve Hilton calling the contract a “Bezos Bailout.”

Congratulations to the commander-in-chief for notching his 100th visit to Mar-a-Lago as president.

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