President Donald Trump has raised alarms with his authoritarian tendencies — but maybe there’s another word that could be used to describe his anti-democratic urges.
MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” hosted Time deputy managing editor Michael Duffy, who wrote the magazine’s cover story this week on Trump’s first year in office, and USA Today senior politics reporter Heidi Przybyla asked him about the president’s business dealings.
“We’ve talked a lot about 2017, things being autocracy, authoritarianism, but looking forward to 2018, how much do you think the word kleptocracy should start to become part of this discussion?” Przybyla said.
She pointed to her newspaper’s new report Trump companies selling $35 million in real estate last year — mostly to secretive shell companies that Przybyla said opened the president up to influence peddling.
“There could be explanations for this, like people just don’t want their names identified with Trump properties,” she said. “But according to our reporters, there’s a lot of people who say these could be used for influence buying, influence-seeking groups including foreign people who have purchased these properties if we’re able to identify.”
Duffy said the president had already tipped off investigators about how much influence peddling could be going on.
“President Trump told, warned special counsel (Robert) Mueller not to look at his family finances which, of course, was a great big red flag to go ahead and look at his family finances,” Duffy said. “I think that’s another theme here. The extent to which outside of government that Trump and Kushner family finances are in this target set of Bob Mueller at the moment has a kind of existential mind concentrating piece for this White House now. Those are things that have probably never been looked at, and if you put them in the context of foreign policy, that could get really ugly. Kleptocracy is a little different. I think the family’s finances will move front and center this year.”
Coronavirus data disappears from CDC dashboard after Trump hijacks info
The Trump administration on Tuesday forced all hospitals and states to make a significant and immediate change in how they report coronavirus patient data, hijacking the information to be funneled into the Dept. of Health and Human Services.
Experts warned the move could allow the administration to politicize the data, hide it, be less transparent, all of which interferes in the real-time usage of information to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Driver hits 63-year-old man with his car after he asked him to wear a mask in a store: police
A Rhode Island driver is being accused of hitting a 63-year-old man with his car after the man had confronted him about not wearing a face mask into a local convenience store.
Local news station WJAR 10 reports that 63-year-old William Beauchene got into an argument this week with a 30-year-old man named Ralph Buontempo, who had gone into the convenience store in the town of Lincoln, Rhode Island without wearing a mask.
Witnesses told police that the two men began yelling obscenities at one another, and that at one point Buontempo slapped a cup of coffee out of Beauchene's hand, which then splashed all over the store manager who had come outside to try to deescalate the confrontation.
Trump has rolled out a ‘new scam’ amid internal turmoil over Fauci: op-ed
Writing in the Washington Post this Thursday, Greg Sargent takes a look at the Trump's administration's recent walkback of its attempts to undermine its top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, after they discovered that it wasn't being received by the public so well.
According to Sargent, President Trump's "new scam" is to present the image that his administration actually respects Fauci's advice while continuing to undermine him behind the scenes.
"What’s really going on here is a kind of two-step, a double game," Sargent writes. "Trump and his advisers want him to reap the political benefits of appearing to harbor general respect for Fauci’s expertise, while simultaneously continuing to undermine Fauci’s actual claims about the threat the novel coronavirus will continue to pose — because those claims badly undermine Trump’s reelection message."