Just because the Swamp is “Normal” doesn’t mean it is OK

Saagar Enjeti blasts Biden’s potential administration after reports from The American Prospect detail how strategic consultants will define Biden’s cabinet.

Cited Piece

The American Prospect: How Biden’s Foreign-Policy Team Got Rich

00:00
all right Sagar what’s on your radar
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well the RealClearPolitics average has
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Joe Biden up 8.7% Achon average over the
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last three weeks nationally and in every
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single battleground state and yesterday
00:11
we featured this map on the show it
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shows that the upper bound of what is
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electoral possibility in November is a
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massive electoral landslide none of this
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is a guarantee as we learned in 2016 but
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what does it mean is that we have to
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start taking very seriously what it
00:29
actually means for Joe Biden to become
00:31
President of the United States and
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commander-in-chief this is especially
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relevant after the most recent deep
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state plot to derail Afghan peace
00:39
negotiations and the bipartisan push to
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keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan
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for no reason our friends over at the
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American Prospect gave us a distressing
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look into what exactly we’re dealing
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with here on the national security front
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if Biden ever ascends to the Oval Office
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and just how deep the swamp will extend
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inside the prospect details how to close
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Biden associates Anthony blinken and
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Michele Flournoy decided to start a
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boutique consulting firm for defense
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contractors and fortune 100 companies
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after they unexpectedly found themselves
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without a job in here with Hillary
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Clinton’s administration blinken and
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flora Noyes practice entails helping
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tech companies try to get Pentagon
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contracts helping defense contractors
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get more contracts and basically
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advertising itself as a one-stop
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consulting shop for any massive
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corporation that wants help influencing
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the national security or diplomatic
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swamp now in a particularly galling
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section of their website the pair
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literally advertise that they can help
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major companies quote develop a strategy
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for expanding market access in China
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blinken and Flournoy are not going to be
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low-level aides in a Biden
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administration floor annoy was well
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known in Washington to be the next
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Secretary of Defense in waiting under
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hillary clinton administration i
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personally attended an event with her
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and biden in 2016 in which biden
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jokingly called her Madame secretary and
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which she jokingly referred to Biden as
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mr. president blinken on the other hand
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was deputy national security adviser
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under Obama and a Deputy Secretary of
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State
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recent Biden campaign event he was
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introduced as quote senior foreign
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policy advisor and the rest of Biden’s
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foreign policy team is exactly the same
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as the prospect lists including Nicholas
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burns of the Coen Group Kurt Campbell of
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the Asia group Tom Donilon of Blackrock
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Investment Institute Wendy Sherman of
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the Albright Stonebridge group and
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former Hillary adviser Jake Sherman of
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macro advisory partners you beginning to
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sense a theme here former very high
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ranking national security officials now
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working as outright consultants for
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finance Sears and Chinese companies and
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defense contract or companies who take
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those people on as clients does any of
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this bother Joe Biden
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well when the prospect asked his
02:55
campaign for comment this is what they
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had to say quote there’s a difference
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between consulting and lobbying and that
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here’s a pretty strong line there so
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presumably we don’t have to have a ban
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on people who were consultants at one
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time on another since I am one myself it
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is just too good to be true
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what’s disgusting about this is the pure
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nakedness of it all Michele Flournoy as
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they point out literally serves on the
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presidential intelligence advisory on
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the CIA directors external advisory
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board on the Pentagon’s defense policy
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board she has access to very classified
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and important information who knows what
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she is and isn’t using to influence her
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advice to the most powerful corporations
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in the world under Biden they will this
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is only going to ramp up a member of the
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firm that floor annoyin blinken found it
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even admitted to the prospect that Biden
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would be great for business saying quote
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think about it if Biden were to win we
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do think that companies will start
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coming to West exec for hey what is the
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Commerce Secretary thinking the clear
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picture we’re getting here Biden and his
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team is that they’re not rigidly
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ideological if they were outright
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neo-cons
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in a way I would respect it more but
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worse they are transactional neo
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liberals who will tell you with a
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straight face that they believe in
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making the country a better place while
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enriching themselves off perpetuating
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the status quo that can’t afford to get
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out of Afghanistan because it would hurt
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their clients they can’t afford to pull
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back from Europe because it would hurt
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their a bit
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consult companies who want to do
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business with NATO the grifting list is
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on and on and on and the wholesale
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ownership of Biden’s foreign policy team
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by this system and his inability to push
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back against it is a signature of some
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very troubled times to come in the next
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four years if he ever ascends to the
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presidency and crystal I mean I don’t
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know if you read this piece but it is
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stunning because it’s not just blinking
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and floran wise he points out every
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single person works for some consultancy
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group and then not even that it’s just
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it’s the naked lack of reporting why
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does this have to come from a
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progressive left outlet you should in
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the new york times be investigating this
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is manna ford stone level stuff right
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yeah they don’t care because it’s just
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normal it’s like a normal grift of
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washout yet that everybody is just like
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oh yeah you know she made a couple
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million bucks here a couple million
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bucks they’re gonna be the next defense
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secretary who knows how many contracts
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gonna steer their way to somebody’s
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friend oh good just normal now they’re
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like the fish swimmin in the ocean they
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can’t see the water this is just like
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the way things are done indeed I mean it
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reminds me a lot of you know when we
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were talking about hunter Biden
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congressman Ted Louise like people serve
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on boards right make money the fact that
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is normal doesn’t mean it’s okay that
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actually makes it so much worse and I
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really encourage people to go read this
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piece it’s it’s such an important look
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inside the way that policy is actually
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made and the human beings who are at the
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table and the interest sometimes that
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are secret by the way they’re not
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upfront about life they don’t have I’m
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also you know I’m also working with
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Northrop Grumman just so you know so
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when I’m advocating for like this
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missile system that they have to make
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you might want to know that piece of
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information I mean that is literally
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laid out in this piece and it is
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completely common operating procedure in
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this town so on the one hand it’s just
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like it’s so normal that they don’t even
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think to report on it and look into who
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the individuals are who they represent
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how that might influence their policy
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and on the other hand the other piece of
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this is like so much of our political
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coverage I touched on this yesterday
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when we were talking about Susan Rice’s
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potential VP
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or any of the other potential VP picks
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it’s all just treated as horserace yes
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and personality driven and like
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demographic driven like what boxes do
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they check rather than actually digging
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into the substance and the policy and
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what that might mean for an
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administration especially when you do
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have someone like Joe Biden that’s the
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other piece that’s interesting here is
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they talk about the way that he’s a
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perch for the policy it sounds actually
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a lot like Trump yeah it’s very
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personality driven he has this like
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glad-hand approach he he believes in
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these personal relationships many of
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which have gotten him into a lot of
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trouble in terms of his decision-making
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trusting people and leaders that he
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really has arrested one of the best
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parts of the piece yeah about I forgot
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actually this because this is my
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background he was the guy who backed
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Nuri al-maliki right Iran who is the
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person who started a sectarian civil war
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gave rise to Isis Andrew into the
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country after he was like his but yeah
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and it was like fighting walked into
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Iraq thinking he was dealing with to
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Delaware political bosses is like yeah
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it turns out the sunni-shia conflict is
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a lot more complicated right and then
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maybe we should apply a little bit more
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intellectual rigor there that is
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actually the piece that worries the most
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because you can see it right now on
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Afghanistan because Biden and his team
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are like Oh Trump wants to get out of
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Afghanistan they’re gonna abandon Biden
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has a record of pushing restraint in
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Afghanistan his entire record was saying
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hey don’t do this let’s do the
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counterterrorism thing even in 2006-2007
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he was writing op-eds against the surge
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which is a long history of being anti
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intervention whenever that was the
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politically convenient kind of
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contrarian thing to do right but this
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goes to show with Susan Rice doing the
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Afghanistan thing and I played his
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comments here over last week we talked
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about dereliction of duty for Trump and
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all of that about how we have to stand
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up to the Russians I just that’s when
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you really knew this is a truly
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transactional non-ideological figure who
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will go wherever the winds blow that is
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a disaster that is how you got Libya
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Libya was the politically convenient
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thing to do how did it work out for
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everybody right maybe it would’ve been
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better to have somebody hot saying yeah
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nobody talks about that one well and
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here’s something too exactly like what
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you’re saying when you
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have someone who doesn’t have like a
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fixed ideology that they’re committed to
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or an agenda overseas that they’re
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committed to then the people that you’re
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talking about here blink it in Flournoy
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and all the rest they’re the ones that
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fill in the gaps they’re the ones that
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actually drive the policy then once it’s
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set the range of options that are
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available so just like we’ve seen with
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Trump where he’s like I want to get out
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of out get it like that’s just not even
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an option that’s put in on the table
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they’re like your options are you can
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increase by five thousand ten thousand
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or seventy-five thousand right it’s like
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but I want to get out I don’t understand
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that’s how they get you that’s what they
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do every single time it’s and it’s not
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just and some of these people are
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ideological and then some of them just
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have you know personal professional and
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monetary direct monetary interests in
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serving this particular role because
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yeah why that well look if they go in
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the administration they’ll cut all the
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ties specifically those industries
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they’ve got all those connections still
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they know where their breads gonna be
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buttered after they exit the
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administration so don’t think that just
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because they technically cut ties at
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that point means that they have really
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like the independence of thought doesn’t
09:48
even matter they admit it they’re on off
09:50
basically on background to this prospect
09:52
reporter being like yeah you know if
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Biden being the president that’d be
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great for us great for people we’ll call
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for us and be like what is the former
09:58
West deck partner who’s now the Commerce
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Secretary think about X that is worth
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billions to companies right if they’re
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like hey we need to know which way the
10:07
administration is probably going to
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swing on the new Chinese tariffs that is
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literally worth hundreds of billions of
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dollars same on the defense secretary if
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they’re gonna on Yemen that was the
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example that was given there whenever
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she was talking about how Michele
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Flournoy was advocating I think of more
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Patriot missiles for for Saudi Arabia
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she failed to disclose we’re not
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disclosed nobody knows she won’t even
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admit which defense contractor she works
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for and wouldn’t deny that Raytheon who
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manufactures these Patriot missiles was
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one of her company the only thing they
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would say is quote one of the defense
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primes which is one of the five largest
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defense codes and they said like it’s
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one of their contracts it’s in the
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ballpark
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know if you really want to understand
10:45
why we have the foreign policy that we
10:48
have why we keep getting into these
10:49
conflicts overseas that we can that’s
10:51
what once we get in that you can never
10:53
ever get yourself out of this piece
10:55
really lays
10:57
like the nitty-gritty of how that works
10:59
and look it is the norm basically almost
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without exception with a few outlier
11:05
exceptions almost anyone who ended up in
11:07
the presidency these the type of people
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who would come in and it’s by partisan I
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mean the same ideology the same monetary
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interest pervades both parties we saw it
11:17
with the Afghanistan peace that we
11:19
covered yesterday the amount of support
11:21
in Congress bipartisan support to
11:24
prevent the president from drawing down
11:26
troops in Afghanistan a place that we
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have been for years and years and years
11:30
and where American lives are still being
11:32
put at risk for what for what this piece
11:37
really lays out like the internal
11:39
details of how exactly that girl highly
11:41
recommend everybody read it and I’m
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looking forward to your raid our next
11:44
crystal

Trump Campaign Secretly Paying $180,000 A Year To His Sons’ Significant Others

Lara Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle are each receiving $15,000 per month through the campaign manager’s private company, GOP sources said, to dodge FEC rules.

President Donald Trump’s campaign is secretly paying one Trump son’s wife and another one’s girlfriend $180,000 a year each through the campaign manager’s private company, according to top Republicans with knowledge of the payments.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of eldest son Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump, wife of middle son Eric Trump, are each receiving $15,000 a month, according to two GOP sources who are informal White House advisers and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

They were unsure when the payments began but say they are being made by campaign manager Bradley Parscale through his company rather than directly by either the campaign or the party in order to avoid public reporting requirements.

I can pay them however I want to pay them,” Parscale told HuffPost on Friday, but then declined to comment any further.

Critics of the arrangement, including Republicans, said the setup was designed to get around Federal Election Commission rules that require campaigns, political parties and other committees to disclose their spending in detail.

A lot of people close to Donald Trump are getting rich off of his campaign,” said Paul Ryan, a campaign finance legal expert at the watchdog group Common Cause. “They don’t want donors to know that they’re getting rich. Because, at the end of the day, it’s donor money.”

Stuart Stevens, a top aide to 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign, was even more blunt: “That’s why Parscale has the job. He’s a money launderer, not a campaign manager.”

Lara Trump, 37, was a campaign “surrogate,” making appearances and conducting media interviews on behalf of her father-in-law, in the 2016 campaign and continues to participate in “Women for Trump” events as a 2020 campaign “senior adviser.” In early 2017, Parscale confirmed he had hired her to work for his company, which was, in turn, continuing to work for Trump’s campaign.

Guilfoyle, 51, has been accompanying Donald Trump Jr. to campaign events since they began dating two years ago. She had been a Fox News personality until she left the network in 2018. In January 2020, she was named chair of Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee used to solicit and distribute money to the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.

“She’s doing stuff, but she’s just like this silly cheerleader,” one of the White House advisers said of Guilfoyle. “She gets on these donor calls, and it’s ridiculous.”

The existence of the payments, but not the amounts, was first reported by The New York Times, which recounted a scene in which Guilfoyle confronted Parscale about why her payment checks were always late and Parscale responded that he would look into it. That incident took place June 18, 2019, at a Trump reelection rally in Orlando, Florida, suggesting that payments to Guilfoyle had been taking place for some time.

FEC rules require that campaigns, political parties and other committees disclose all expenditures, including payments to employees. But the Trump campaign and the RNC have been getting around it by routing many of their payments through Pascale’s private companies.

In all, Parscale’s firms ― Giles-Parscale and Parscale Strategy LLC ― have been paid $38.9 million by Trump’s campaign, the RNC, joint fundraising committees and a pro-Trump super PAC between the day Trump took office through February 2020, according to the latest filings available.

Numerous RNC officials and members did not respond to HuffPost queries about the arrangement. One who did, Arizona committee member Bruce Ash, wrote: “Drop dead!”

Trump funneling donor money into his children’s households builds on his practice of funneling it into his own pocket, which began in 2016, right after he became the presumptive Republican nominee and began raising large amounts of GOP money. Trump immediately quintupled the rent he was charging his campaign at Trump Tower, from $35,458 per month to $169,758. He also began billing the campaign five- and six-figure sums for use of his hotels and golf courses for hosting fundraisers.

Those practices continued after his election and through to this day. His campaign still pays Trump Tower $37,542 a month in rent, even though it is based in a high-rise office building in Arlington, Virginia. The campaign and the RNC continue to host fundraisers at Trump’s properties, putting hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time into his own cash registers.

All of those entities are owned by the Trump Organization, which in turn is owned by a trust that Trump created after his election and of which he is the sole beneficiary.

Grift and graft is the family business,” said Robert Weissman, president of the liberal group Public Citizen.

The payments to Guilfoyle and Lara Trump may also complicate the Trump campaign’s efforts to attack presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden for accepting lucrative board memberships when his father was vice president.

Trump and his top aides in 2018 saw Joe Biden as the most dangerous threat to his reelection among the Democrats in the primary field and sought to damage his candidacy by raising questions about his son’s business activities. Indeed, Trump wound up getting impeached for trying to coerce the president of Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Hunter Biden, using $391 million in congressionally approved military aid as leverage.

Even some of the Republican senators who voted to acquit him said that what Trump did was wrong and illegal but not bad enough to warrant his removal from office.

Trumpism Is Bad for Business

It’s hard to make plans when the rules keep changing.

With each passing week it becomes ever clearer that Donald Trump’s trade war, far from being “good, and easy to win,” is damaging large parts of the U.S. economy.

  • Farmers are facing financial disaster; manufacturing, which Trump’s policies were supposed to revive, is contracting;
  • consumer confidence is plunging, largely because the public (rightly) fears that tariffs will raise prices.

But Trump has an answer to his critics: It’s not me, it’s you. Last week he declared that businesses claiming to have been hurt by his tariffs should blame themselves, because they’re “badly run and weak.”

As with many Trump statements, one immediate thought that comes to mind is, how would Republicans have reacted if a Democratic president said something like that? In this case, however, we don’t have to speculate.

As some readers may recall, back in 2012 Barack Obama made the obvious and true point that businesses depend on public investments in things like roads and education as well as on their own efforts. Referring to those public investments, he said, “You didn’t build that.” The usual suspects pounced, taking the line out of context and claiming that he was disrespecting entrepreneurs; Mitt Romney made this claim a centerpiece of his presidential campaign.

Attacks on Obama as being anti-business were, of course, made in bad faith. Trump, however, really is denouncing businesses and blaming them for the problems his policies have created. And tariffs aren’t the only policy area where Trump and American business are now at odds.

Some of Trump’s most consequential actions involve his frantic efforts to dismantle environmental regulation. Unlike tariffs, this may at first sound like something business would want.

It turns out, however, that many businesses want to keep those regulations in place. Major oil and gas producers oppose Trump’s relaxation of rules on emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Major auto producers have come out against Trump’s attempt to roll back fuel efficiency standards. In fact, in a move that has reportedly enraged Trump, several companies have reached an agreement with the state of California to stick with Obama-era rules despite the change in federal policy.

When Trump won his upset victory in 2016, many investors assumed that his rule would be good for business. And he did indeed give corporations a huge tax cut — which has almost entirely been used for higher dividends and stock buybacks, with workers getting essentially nothing.

Aside from the tax cut, however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Trumpism is bad for business. Or more precisely, it’s bad for productive business.

Imagine yourself as the head of a business that plans and expects to be around for a long time. Sure, you’d like to pay less in taxes and not have to comply with costly regulations. But you also want to invest in your company’s future. And to do that, you need some assurance that the rules of the game will be stable, so that whatever investments you make now aren’t suddenly made worthless by future shifts in policy.

The big complaint business has about Trump’s trade war isn’t just that tariffs raise costs and prices, while foreign retaliation is cutting off access to important markets. It is that businesses can’t make plans when policy zigzags in response to the president’s whims. They don’t want to invest in anything that relies on a global supply chain, because that supply chain might unravel with Trump’s next tweet. But they can’t invest on the assumption that Trump’s tariffs will be permanent, either; you never know when or whether he’ll declare victory and surrender.

Environmental policy, it turns out, is similar. Business leaders aren’t do-gooders, but they are realists. Most of them understand that climate change is happening, that it’s dangerous, and that we’ll eventually have to transition to a low-emissions economy. They want to spend now to secure their place in that future economy; they know that investments that worsen climate change are bound to be long-run losers. But they’ll hold off on investing in our energy future as long as conspiracy theorists who consider global warming a gigantic hoax — and/or vindictive politicians determined to erase Obama’s achievements — keep rewriting the rules.

To be fair, however, some kinds of business do thrive under Trumpism — namely, businesses that aren’t in it for the long run, operations whose strategy is to take the money and run. These are good times for

  • mining companies that rush in to extract whatever they can, leaving a poisoned landscape behind; for
  • real estate speculators sponsoring dubious ventures that take advantage of newly created tax loopholes;
  • for for-profit colleges that leave their students with worthless degrees and crippling debt.

In other words, under Trump it’s springtime for grifters.

But to say the obvious, these smash-and-grab operations aren’t the kinds of business we want to thrive. Put it this way: Remaking the U.S. economy in the image of Trump University isn’t exactly making America great again.

Tucker Carlson Mis-Quotes Robert Putnum (Cherry Picked Quotes)

At Politicon, Tucker Carlson cited:

2007 Robert Putnam:

Ethnic diversity is increasing in most advanced countries, driven mostly by sharp increases in immigration. In the long run immigration and diversity are likely to have important cultural, economic, fiscal, and developmental benefits. In the short run, however, immigration and ethnic diversity tend to reduce social solidarity and social capital. New evidence from the US suggests that in ethnically diverse neighbourhoods residents of all races tend to ‘hunker down’. Trust (even of one’s own race) is lower, altruism and community cooperation rarer, friends fewer. In the long run, however, successful immigrant societies have overcome such fragmentation by creating new, cross‐cutting forms of social solidarity and more encompassing identities. Illustrations of becoming comfortable with diversity are drawn from the US military, religious institutions, and earlier waves of American immigration.

First came the scams. Then came the films and shows about the scams

From Elizabeth Holmes to Fyre Festival, the stories of grifters prove compelling

THERE ARE plenty of words in English for tricking people out of their money. You can scam, hustle, bilk, gyp, flimflam, swindle, swizzle, fleece and finagle. Those who do so are grifters, con artists, hucksters, charlatans, hustlers or fraudsters. Such figures are something of a staple in popular culture: think of the champagne-chicanery of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby; Frank Abagnale, Leonardo DiCaprio’s charismatic con-man in “Catch Me if You Can”; or the glitzy characters in “American Hustle”. They are not ordinary villains, causing revulsion or fear. In being able to make a fortune using little more than their wits, they become attractive, almost awe-inspiring. In both fiction and real life, scammers sell.

Putting the Roger Stone Indictment in Context

Stone is hardly a Bond villain come to life, but the allegations against him are one part of a bigger picture that doesn’t reflect well on the Trump campaign.

.. I posited a different theory: The Trump campaign wasn’t a collection of criminal masterminds — would masterminds rely on the likes of Stone and Corsi to conduct international espionage? — but an ad-hoc mix of comically inept crooks and grifters who were seeking to gain any advantage they could and have spent the years since lying to cover their tracks.

.. The Stone indictment advances my theory considerably. He is not alleged to have established any kind of ongoing, close working relationship with Julian Assange. Instead, he used intermediaries to squeeze out bits and pieces of information from WikiLeaks. He allegedly shared some of that information with the campaign, and then — when the special counsel’s investigation started — appears to have engaged in some of the most inept lying and witness intimidation I’ve ever seen. He denied the existence of documents that he should have known investigators would possess, and his threats to witnesses were almost cartoonish. In one paragraph, the indictment alleges he referred to a plan inspired by the movie Godfather II. In another paragraph, the indictment alleges that he threatened a witness’s dog.

..A combination of special-counsel indictments, guilty pleas, and reproduced emails has now shown that, despite their insistent, repeated denials of contact with Russians, Trump-campaign officials (including the campaign chair and the candidate’s son and son-in-law) were eager to meet with Russians to obtain damaging information on Hillary Clinton, were asking Roger Stone to connect with WikiLeaks — a reputed Russian asset — for information about its data dumps, and shared polling data with another reputed Russian asset. What’s more, we now know that Trump’s real-estate business continued to discuss a significant development deal in Moscow with Russians (including a Kremlin official) deep into the 2016 campaign.

You can tell who Trump is through the company he keeps

what the trial reveals is something very damning, in the ethical if not legal sense: namely, what kind of people Trump surrounds himself with.

There was no secret about Manafort’s record as an influence-peddler on behalf of corrupt dictators and oligarchs when he went to work for Trump. On April 13, 2016, Bloomberg columnist Eli Lake wrote a prescient article headlined: “Trump Just Hired His Next Scandal.” Trump couldn’t have cared less. His whole career, he has surrounded himself with sleazy characters such as the Russian-born mob associate Felix Sater, who served prison time for assault and later pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges, as well as lawyer-cum-fixer Michael Cohen, who is reportedly under investigation for a variety of possible crimes, including tax fraud.

.. These are the kind of people Trump feels comfortable around, because this is the kind of person Trump is. He is, after all, the guy who paid $25 million to settle fraud charges against him from students of Trump University. The guy who arranged for payoffs to a Playboy playmate and a porn star with whom he had affairs. The guy who lies an average of 7.6 times a day.

.. And because everyone knows what kind of person Trump is, he attracts kindred souls. Manafort and Gates are only Exhibits A and B. There is also Exhibit C: Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), the first member of Congress to endorse Trump, is facing federal charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and false statements as part of an alleged insider-trading scheme. Exhibit D is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been accused by Forbes magazine, hardly an anti-Trump rag, of bilking business associates out of $120 million.

.. In fairness, not all of Trump’s associates are grifters. Some are simply wealthy dilettantes like Trump himself

.. Among the affluent and unqualified appointees Trump has set loose on the world are his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his former lawyer, Jason Greenblatt, who are somehow supposed to solve an Israeli-Palestinian dispute that has frustrated seasoned diplomats for decades. No surprise: Their vaunted peace plan remains MIA.

.. ProPublica has a mind-boggling scoop about another group of dilettantes — a Palm Beach doctor, an entertainment mogul, and a lawyer — whom Trump tasked as an informal board of directors to oversee the Department of Veterans Affairs. None has any experience in the U.S. military or government; their chief qualification was that they are all members of Trump’s golf club, Mar-a-Lago. 

.. Beyond the swindlers and dilettantes, there is a third group of people who have no business working for Trump or any other president: the fanatics. The most prominent of the extremists was Stephen K. Bannon, the notorious “alt-right” leader who was chief executive of Trump’s campaign and a senior White House aide. He may be gone, but others remain. They include Peter Navarro, who may well be the only economist in the world who thinks trade wars are a good thing; Stephen Miller, the nativist who was behind plans to lock immigrant children in cages and bar Muslims from entering the United States, and who is now plotting to reduce legal immigration; and Fred Fleitz, the Islamophobic chief of staff of the National Security Council. They feel at home in the White House because, aside from being a grifter and a dilettante, Trump is also an extremist with a long history of racist, sexist, nativist, protectionist and isolationist utterances