In her first year as First Lady, Melania Trump made between $100,000 and $1 million in photographic royalties. This is possibly the first time a First Lady has monetized her position. Some First Ladies have written books during their time in the White House, but donated the proceeds to charity. Some also have written books after leaving the White House, but this income is from photos taken prior to Melania Trump becoming First Lady, and was enhanced because of it.
Melania Trump earned the money thanks to a deal with Getty Images “for the use of any of a series of 187 photos of the first family shot between 2010 and 2016 by Belgian photographer Regine Mahaux,” NBC News reports. “It’s not unheard of for celebrities to earn royalties from photos of themselves, but it’s very unusual for the wife of a currently serving elected official.”
The funds were paid to Getty, which reportedly was supposed to tell news agencies they could only use the images in “positive” news stories. News agencies were not told Trump would be receiving royalties, which may have entered in their decision to pay for the right to use the images.
The revelation comes after President Trump’s May financial disclosure was made public. In the years before she became First Lady, whatever sums she earned on the royalties of the photos did not meet the threshold for them to be reported.
“In a standard photo contract, the photographer gets royalties and the photo agency receives fees for each use of an image. Models are not paid royalties,” NBC News reports. “Paying royalties to the Trumps and limiting the use to only positive stories about a prominent politician is unusual”
Dem lawmaker rips apart top GOP anti-impeachment talking point: ‘Attempted extortion’ is still a crime
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) on Wednesday tore apart one of the major arguments made by House Republicans during public impeachment hearings.
Throughout the hearing, Republicans argued that there was no scandal in the president's behavior regarding military aid to Ukraine because the aid eventually got delivered.
Castro, during his questioning of impeachment witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent, expertly pulled this talking point apart by showing that President Donald Trump's efforts to extort Ukraine only failed because he got caught.
Castro began by asking the witnesses why Ukraine didn't actually go through with plans to investigate Burisma, the former employer of Hunter Biden, even though the country had been poised to do so.
Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe succinctly debunks Jim Jordan’s defense of Trump
Constitutional law expert Laurence Tribe debunked the key defense of President Donald Trump that was offered by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) during the first televised hearing in the impeachment inquiry.
Jordan did not address the fact President Donald Trump solicited foreign election interference in violation of federal law, but attempted to debunk the additional charge that there was extortion/bribery.
The Ohio Republican argued that there could not have been a quid pro quo because the aid was eventually released.
But Tribe, who has taught at Harvard Law for half a century and argued three dozen cases before the United States Supreme Court, fact-checked the congressman who never passed the bar exam.
Here are 5 wild moments from the House’s first public impeachment hearing
The impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump entered a new phase on Wednesday morning, when the first public testimony was presented. The two witnesses presented were Ambassador William B. Taylor (who had been in charge of Ukraine-related matters under the Trump Administration) and U.S. State Department diplomat George P. Kent (deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs). And while House Republicans aggressively defended Trump during Taylor and Kent’s testimony, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) and other Democrats used Taylor and Kent’s testimony to show why Trump deserves impeachment.