GOP Administration Scandal Scorecard (due to space limitations, only major players listed):

Michael Flynn: Born 1958, Rhode Island. Retired United States Army lieutenant general who was the eighteenth director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the first national security advisor appointed by President Donald Trump. Served 24 days. Discharged after lying about connections with Russia and Turkey became public. Currently under investigation, and offering to testify if granted immunity from prosecution.

Paul Manafort:  Born 1949, Connecticut. Long time associate of Donald Trump. Served officially as campaign manager for five months. Discharged after associations with Russia became public. Helped with the Trump transition. Currently under investigation for extensive ties with Russian government and oligarchs.

Wilbur Ross:  Born 1937, New Jersey.  American investor who is currently the 39th United States Secretary of Commerce. Vice Chairman of Bank of Cyprus, which is under investigation as a Russian money laundering hub. Helped make a real estate deal between Donald Trump and Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev that profited Donald Trump over 50 million dollars.

Scott Pruitt: Born 1968, Kentucky. Republican politician from the state of Oklahoma who is currently the 14th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Global warming denier, who is under investigation for ethics violations (lying to Congress) about using a private email address while Attorney General of Oklahoma.

Andrew Puzder: Born 1950, Ohio. Withdrew from consideration as Labor Secretary after revelations of wrongful labor practices with undocumented immigrants in his household staff.

Tom Price: Born 1954, Michigan. Currently the 23rd United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Currently under investigation for having bought 90 thousand dollars of drug stock while pursuing legislation that would have had a direct positive effect on the value of that stock.

Jeff Sessions:  Born 1946, Alabama. Currently Attorney General of the US. Trump transition team. Recused from participation in investigations of the Trump election and transition team.

Carl Icahn:  Born 1936, New York. Billionaire friend of Donald Trump, currently Special Advisor on Regulatory Reforms. Investigating regulation changes that would result in 250 million dollars per year profit for one of his businesses.

Mitch McConnell: Born 1942, Alabama. Currently Senate Majority Leader. Was notified by the intelligence community in August,2 016 of Russian interference in US elections, but prevented action on this by promising to make this a divisive campaign issue, blaming Democrats.

Paul Ryan: Born 1970, Wisconsin. Currently Speaker of the House. Engaged with Devin Nunes in passing classified information to the White House targets of the House investigation.

Devin Nunes: Born 1973, California. Congressman since 2003, Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence since 2015, member of Trump’s transition team. Currently subject to calls for his removal after violation of best practices in conducting investigation into Trump Election and Transition activities.

Deutsche Bank: German global banking and financial services company. Annual revenues in 2016 of approximately 30 billion Euros. The bank to which Donald Trump owes the most money. At the time of the real estate deal with Rybolovlev, Donald Trump owed Deutsche Bank 40 million dollars. Donald Trump is currently reputed to owe 300 million dollars. Deutsche Bank was deeply involved in Russian money laundering, moving over 10 billion dollars. They paid a 425 million dollar fine to the State of NY, and 163 million pounds in the UK. Its chairman, Josef Ackermann became chairman of Cyprus bank, where Wilbur Ross was a major shareholder.

Sberbank and Vnesheconombank: Vnesheconombank director Sergei Gorkov who also graduated from the KGB (FSB) university, spoke with Jared Kushner, the presidents son-in-law. This bank is part of the US sanctions in Russia.

So…8 direct appointees, 3 supporting cast, and 4 major banks. I spent very little space on description, and it is still over a page of actors. I left many out, like Mike Pence, who has been caught on film saying he didn’t know about Michael Flynn’s lies when there are dated letters that showed he did. Anyone who thinks that all this is just a smoke screen and that there is nothing there is deliberately sticking their head in the sand.

It is my fear that because much of this is outside US jurisdiction, a “smoking gun” will not be found. I doubt that the Republicans will “do the right thing” and impeach the president. I even doubt that they will force compliance with ethics standards and eliminate the massive conflicts of interest that exist in almost all the president’s appointees. Nor will they change the incredibly large portfolio that has been handed to Jared Kushner (who has been called the Head of the Bureau of Obvious Nepotism).  This portfolio includes: Trade, Middle East Policy, Israel-Palestine peace efforts, the Veterans Administration, the opioid crisis, technology and data in government, and broadband internet.  Heading any one of these areas would be a full time role for a very competent individual. Having all of these is a travesty.

The pattern of conflict of interest in all of these players is prominent. This is characteristic of a kleptocracy, as is nepotism. In non elected or appointed government positions, it is illegal to appoint family members. This is because the temptation to protect a family member from the consequences of poor performance or ethics will be irresistible.  Any of the items mentioned above would be a MAJOR scandal. There is hardly time to keep up with all the details, and this has led to becoming de-sensitized to the level of scandal. We must not let any of this be considered normal. Somehow, the US has to get back to where ethics is paramount. Honesty should be the first virtue.

Keep your scorecard handy folks, it is going to be a long game.

William Casperson

editor

@Political Nation

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