Pro-Israel super PAC that tithed (and then some) at Mar-a-Lago in 2018 returns on Saturday
The American Pro–Israel PAC is holding a night of unity and peace to raise funds for itself on March 16 at Mar-a-Lago. This event will be at least the second fundraiser in the past five months “America’s only conservative pro-Israel PAC” has thrown at the president’s private club.
From its founding in September 2018 through the end of that year, APIP spent $38,871.77 at Mar-a-Lago, according to Federal Election Commission records. In total, last year it raised $237,660 and spent $173,825.43—meaning 16 percent of APIP’s income and 22 percent of its total disbursements went to Mar-a-Lago. It gave no money to campaigns or other PACs, although it did pay three of its board members a total of $45,000.
As for this weekend’s fundraiser, an inquiry to APIP asking how much it’s spending and why it decided to return to Mar-a-Lago was not answered. While access to details about the event on APIP’s website require a password, according to an invite posted on Instagram, Paula White-Cain and Jason Sullivan are the hosts. White-Cain is Trump’s personal pastor, delivered the invocation at his inauguration, and preaches the prosperity gospel. In May 2018, Robert Mueller subpoenaed Sullivan related to his work for Roger Stone.
Tables reportedly are still available, and there is a pastor/rabbi discount. Video from last year’s American Pro–Israel PAC’s fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago appears to show President Trump stopping by. For a recap of how the November 2018 event played out, read “God declares swamp drained at Mar-a-Lago super PAC fundraiser” by Lachlan Markay for The Daily Beast.
In D.C. to lobby GOP policymakers, Citizens for Responsible Energy hosts reception at Trump’s hotel
With a mission to “engage Republican policymakers and the public about commonsense, conservative solutions to address our nation’s need for reliable energy,” last night about 60 attendees of the Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions’ D.C. fly-in gathered at the president’s hotel for a reception.
Joining the group was Rep. David Rouzer (R–NC). He has argued that climate-change science can not be validated. His district includes parts of the North Carolina coast that have been damaged by hurricanes.
A CRES representative did not immediately reply to an inquiry about why the group chose to hold its reception at the Republican president’s hotel.
Democratic Reps had questions for T-Mobile’s CEO about his Trump Hotel D.C. bills
From “Democratic lawmakers rip into T-Mobile CEO over Trump hotel stays” by Brian Fung for The Washington Post:
Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday tore into a visibly uncomfortable John Legere, the chief executive of T-Mobile, over his decision to stay at President Trump’s hotel in Washington while his company seeks government approval for a $26 billion merger with Sprint…
Republican members needled Legere’s Democratic critics, accusing them of pursuing a non-substantive line of questioning.
“I have said I would never stay in a La Quinta again, and I have stayed at a La Quinta subsequently,” joked Florida Republican Matt Gaetz.
As 1100 Pennsylvania reported previously, Gaetz was at Mar-a-Lago last month and plugged his appearance on social media.
CNN: GSA claims decision not to relocate FBI HQ away from Trump Hotel D.C. was ‘effectively settled’ before White House meeting
From “GSA report to Congress downplays Trump's involvement in FBI HQ decision” by Gregory Wallace for CNN:
A new General Services Administration report obtained by CNN downplays the importance of a January 2018 Oval Office meeting to discuss the location of a new FBI headquarters in the decision to rebuild the headquarters in Washington rather than move it to a suburban location.
The document, which has been handed over to Congress, says the FBI and GSA’s decision to keep the FBI headquarters at its present address in downtown DC was “effectively settled” before a January 24, 2018 meeting with President Donald Trump. It was written by the GSA in response to questions from several Democratic chairman of House committees who had raised concerns about the decision.
The FBI’s current main office is diagonally across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Trump Hotel D.C. Moving it would free up that lot for redevelopment, possibly as a luxury hotel that would compete with the president’s business (the Trump Hotel D.C. promotes itself as downtown D.C.’s only five-star hotel). Last year, Democrats on the House Oversight committee alleged the president intervened in the General Services Administration decision-making process, when it reversed course and decided not to relocate FBI headquarters.
Rep. William Timmons (R–SC) chilled with the chair of the Greenville County [S.C.] Republican Party, Nate Leupp, and the former chair of the South Carolina GOP. Leupp stayed at the head of his party’s hotel too.
A congressional and foreign affairs specialist at the Department of Defense, Luiza Carter, enjoyed strong drinks and good company.
In town for the Credit Union National Association’s governmental affairs conference, “members of the board of directors of Sunbelt Federal Credit Union” went to the Trump Hotel D.C.
Assembled here are Sarah Selip of Shirley & Banister Public Affairs (for 30 years, it has “successfully represented think tanks, associations, public policy organizations, political candidates, political action committees, corporations, book publishers, authors, and foreign governments”); Fox News pundit/Trump campaign advisor, Harlan Hill; former Breitbart News London editor and advisor to Nigel Farage, Raheem Kassam; and The Daily Caller’s White House correspondent, Amber Athey. “#MAGA”.
Other Trump Organization news
“The ‘costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!’ Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter -regarding Boeing’s program to build new Air Force One planes] a month after winning the election but before he took office. A couple of weeks later, [Boeing chief] Mr. Muilenburg visited Mr. Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla., to try to smooth things over.” By Keith Bradsher, Kenneth P. Vogel and Zach Wichter for The New York Times.
General Services Administration head, Emily Murphy, is testifying this morning before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. She’s likely to be asked about the Trump Hotel D.C. lease and the decision not to relocate the FBIs headquarters. Watch it live.
“Trump-linked massage parlor owner hawked ‘golden visas’” by Josh Kovensky for Talking Points Memo
The president appeared to respond to New York state’s investigations of his businesses and foundation.
House investigations, current status (latest changes, March 11, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24. On March 1, chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said that the bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Judiciary—On March 4, the committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel. Among the individuals the committee is requesting documents from are Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.; EVP Eric Trump; EVP and COO Michael Calamari; CFO Alan Weisselberg; EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten; Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon; longtime Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff; former Trump advisor Felix Sater; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; and Trump associate and inaugural chair, Tom Barrack. Barrack said he will cooperate.
Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank. On Feb. 28, an aide said the panel expects to interview Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. During testimony on March 6, Michael Cohen turned over documents that allegedly show how Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, edited Cohen’s statement regarding Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen later read this revised statement before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, is scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 14. Schiff hired a veteran prosecutor experienced with combating Russian organized crime to lead this investigation.
Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing White House attorney Stefan Passantino and long-time Trump personal attorney Sheri Dillon provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” As a result, Cummings wants to depose both Passantino and Dillon; the White House, however, rejected Cummings’ request to interview Passantino. And on Feb. 27, Cohen testified to the committee about those payments and other Trump Organization business practices, which could lead to the committee requesting the president’s tax returns and allegations of possible insurance fraud. The next day, House Democrats signaled they would seek testimony from Trump Organization officials whom Cohen alleged were implicated, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and CFO Allen Weisselberg. On March 6, Cummings requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C.
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans. Titus is hiring additional staffers to handle the investigation. On March 6, Titus requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate the FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C.
Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, March 6, 2019)
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for March 19. The AGs filed their brief opposing the president’s appeal on Feb. 6, stating, “The President is not entitled to an order requiring the district court to certify for interlocutory review its denial of his motion to dismiss. No court has ever issued such relief.” Trump’s DOJ attorneys replied on Feb. 21: “Plaintiffs fundamentally err, substantively and procedurally.”
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
196 Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Donald Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. A briefing schedule was set on March 5 with Cork’s brief due on April 15, the president’s brief due on May 15, and Cork’s reply to the president’s brief due on June 5.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
“Frequent trips to the bathroom at night cost the global economy billions of dollars” by Chase Purdy for Quartz
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