Tag Archives: conflict of interest

Trump’s rose goes to appellate court judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

“Dear Leader” in his reality TV show “Supreme Court Nominee” rose ceremony gave his rose to a white male Washington “swamp” insider,  District of Columbia Court of Appeals Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a man who is on record having said the words that Donald Trump most wants to hear: in 2009 Kavanaugh said indicting a sitting president “would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national-security crisis,” and later wrote that “Congress should pass laws that would protect a president from civil and criminal lawsuits until they are out of office.”

In other words, Trump is putting his thumb on the scales of justice to protect himself from the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation, an obvious conflict of interest that undermines the legitimacy of the Supreme Court. Has Trump extracted a loyalty oath from Judge Kavanaugh?

No senator should enable this. Period.

The Los Angeles Times has a good backgrounder on Judge Kavanagh. Brett Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran, has inside track to a Supreme Court nomination:

Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh, a Washington veteran with a reliably conservative record, has the inside track for the Supreme Court nomination to be announced Monday evening by President Trump.

The federal appeals court judge, 53, has lived and worked nearly his entire career in Washington, including in past Republican administrations, and he is well-known and respected by the conservative lawyers in the Federalist Society and in the White House counsel’s office.

But some activists on the right have rallied against him, citing his close ties to the Republican establishment and several court rulings that they believe did not go far enough in a conservative direction. [Will they fall silent now?]

Kavanaugh is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, making him the only finalist for the nomination with an Ivy League education. Last year, Trump said he was drawn to his first appointee, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, because he had degrees from Columbia, Harvard and Oxford.

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Trump’s nomination of an associate justice is a conflict of interest

Donald Trump, in a disgusting degradation of our constitutional form of government, has once again turned the selection of an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court into a reality TV show version of The Bachelor: to whom will he give his rose? Trump Wants Suspense Before Another Reality-Show Reveal:

Trump is determined to keep the world in suspense about this fateful decision before revealing it Monday night on live TV in an approximation of the reality-show format he mastered long before running for president. It is, after all, what he did in naming his first SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in 2017.

Of course, the media is playing along with this by writing numerous speculative pieces about the judges on “the list” from which Trump committed to using from the far-right Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Enough! Don’t play this fool’s game.

The only thing the media should be focused on is “Should a sitting president under investigation for possibly criminal acts be able to appoint the person who will sit in judgment of those acts?” And possibly be the decisive vote, putting Trump’s thumb on the scales of justice?

The answer clearly is “No.” Especially with a president noted for demanding personal loyalty oaths.

Paul Schiff Berman, a professor at George Washington University Law School, writes A Better Reason to Delay Kennedy’s Replacement:

[T]here is another reason to withhold confirmation that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on: People under the cloud of investigation do not get to pick the judges who may preside over their cases. By this logic, President Trump should not be permitted to appoint a new Supreme Court justice until after the special counsel investigation is over, and we know for sure whether there is evidence of wrongdoing.

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Office of Government Ethics: Kellyanne Conway violated ethics rules

White House adviser Kellyanne Conway’s public endorsement of Ivanka Trump’s product line on Fox News appears to be “a clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position,” and she should be disciplined, the federal government’s chief ethics watchdog wrote this week in a letter to the White House. Ethics Watchdog Denounces Conway’s Endorsement of Ivanka Trump Products:

On Thursday, Ms. Conway, whose title is counselor to the president, gave an interview to Fox News from the White House briefing room, with the White House insignia visible behind her, defending the president and his daughter.

Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say,” she said. “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.”

Federal ethics rules on conflicts of interest specifically exempt the president and vice president. But for any other executive branch employee, the rules prohibit using public office for personal gain, or “for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”

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Filling the swamp: a preview of things to come

cartoon_40President-elect Donald Trump has been stocking his cabinet with millionaire and billionaire Plutocrats whose conflicts of interest rival his own still undisclosed, and unresolved conflicts of interests. Donald Trump’s Conflict-Of-Interest Network (COIN) – Otherwise Known As His Cabinet.

The contemptible former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, proposed a novel solution to this inconvenient problem last month: Congress should change ethics laws for Trump: “Newt Gingrich has a take on how Donald Trump can keep from running afoul of U.S. ethics laws: Change the ethics laws.”

“We’ve never seen this kind of wealth in the White House, and so traditional rules don’t work,” he said.

“We’re going to have to think up a whole new approach.”

As for Trump’s conflicted cabinet, Newt Gingrich suggests Trump pardon advisers who break the law:

Gingrich said on The Diane Rehm Show: “In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon.”

“It is a totally open power, and he could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period.’ Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority,” he said, according to Politico.

Taking a cue from the contemptible Newt Gingrich, the  Tea-Pulican Congress yesterday, With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office:

House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office set up in 2008 in the aftermath of corruption scandals that sent three members of Congress to jail.

The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday, when Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that the House Republican Conference had approved the change. There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.

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Donald Trump’s multiple conflicts-of-interest and the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution

President-elect Donald Trump has canceled his planned Dec. 15 address set to explain how he would address his business conflicts of interest prior to assuming the White House, a senior transition source told NBC News. Trump Pushes Back Announcement on Business Conflicts of Interest:

The news of the cancellation was first reported by Bloomberg Monday evening, with Trump transition officials telling the publication that there is no date for the announcement, but it will be prior to his inauguration on Jan. 20.

Late Monday, Trump tweeted that he would be “leaving my busineses (sic) before January 20th” so he could “focus full time on the presidency.”

He added that “Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.”

Legal experts have noted that Trump’s sprawling business interests make him the most conflict-of-interest-prone president in modern history. He controls more than 500 companies across many industries and spanning the globe.

In fact, Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal editorialized that the only solution for Trump to avoid any conflicts of interest was to liquidate his stake in his company.


As has been widely reported, Trump Could Be in Violation of the Constitution His First Day in Office. Norman Eiser, the former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic and a visiting fellow with the Governance Studies program at the Brookings Institution, and Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, was the chief White House ethics lawyer from 2005 to 2007, write:

With the recent news that two Republican electors are refusing to vote for Donald Trump, we have been inundated with inquiries asking whether other electors should decline to select Trump because of a particular constitutional issue. It’s one we worked on when we were advising Presidents Bush and Obama, respectively: the Emoluments Clause.

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