House Dems press for subpoenas on Trump Organization operations

House Democrats are pressing for their GOP counterparts to launch a “serious investigation” and approve subpoenas targeting President Donald Trump’s private company to reveal its operations since its founder and owner entered the White House.

The 17 Democratic members of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee said in a letter to the panel’s chairman that they were frustrated by Republicans for failing to dive deeper since Trump a year ago Thursday first rolled out plans to separate himself while in government from his hotel, real estate, golf and branding enterprises.

Namely, the lawmakers argued the president faces “numerous conflicts of interest” and must be called to account for his compliance with a constitutional block on foreign government payments to presidents.

“Over the past year, President Trump and his attorneys have stalled virtually any credible oversight, and unfortunately our Committee has done nothing to push back on these efforts, press for Continue reading “House Dems press for subpoenas on Trump Organization operations”

Bannon hires a lawyer for House Russia probe

Former White House strategist Steven Bannon has hired a lawyer to help him navigate a pressing part of the sprawling Russia investigation, a person with knowledge of the situation said Thursday.

The on-the-outs Donald Trump associate retained attorney William Burck to deal with the House Intelligence Committee probe, the source said. He will only handle questions related to Bannon’s time managing the Republican’s 2016 campaign.

Burck, a former top White House attorney under President George W. Bush, is not representing Bannon with respect to his time working on the Trump transition or for his service in the White House, which ended last August. He’s also not dealing with any queries about Bannon from special counsel Robert Mueller, the source said.

Burck, a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, is already representing former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and current White House counsel Don McGahn in the Russia Continue reading “Bannon hires a lawyer for House Russia probe”

Trump campaign hawks Palm Beach dinner contest to mark inauguration anniversary

President Donald Trump is taking another page out of Barack Obama’s playbook by hawking a private South Florida dinner later this month at Mar-a-Lago to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration.

The Trump 2020 campaign offer blasted out Wednesday via text message said “two great Americans” who give as little as $3 will be entered in the contest for the Jan. 20 meal — “Flight and Hotel included” — in Palm Beach, Florida.

Though the text message and a separate entry form on gop.com do not specify where the contest winners will receive their award, Trump campaign executive director Michael Glassner told POLITICO the event will be held at the president’s private Mar-a-Lago retreat.

The campaign text message does mistakenly say in one place that the dinner will happen in "Palm Springs", rather than Palm Beach.

Obama’s campaigns made frequent use of contest dinners with the president to Continue reading “Trump campaign hawks Palm Beach dinner contest to mark inauguration anniversary”

Trump lawyer calls NYT report a ‘nothing burger’ amid talk of obstruction

President Donald Trump’s associates on Friday brushed off a New York Times article detailing Trump’s attempted interventions into the Justice Department’s Russia probe as overblown, and rejected claims that it shows Trump tried to obstruct justice.

“Another NYT nothing burger,” Trump’s personal attorney, John Dowd, wrote in an email.

But legal scholars say the report, which dominated cable television since it appeared online Thursday night, reveals insights into Trump’s motives and intent — critical elements to any potential finding of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

“Trump’s motive will matter,” said Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney from eastern Michigan.

McQuade cited the Times’ descriptions of Trump’s efforts to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions not to recuse himself from the Russia investigation early last year as potentially key evidence supporting a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

“If Trump wanted Continue reading “Trump lawyer calls NYT report a ‘nothing burger’ amid talk of obstruction”

Judge: Manafort, Gates ‘hold the keys’ to their release from house arrest

Rick Gates, the former deputy for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, moved closer Thursday to his permanent release from house arrest and the constant demand to secure individual passes for every weekend and holiday getaway.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a one-paragraph order Thursday, told Gates — who faces criminal charges including money laundering and tax evasion as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation — that he had permission to attend sporting events this weekend for his children.

Jackson added that Gates would also no longer need to file individual requests each time he wanted to leave his home in Richmond, Virginia. But the judge did include a catch: Gates must first submit documentation showing he had the collateral to guarantee a $5 million bail package previously reached with Mueller’s office.

A similar arrangement is also in place for Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman Continue reading “Judge: Manafort, Gates ‘hold the keys’ to their release from house arrest”

Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago, where he often stirs up trouble

President Donald Trump’s aides and allies are hoping he’ll lay low during his holiday break in South Florida, savoring his big tax reform win and spending little time stewing about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Trump being Trump, that’s unlikely.

The president will have his regular golf outings to distract him from the Washington whirlwind he left behind. But there will also be plenty of reminders of what’s waiting when he returns to the White House in January as he catches up with longtime friends, family and dues-paying Mar-a-Lago members who have so far shown little hesitation in offering up their opinions about how he’s fared in year No. 1.

Republicans in Washington have been vacillating between crowing about their tax reform achievement and stewing about perceived bias on Mueller’s team of FBI officials and prosecutors. People who know the president say they’ll be watching to see how he Continue reading “Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago, where he often stirs up trouble”

Mar-a-Lago hikes New Year’s Eve party ticket prices

Partying with President Donald Trump on New Year’s Eve is getting more expensive.

Ticket prices for the annual Dec. 31 bash at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in South Florida are going up to $600 for dues-paying members and $750 for their guests, according to members of the private Palm Beach club. Last year’s tickets went for $525 for members and $575 for guests.

The lavish party in the Donald J. Trump Grand Ballroom and the surrounding grounds has plenty of perks, including a red-carpet entrance, a multi-course meal, a popular cover band and the chance to meet celebrities — Sylvester Stallone and Fabio were there to welcome in 2017 — as well as the president himself.

“I’ve been to a lot of black tie events. This was a different feeling,” said Lynn Aronberg, the owner of a Palm Beach public relations who attended last year’s event as a guest and got Continue reading “Mar-a-Lago hikes New Year’s Eve party ticket prices”