“If you’re defending Republican values, you can’t actually be corrupt—even if you’re using federal employees and property for political purposes, even if many of your aides and close associates have been convicted of crimes.”Peter Beinart commenting on GOP’s ethics
Last week I wrote about a few of the miscreants inhabiting the Trump Swamp. I discussed Price, Flynn, Lewandowski and Pruitt. With Trump considering pardoning a cast of thousands, it would be good to look at a few more of the crocs inhabiting his swamp before they are all gone from our sight, thank goodness.
My only problem is that there are just so many from which to choose. So many crooks and con artists, so little words in this column. But here goes:
- Steve Bannon – One of Trump’s main advisors, the Department of Justice Southern District of New York (SDNY) prosecutors allege that he “received over $1M from the ‘We Build the Wall’ online campaign, at least some of which he used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in [his] personal expenses.” He’s out on bond after being arrested in August, sunning on the private yacht of a Chinese tycoon no less, just like any good “patriot” would do.
- Paul Manafort – Former Chair of Trump’s Presidential campaign, he was convicted of tax and bank fraud, witness tampering and conspiracy to defraud the USA. Then, he violated his plea deal by misleading investigators. He was sentenced to prison for 90 months. In a total miscarriage of justice, he somehow managed to be let out and sent home due to the COVID pandemic. I will bet that tens of thousands of elderly low-income prisoners would like that deal. Too bad they don’t have high-priced attorneys and top-level government contacts.
- Roger Stone – Known swinger Roger was known for his dirty deeds over the decades, allegedly working with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks to sully Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. He is widely known for promoting conspiracy theories and being pals with the Proud Boys, which must have endeared him to Trump whom he has known for decades. In Nov. 2019, Stone was sentenced to prison for obstruction, making false statements, and witness tampering. But he never served a day; good buddy Trump commuted his sentence.
- *Ryan Zinke- He was appointed Trump’s Secretary of the Interior. As any good steward of public lands would do, he quickly moved to dismantle needed regulations which protected public lands and wildlife. He also proposed reducing funding for the Land and Conservation Fund from $425 million to $8 million. He advocated opening vast portions of national monuments (parks) to corporations in order to initiate coal, gas and mining on these lands. Right from the start, Zinke looked upon his exalted position as King of the Interior. He commandeered government planes and helicopters or chartered private planes rather than driving or flying commercially. The double doors to his office were upgraded, costing nearly $140,000. Finally, his indiscretions became so great that the Department’s Inspector General referred Zinke’s offenses to the Department of Justice to be investigated. He finally resigned in December 2018.
- Ben Carson – Dr. Ben Carson was once a respected neurosurgeon, but that’s not how he will be remembered by history. As Sec. of HUD, Carson will forever be remembered for wasting our tax money on a $31,000 dining set for his office. He denied knowing about it even after it became public that he and his wife had picked out the set.
- George Papadopoulos – Trump said of Papadopoulos “He’s an oil and energy consultant, excellent guy” and appointed him as one of his top foreign policy advisors. Papadopoulos convinced Trump to have him set up a meeting with Putin before the 2016 election. He is cited on pages 86-89 of the Mueller report as having been involved in dredging up “dirt” about Hillary Clinton through the Russians who would have her emails released anonymously. He lied to the FBI about meeting with Russian operatives and was jailed for it.
Trump has repeatedly indicated that his administration will go down in history. We should all agree with that statement. It will surely go down in infamy for encouraging an unprecedented level of beltway corruption, among other negatives. At some point I will be following up this column with more of Trump rogue’s gallery, possibly including Chen; Gates; Chao; Sessions; Barr and others.
Image Credit: the photo presumed to be Donald Trump under the swamp water is one of those photos that has been used without attribution or as a free download so many times, we just don't know who created. Should we find out proper attribution, we would, of course, give attribution, attempt to license or take down.