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Trump’s ‘illegal payments’ under scrutiny as House conducts second probe running parallel to impeachment

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According to a report from Politico, some House Democrats are disappointed that Donald Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause does not appear to have a future as part of the articles of impeachment against the president, so they are continuing on with their own ongoing investigation with the hope it may be added at a later time.

The report notes many Democrats believe the president is involved in self-dealing by enriching himself through the use of his multiple properties that have become meeting places for lobbyists and foreign diplomats seeking favors from the White House.

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With the House preparing articles of impeachment that presumably will not touch on financial profiteering, Politico reports, “It’s a blow to lawmakers and watchdog groups who have tried for three years to get Americans to share their outrage at what they consider violations of the Constitution’s little-used emoluments clause, which forbids Trump from receiving gifts from foreign governments or money from U.S. taxpayers.”

According to three Democratic members of Congress and several staffers, a House investigation of what one lawmaker called “Illegal payments” will proceed.

“The House will continue to investigate Trump’s vast real estate company after impeachment,” the report states, adding, “Some of those same people even floated the possibility of writing an additional article of impeachment about Trump’s business dealings later next year or after his possible re-election — a concept that is legally permissible, but widely considered politically unpalatable and logistically infeasible.”

According to Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, “We deserve to know exactly who is paying the president and how much. “I will not look the other way as the president continues to accept illegal payments that create obvious conflicts of interest.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has alleged “that 111 officials from 57 foreign countries have spent money at Trump Organization properties. The company has responded to the scrutiny by donating $350,000 to the U.S. Treasury that it said came from foreign governments. But watchdog groups say the amount should be higher,” Politico reports.

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“Before he was sworn into office, Trump was urged to fully separate from his eponymous company, which comprises more than 500 businesses. But he ignored those calls, retaining ownership of his business. Instead, he placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his benefit. He can withdraw money from the trust at any time without the public’s knowledge,” the report notes. “Shortly after House Democrats took control of the House, they launched investigations into whether Trump was violating the emoluments clause, which forbids a president from profiting off of foreign governments unless approved by Congress, or from receiving any money from the U.S. government except his annual salary. They are even looking into an allegations that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them.”

Politico goes on to report that the House has drafted an emoluments impeachment article, but, at this time, it is not expected to be approved for inclusion before the House refers the impeachment to the GOP-controlled Senate.

 

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Prosecutors didn’t believe Lev Parnas claim he wasn’t operating on behalf of Ukraine: CNN

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Buried in a piece about the recent revelations that President Donald Trump was recorded demanding someone "take out" former Ukraine Ambassador Yovanovitch, CNN revealed prosecutors don't believe Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

"In November, federal prosecutors questioned [Joseph] Bondy about whether his client had been operating on behalf of Ukrainians at the dinner with Trump when Parnas said the ambassador was bad-mouthing the President, according to people familiar with the matter," reported CNN. "On behalf of his client, Bondy rebutted that suggestion, but prosecutors told him they didn't believe Parnas. Bondy declined to comment on any conversations with prosecutors."

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Trump lawyers ‘opened the door’ for him to testify — here are the questions George Conway would ask

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Prominent Republican attorney George Conway took to the pages of The Washington Post to lay out the case for why President Donald Trump should testify in his impeachment trial.

"There is an important missing witness in the impeachment of President Trump, and his last name, for all the fulminations of the president’s defenders, isn’t Biden. No, that witness is Trump himself — and the best case for calling him has been established by an argument advanced by the president’s own lawyers," Conway wrote.

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Kellyanne Conway storms out of briefing room after reporters call on her to answer Jim Acosta’s question

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While White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham refuses to hold press briefings, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway has been willing to talk to the press. That is unless the press asks questions she doesn't want to answer.

Such was the case Friday when Conway came to the briefing room to answer questions by reporters. When CNN's Jim Acosta asked if the White House was holding back evidence on Ukraine, Conway was annoyed. She started to lecture Acosta.

https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1220802200412344320

Playboy reporter Brian Karem backed up Acosta.

"It's a simple question," he said.

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