US Political Discussion: Trump Administration Edition (Rules in OP)

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by mongey, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Well, there are a couple problems with this.

    It's ok for countries to have preferences for how our elections go, and in Clinton vs Trump I don't think it's at all surprising that most of the world preferred Trump - Clinton was an advocate for more open international trade, for bolstering international institutions like the UN, NATO, the World Bank and IMF, etc. Meanwhile, Trump was an "America First!" isolationist, who suggested disbanding NATO, hinted he wasn't too fond of the UN either, wanted to blow up multilateral trade deals like NATO and multilateral agreements like the Paris Climate Accords, advocated banning Muslims and building a southern border wall to keep Mexicans out of the country, and even in his campaign had some pretty clear authoritarian and racist instincts. To the rest of the world, Clinton was one of them, whereas Trump was a drunken frat boy with a molotov cocktail. Of course they had preferences for Clinton.

    What ISN'T ok, however, is for those preferences to extend into monetary or in-kind contributions to a campaign, not because that's a violation of some international code of conduct, but because that's a violation of US campaign law. You said "Hillary received funds from Saudi Arabia." No, she didn't - the Clinton Foundation, a registered nonprofit, received funds from Saudi Arabia to help fund some of their charitable initiatives, and Hillary herself did not receive campaign contributions from the Saudis or the Clinton Foundation. As a registered charity the Foundation publishes their financials so you can verify that yourself that Hillary herself or her campaign were not the end beneficiaries of these payments. A whole lot of other people have donated to the Clinton Foundation - as a wealthy New Yorker, I wouldn't be surprised if Trump himself had made donations in the past.

    US campaign law is clear that no candidate can solicit or receive either money or "anything of value" from a foreign nation. If Russia had been secretly providing intel to the Trump camp, that would have fallen afoul of federal election law. If they had been doing so in return for specific governmental consideration - say, for Trump removing a condemnation of Russia for the annexation of Ukraine from the GOP platform, or for a promise to reverse Obama-era sanctions once they entered office, that escalates from campaign finance violations to probable treason, selling out US foreign policy for personal gain.

    So, the issue here wasn't whether foreign countries were rooting for Clinton or Trump, but rather whether that ever got to the point where it broke federal campaign finance law. And in the case of Trump, we know in a number of other situations he did do so - the Daniels and McDougal stories were bought and killed for poltical reasons so they represent in-kind campaign donations that were not disclosed. Likewise, Trump used Trump Foundation funds at campaign events on numerous occasions, which was a breach of both campaign finance law (since, again, they were not disclosed), as well as self-dealing which is illegal under NY charitable law, which is a large part of the reason the Trump Foundation is now being wound down under court supervision. There's also the matter of Trump, addressing British Parliament as a candidate, suggested to all the MPs that they go to his website and donate to his campaign, which is a stark violation of campaign law too.

    So, to your first point, it's ok to root, it's NOT ok to make contributions and violate US finance law, and if that were to occur that's the candidate breaking the law and not the foreign nation.

    Second, about Democrats and Republicans fighting... Sure, that's always going to happen. But they didn't indict 13 Russian agents because they started a fight, they indicted them for doing everything they could to inflame those fights. Look at it this way - if you light a wood fire in your fireplace, yeah, it's gonna burn.... But, if someone throws twenty gallons of gasoline in the fireplace and it explodes and burns your house down, then I think there's clearly a lot more culpability on the dude with the gasoline than on you lighting the fire in the first place, you know?



    Idunno. Tl;dr - We already know Trump has made repeated campaign finance law violations. It wouldn't have been out of character at all if it came out that his interactions with Russia had also fallen afoul of campaign finance law. However, Mueller failed to prove that he had beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
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  2. Ralyks

    Ralyks The One Who Knocks Contributor

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    Drew, were you a Poli-Sci major or something? You seem to have the most concise answers to everything on this topic and seem to see both sides.
     
  3. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    WHAT? See both sides? He's still convinced Trump is a Russian agent!

    But there are still people that believe Obama is a Kenyan muslim who's wife is a man.
     
  4. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    Where does he say that he believes that Trump is a Russian agent?
     
  5. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Literature, actually, and I now work as a financial analyst. I just follow politics very closely (it's both a blood sport, and something that can have a huge impact on what I do for a living), and I guess the narrative aspects of what I did in college and what I do today sort of encourage seeking a nuanced understanding of the drivers of what's going on. I joke in client meetings when politics come up that I don't get paid to be be a liberal or conservative, I get paid to be right.

    Though, that? Concise? :lol:
     
  6. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    Holy motherfuckin’ macaroni, what a line... I bet that’s a panty dropper. I’m stealing it.
     
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  7. MFB

    MFB ExBendable

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    He's more ladykiller than panty dropper, but you might be able to get it to work
     
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  8. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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    I see what you did there...
     
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  9. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Did you hear, I'm ....untouchable?
     
  10. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    [​IMG]
     
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  11. 777timesgod

    777timesgod Stop reading this...I said stop!

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    Nowhere in my post do I suggest that Trump is not colluding with foreign powers and that if he does it is ethical. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of his political opponents in making it a big deal, when they are guilty as well of the same crime. All citizens should demand that their leaders are free from foreign influence, its not gonna happen but we should not stop fighting for it.

    Seriously, the Clinton foundation does not have anything to do with Hillary? Money going into it are spend without her consent or knowledge? She was even in the board for a long time. She personally knows all the people who run it and they have her best interests in mind which is not unreasonable of course.

    I did not imply that she rounds up funds and spends it on her campaigns but the charity done by that organization is on her name and reflects on her positively. Being a politician, this means more votes, you are trying to downplay it to reinforce your candidate of choice here. However, the policies of Saudi Arabia come in contract with the entire liberal rhetoric and claiming that this funding is innocent, is pretentious to say the least. No wonder your side lost, like I said, to a reality TV star who refuses to denounce racism in Charlotte (and other places) and says obscene things on a daily basis while changing his mind on international decisions on a whim.
    Yes, its a charity but you would be surprised how many NGOs and charities are business like entities involved in politics, power play and much nefarious work. A local example in my country is USAID, who are neck deep in political party influence. Giving money to people goes a long way to having them on your side.

    On the matter of Trump receiving intel from the Russians, I am 100% with you that if the proper evidence comes out, an impeachment must happen even on the eve of the next election as dictated by law.But it is not going to happen and I kept telling people this from day 1 of his presidency. It is difficult to push for someone's impeachment on a matter that your side is guilty off in the past in will be in the future again. The republicans will remember the humiliation and retaliate when they find the chance, the democrats do not want this. Lastly on this, a foreign politician who has a position of power "rooting" for you may be legal but it is unethical and does provide influence to the local voter. Many Americans who may have considered Trump, being disillusioned with Hillary were frightened by the international backlash (caused as you said correctly by Trump himself) and did not go to vote. A country's election is its own business and this must be respected but I am just stating that it will never be.

    Hillary checked foreign dignitaries for dirt as do all candidates in elections, but Trump not being in politics did not provide with enough material there and she stuck to his past statements on women/race and tax evading accusations, which was logical. This backfired though, as his voters though that his sexist remarks made him more average-bloke like and fun, rather than Hillary's by the numbers way of talking. Regarding his tax evading, it reflected again badly on the government who were Democrats at the time, it brought the question of what are you doing to stop this from happening.

    To conclude, I am sure that Russians did throw gasoline in the fire of Democrat Vs. Republican but I would hardly put them on the top of the list of causes of division in the USA. Most can be traced in policies-local events-party fanaticism. Just my 2 cents.
     
  12. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Take a minute and a half and google how the Clinton Foundation spends its money.

    It's kind of a problem, rhetorically, to call out a specific organization, because a person associated with it by name is corrupt, especially if the greater point you are trying to make is that the person is corrupt because she is associated with that particular organization.

    I don't necessarily disagree with the conclusion, just the evidence presented to support it.
     
  13. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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  14. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    As a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation cannot spend money for the direct benefit of Hillary, Bill, their children, their business interests, any other board member, etc etc etc, and any indirect benefits have to be disclosed in a section about any potential conflicts of interest, to eliminate the possibility of secret self-dealing. So, yeah, the Saudis donating to the Clinton Foundation did not help Clinton's presidential campaign, because to do so would have broken nonprofit law.

    In other news, Bloomberg is reporting that Mueller's team prepared their own summary of the Mueller report for public release, and are not happy that Barr chose to write his own, downplaying the strength of the evidence against Trump, and adding in a conclusion that he had not obstructed justice.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...s-for-handling-mueller-report?srnd=markets-vp

    That's not a good look for Barr, or for Trump.
     
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  15. Thaeon

    Thaeon Professional Nerd

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    Completely agree. If you're looking for corruption in the Clinton camp or even the Democratic Party, you don't have to look far. There's evidence everywhere. But the Clinton Foundation is one of the least efficient ways of backing up the argument that Hilary was corrupt, and really lacks evidence other than association with individuals that work in the foundation. They do publish how they spend their money publicly. I get the argument being made, that foreign powers giving money to the organization can be seen as political influence. HOWEVER, it is not against the law, and Clinton doesn't see any political power come directly from that organization. I see the foundation as more of a bargaining chip. Something the Clintons can use to influence things outside the US as much as it allows influence in.
     
  16. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    It's also the reason that Clinton was suggesting she'd likely wind down the Clinton Foundation if she won, shortly before the election, to eliminate that conflict of interest (whether or not she would have followed through on that is of course an unknown). It's also the reason why Trump is being sued for potentially violating the emoluments clause, as foreign national spending at the Trump Hotel and at Mir a Lago has soared since he's been in office, as it's widely believed foreign nations are directing spending to Trump's properties (where he is still a beneficial owner) to curry favor.
     
  17. Thaeon

    Thaeon Professional Nerd

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    Yeah, I have a WAY bigger problem with foreign leaders being able to meet with Trump in a place privately owned by Trump. Especially, when those meetings are financially beneficial to him. I can't imagine why people aren't more up in arms about this.
     
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  18. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    On one hand, it's so flagrant - Trump doubled club membership fees after he won, and hiked hotel rates at the Trump DC location pretty significantly after the inauguration.

    On the other, there are so many OTHER scandals that it's tough to keep up, and this sort of plays into something his base likes about him - it may be rampant profiteering, but it just shows "he's a good businessman," even if it's flagrantly unconstitutional.

    I fully admit the Trump Organization would have been tough to wind down, but just require Trump to IPO the whole thing and have he and his family members beneficial interest fund the shares sold, in return for the cash raised in the IPO. It's not like this is a unique problem, you know?
     
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  19. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Also, I really don't want this to get lost under talk of the Trump Hotel, because this, IMO, is pretty huge:
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...s-for-handling-mueller-report?srnd=markets-vp

    That's potentially pretty damning - that as part of their report, the Mueller team had prepared summaries of key sections for public release, and presented pretty significant evidence of obstruction of justice. Barr then opted to write his own summary downplaying the evidence, and further concluded on his own that Trump had not obstructed justice.

    Kind of what I've been saying all along.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  20. jaxadam

    jaxadam SS.org Regular

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