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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

"The Best People," continued

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss  Trump's record of  scandal
The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
-- Machiavelli
Officials in at least four countries have privately discussed ways they can manipulate Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, by taking advantage of his complex business arrangements, financial difficulties and lack of foreign policy experience, according to current and former U.S. officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter.

Among those nations discussing ways to influence Kushner to their advantage were the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico, the current and former officials said.

It is unclear if any of those countries acted on the discussions, but Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns inside the White House and are a reason he has been unable to obtain a permanent security clearance, the officials said.
At NYT, Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman report on the announcement that Brad Parscale would head Trump's reelection campaign:
The 2020 campaign announcement, as is common in Trump world, didn’t quite go off without a hitch: For starters, it initially alarmed ethics experts, who said its description of Mr. Kushner as “senior adviser and assistant to the president, and President Trump’s son-in-law,” was in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits political activities by government employees. The announcement was later edited to remove “senior adviser.”
“We’ve got a campaign that’s obsessed with campaigning and doesn’t even know what the Hatch Act rules are around Jared Kushner,” Richard W. Painter, who served as a White House ethics lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview. “They don’t have any idea what the rules are, and they really don’t care.”
The timing of the announcement also came hours before the disclosure that Mr. Kushner’s security clearance level had been downgraded.
AP reports:
The political strategist and online guru who was named President Donald Trump's 2020 campaign manager Tuesday has a close financial relationship with a penny-stock firm with a questionable history that includes longstanding ties to a convicted fraudster, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Brad Parscale, who played a key role in Trump's 2016 election victory, signed a $10 million deal in August to sell his digital marketing company to CloudCommerce Inc. As part of the deal, Parscale currently serves as a member of California-based company's management team.
Glenn Thrush at NYT:
Department of Housing and Urban Development officials spent $31,000 on a new dining room set for Secretary Ben Carson’s office in late 2017 — just as the White House circulated its plans to slash HUD’s programs for the homeless, elderly and poor, according to federal procurement records.