Familial Ties and Political Triage: The Russian Meeting Highlights The True Cost Of Nepotism

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedEric Trump once dismissed objections to his father’s use of nepotism by saying that “nepotism is kind of a fact of life.”  That is true. It is also a part of presidential history, but it is not a good part.  I have long been a critic of nepotism in government.  What is interesting is how costly the practice can be.  The current controversy involving Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner are illustrative of those costs.  Absent the family connection, neither Trump Jr. nor Kushner would likely have been able to avoid a separation from the White House (as was the case with Manafort and Flynn).  Instead, Trump has had to double down and his defenders belittle the fact that Donald Jr. not only took the bait of this meeting but said that he would “love” to get information directly from the Russian government to help in the election.  As I stated this weekend on NPR, while the collusion was not successful, there was clearly as willingness, if not an eagerness, to collude with the Russians in their seeking to influence the presidential election.

Below is my column in USA Today on the subject:

The perils of nepotism have been captured in President Trump’sresponses to his son and son-in-law eagerly attending a meeting that they believed was a Russian government lawyer bringing dirt on Hillary Clinton directly from the Russian government. Former national security adviser Michael Flynn and short-lived campaign manager Paul Manafort were shown the door over far less scandal — yet Trump declared of his relatives that “I think many people would have held that meeting.”

He called Donald Trump Jr. a “high quality person” who did nothing wrong, or even unwise. He added in his Paris press conference, “Politics is not the nicest business in the world, but it’s very standard.” Now NBC News reports that a former Soviet counterintelligence officer was also in the meeting. Does the president have any choice but to continue to defend his relatives?

With his comments to date, Trump has assumed the costs directly for their actions. And that is the real cost of nepotism. It reduces the range of motion in dealing with scandals. There is no option for political triage when family is on the line.

Jared Kushner came into the government as a senior adviser and “secretary of everything” through an act of nepotism. With his wife, Trump’s daughter Ivanka, he was given a high-ranking position based first and foremost on his familial relationship with the president. Federal bans on nepotism do not extend to the White House staff. Accordingly, Kushner’s appointment is perfectly legal. It is not, however, ethical or beneficial for the administration.

The term nepotism comes from the Latin root for nephew. Its origins are traced to the Middle Ages practice of Catholic popes giving high-ranking religious positions to their nephews. Nepotism became not the exception but the rule in religious appointments. It was eventually denounced as unethical and unwise. Nepotism elevates loyalty over capability. The “nephews” not only tended to do poor jobs, their scandals had a greater impact on their sponsors.

Trump does not stand out in his embrace of nepotism in the White House. John Adams, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford Hayes, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and others appointed relatives to high positions. Their failures often heightened the vulnerability of these presidents. Consider Ulysses S. Grant. Grant’s administration reportedly employed dozens of his relatives. He then used his pardon power to benefit family members. One brother-in-law, James F. Casey, stole property from the New Orleans Customs Office but was still reappointed by Grant as collector of customs. Another brother-in-law, Abel R. Corbin, was accused of involvement in a bribery scheme. Yet another brother-in-law, Frederick Dent, made money by selling insider information as an usher. Grant’s reliance on ethically challenged relatives resulted in a scandal-plagued administration that forever tarnished his legacy. Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner described Grant’s administration as exhibiting “a dropsical nepotism swollen to elephantiasis.”

By Grant’s standard, Kushner’s appointment and performance in office are stellar. However, everything in nepotism is … well … relative. Kushner’s effort to use Russian diplomatic resources to create a “back channel” for communications with Moscow was as stunning as it was stupid. His meeting with with Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, was equally radioactive. The bank was the subject of U.S. sanctions and Gorkov’s resume includes a degree from the Academy of the Federal Security Service, the Russian spy school.

His failure to recall the meeting with the Russian lawyer is legitimately suspect, particularly when he was copied on emails that promised damaging information directly from the Russian government to help Trump win the election.

The Russian scandal shows that the real danger is not any imminent threat of criminal charges, but the familiar grind of nepotism on an administration. When Trump Jr. got into trouble as part of his position in the Trump campaign, Trump had to give his absolute support to his “high-quality” son. At best, his son had fallen for a bait-and-switch that made his team look like colossal chumps. However, you cannot distance yourself from your own blood.

Similarly, Kushner is not some aide, like Flynn, who can be simply sent home after a short but dismal performance in office. That would make Thanksgiving dinner a tad awkward. So the president must keep him — and his failures — close.

Trump only had to look to his campaign nemesis to understand the perils of nepotism. Bill Clinton (over the advice of many) appointed his wife to head his Health Care Task Force. A federal appeals court in Association of American Physicians and Surgeons v. Clinton found that Hillary Clinton was a “de facto” officer of the White House and suggested that, if nepotism laws applied to the White House, her position would be a violation.

However, the biggest problem was that Bill Clinton gave opponents a major advantage. The failure of the first lady would be his failure — adding to the incentive to run the project into the ground. On top of that strategic blunder, Hillary Clinton by 1994 had become highly unpopular among Republicans. Had  the president selected a neutral leader to bridge the parties, he might have had a chance to secure real reforms.

While there is no compelling basis for prosecution on the current facts, Kushner could well be in legal jeopardy over the course of the unfolding federal and congressional investigations. Nepotism can have an impact on the legal defense strategy for the White House. Counsel cannot control or confine the damage if they cannot separate the president from a targeted official. You cannot cut off a target who is bound to the president by blood or marriage. That means the administration has limited options and has to double down when called out on the relationship — as the president did in Paris. That is the cost of nepotism, and those costs are only likely to grow with time.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

161 thoughts on “Familial Ties and Political Triage: The Russian Meeting Highlights The True Cost Of Nepotism”

  1. So what

    Democrats actually collude with many countries to influence elections. Ukraine? British? German?

    Not a crime and heres a giant tip……..NOBODY WHO VOTED FOR TRUMP, THE ELECTED PRESIDENT, GIVES A DAMN

      1. Minority? Minority of what ? SCOREBOARD
        Who did WE elect President?
        Trump voters are sick of this


    1. I understand it is said that you are in the extreme minority because of your support of Trump. That has to be an extemely foolish opinion for one to make because Trump won the election. Apparently some people boost up (or down) their numbers by using adjectives, but fail to take into account real people.

        1. Newsflash, 65 million people voted for Trump. He would win by an even larger amount now btw. A lot of people who didnt vote for him are saying they would vote for him today after all this BS

  2. The underlying assumption to this article is troubling, (to use the coin of the realm). It implies, if you are going to run a slimy administration in a slimy hostile environment, best not put your friends or relatives in high places as it makes it more difficult to pin the blame on them when things go wrong

  3. I think much of the Trump criticism is partisan point scoring and the media chasing ratings. But this criticism of Trump seems valid to me. An effective executive has to be willing to fire people who aren’t performing well. Giving power to family members makes that harder to do.

    1. Scott, also not instantly genuflecting to the MSM at any transgression they deem unseemly is a worthwhile endeavor as well.
      Where were they when the masses got hosed by the housing crisis. Did Obama ever mention how well Wall St. was doing during his State of The Union Addresses?
      I think just once, his last. The DOW hit new records every year while he was in office, Where was the windfalls for the average citizen?
      Just curious.
      Regardless of DNA connections or not the story remains the same and the MSM doesn’t acknowledge what they keep exposing which is actually the way Washington works.
      Trump has just by example, wether inept PR strategy failures, blunders etc. or total indifference, brought to the center stage how collusion, corruption and influence peddling in Washington occurs.
      They just don’t like him and were willing to let their worship of HRC blind them.
      Obama did it totally unfettered and in secret for years.

    2. You are righ tabout the media chasing the ratings.

      If George Washington was friends with or had a familial tie to, should he have had Jefferson and Adams at his side? Yes, is the answer. Could that have made things difficult? Yes again is the answer. Would it have been worth it? Yes. Same with Jared Kushner though he hasn’t yet proven himself and nor has the President. Time will tell.

  4. Summation…. Where’s the crime?

    Can the left explain why they have time to waste on nothing except to obstruct the workings of a government in which they have, by choice, no part? Not only lost the election, but refuse to take up their duties as except to make fools of themselves,

    No matter how hard they try to prove something called collusion it adds up to zero. Where’s the crime?
    In fact there is a crime being committed.

    The only crime is obstruction of the people’s business and refusal to do their duty and represent their constitutents/

    For some in and out of Congress this is living proof of Mark Twain’s (Samuel Clemens) second best quote on the subject.”

    ‘Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself’.”

    First Best

    “There is no distinctly American criminal class – except Congress.”

    In both cases one may ‘fairly’ substitute Democrat for Congress but must include the right wing of the DNC also known as RINOs

    Think about it? That means we did not do enough to clean up on November 8th

    With the largest voting bloc and no need to target ‘the main enemy’ Hillary Clinton we cannow concentrate on the DNC and their RINO lapdogs. You want collusion I demand a real crime be prosecuted. Obstruction and violation of oath of office.

    1. How about the emoluments clause? How about the firing of the FBI director? How about Sessions non recusal? How about lie after lie in front of Congress about meetings with foreign country’s ….Shall we go on? How about forgetting meetings with Russian agents? Wake up, this is not right for ANY government employee.

      1. FishWings, you are so correct. I’m of the firm belief that the former FBI director leaked classified material violating a few if not several federal criminal statues, some Professor Turley has posted here numerous times.
        By all means lets go after the lawbreakers.

        1. OK Roscoe, Lets start with 10’s of millions of taxpayer dollars countless investigations and hearings with democrats in charge of said hearings. And then put Trump under the lights of 12 hours of relentless attacks on TV, without once bring up the 5th, and we will see who is telling the truth. Because I remember you and others wanting to lock her up. Check out the flop sweat on Trey after 12 hours trying to put anything on HRC. It didn’t work out so well. I know Trump would not fare as well.

          1. FishWings, and the Bengahzi hearings are relative to Director Comey’s leaking classified material and violating FBI protocols regarding government property?
            Also please give me one example of my own personal interest in “locking up” your good lady Hillary?
            Just one please that has my name attached.

    2. Michael it’s difficult for people to actually fathom that “collusion” in and of itself is actually not a crime governed by an criminal statutes.
      However, the ones you listed are.
      Civics by proxy, one DNC stooge at a time. . .

    3. Uh, what planet are you writing from? I mean, really. If you are on this planet, then flip the switch from Pravda Faux News, open your eyes, and come face to face with this horror show of an administration. The big drawback to this whole tragicomedy is that President Pence will actually be able to get legislation passed.

    4. Crime: how about Jared Kushner lying on the form to obtain top level security clearance? That’s a federal crime. It is also illegal to accept anything of value from a foreign citizen or government to assist in an election campaign. Money is just one form of something of value, but negative information about a candidate’s opponent, is definitely of value, and that’s exactly what Donnie, Jr. said he would “love” to receive. Did he receive it? He denies it, but then, he “forgot” about all of the people present at the meeting. Therefore, do we believe his denial? Not for a minute. Then, there’s the circumstantial evidence of the timeline of disclosures of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which began shortly after Donnie Jr’s and little Jared’s meeting with the Russian lawyer. BTW: just being a Russian citizen and providing something of value to aid a candidate in an election is enough to violate federal law. She need not be actually employed by the Russian government. But, Donnie, Jr. thought she was. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Hillary Clinton won the election, but she lost the Electoral College. This isn’t a small thing, especially when it comes to scandals like the one presently unfolding.. She was the people’s choice, not the fatass parked in the White House. Despite these facts, he could bring the country together if he were truly a leader and qualified to be President. All he has done is to fractionalize the country even more than it was. He has an historically low approval rating for 6 months in office. If the Republicans do coerce passage of the huge tax break for the wealthy, masquerading as health care reform, expect riots in the streets. Chump promised better health care at a lower cost. He was speaking out of his anal port. That can only be done via a single-payer system. Republicans won’t let this happen. Republicans are the problem. Therefore, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you should know that the real reason nothing major is getting passed in Congress is Republicans with a soul and conscience, who are putting their constituents ahead of politics. Democrats haven’t stopped Trumpcare–Republicans have.

      1. Hillary Clinton won the election, but she lost the Electoral College.

        Sounds an awful lot like And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!


        1. No. Chump lost the popular vote, which proves that most voters did not want him to be President. A large number of people who did vote for him are now disillusioned, based on lies like the Mexican wall paid for by Mexico, all Muslims banned from entering the US merely because they are Muslim, and the biggest whopper of all: that he could craft a health care plan providing better coverage, at lower cost, pre existing conditions covered, and kids stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. What about lowering everyone’s taxes and bringing back the coal industry?

      2. We might learn more about Russians “providing something of value” if Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS appears on Wednesday before the Senate committee, and if he testifies.
        He’s scheduled to appear, but given the history of stonewalling it remains to be seen if he actually shows up and answers questions.

  5. I still think it comes down to operating on Wall St. rules vs Washington rules. If this was Roger Stone or say either DT Jr. or JK had served previously in the service of the country either military or elected office then we’d should be more concerned. This is part of the learning curve and when we see corruption in government we shriek, depending on wether it’s our guy or their guy, but when Wall St. abuses John Q Public it’s all legal and approved tacitly by congress in the form of laws regulating financial transactions.
    I think these Trump saplings have been grown under the Wall St. rules not Washington’s.
    I’ll take another 3.5 years of this administration over one day of a HRC one.
    Carry on.

    1. THAT is your answer to Trump’s incompetence? What happened that he only hires the best? That he alone knows how to fix Washington? If you’re thinking that Trump is just learning, then my fellow American you have been conned. Quit playing with your rubber duckie in the tub and wake up.

      1. Well,I happen to believe after reading your comment that we just might have different expectations for our executive branch.

        I’ll take a newbie administration that exposes the sausage factory over one that railroads thru policy like they are Oscar Meyer.

        Adapt dude, adapt.

        1. So you prefer illusions, incompetence, lying, and ignorance and submission? Just go with it? Not me pal, you won’t catch me goosestepping down Pennsylvania Ave. Didn’t they adapt in 1930’s Germany?

          1. My hair is not on fire yet.
            Trump may be a failure at executive branch style PR, however, I’m pretty sure the FED, the MIC, and Wall St. are all doing just fine. I haven’t heard one person comment that they haven’t received their Social Security check or government pension.
            I do pity GOP Governors who will have to deal with the AHCA repeal issue though.
            No illusions or need for hyperbolic sky is falling rhetoric at this point.
            I currently don’t own a brown shirt and have 2/3rds of a haircut , but I’ll keep you posted.

              1. Yes and it should be. Also we have a new Supreme Court Justice, the TPP was repealed and we have told NATO to pay their fair share. To paraphrase the late great Clara Peller:
                “Where’s the Armageddon?”

                  1. That’s it? That’s all you have?
                    HRCSLC* membership approved my friend.
                    Hillary Clinton Sore Loser Club
                    Blame DWS, HRC, DB Et al and the DNC as a collective HRC campaign division, they were the ones that set up the primary schedule so all the black people would vote for HRC first and then “sweep” her to the nomination.
                    Point was things got a little messy along the way and they showed their true intentions.

                    Please remember what David Axelrod said:” You have to work pretty hard to lose to Donald Trump”.

                    When we have firm proof that votes were changed then I’ll change my view.
                    For now, you and FishWings need to adapt.

    2. Grown up under the rules of felons and in Kushner’s case a convicted one

  6. What was the prize this so called collusion was supposed to provide? State secrets? Weapons? Cash? Uranium? No, Evidence that the DNC had collaborated with the Clinton campaign to take down her opponent in the primary. How did that information become available? John Podesta fell for a bait and switch of his own and had his email hacked So corrupt practices at the DNC, CNN and with the Clinton campaign working together to rig an election were exposed and the mighty prize Don Jr. was after was information no investigative journalists in the US would pursue. Then there is the fact those same entities, DNC and Clinton were colluding with Ukrainian government to dig up dirt on Trump and his foreign interests.

    So the prize was the truth that the American people would discover. Oh the horror! I’m having a difficult time trying to get all worked up over an effort to expose the corruption in politics, when I do not see how any of that has translated into an actual negative in policy and procedures.

    1. And now the corruption of the Trump and Kushner families is being exposed and the cultist loyalists can’t bear it.

  7. “Trump and his whole circus”. That quote is from the article here. This is America. Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus shut down this year. We have no need for circus. Name one animal in the Trump collection. I don’t even think that they have a dog. All this apCray about “collusion” with “Russians” and then direct quotes that don’t exist from Trump Jr. that he wanted to collude with the Russian government. The Circus is in the media. The media is the message. The Turley message is circus garbage. Trilogy, rilogy, smilogy, pillory. Much ado about nada.

    1. So, is your opinion that Russian attempts to influence our election:
      1) Didn’t happen?
      2) Were ineffective, even if they did?
      3) Are OK – any foreign government should be able to do it?

      Just curious.

  8. When just when are Trump supporters going to put country over party? If you are going to go down with the ship, please don’t take the country with you. Your “Reality is irrelevant” willfully ignorant stand on just facts alone are hurting this country.

    1. I think that, for many of them, collusion with any foreign government is preferable to working with anyone in the Democratic party.

      1. Sad but true, keep reading from these Trump supporters and you will get that even JT is spreading “fake news”. And when they call JT fake news you know there is a Yuge problem in this country.

        1. I think you are misreading commenters here and assuming they are pro-Trump. I’m not actually pro-Trump, i’m more anti-establishment and HRC was the epitome of that. What Trump promised, like all politicians should definitely be considered and what he actually delivered as part of the metrics judging his success. However, I recall our last president basically giving Wall St. a pass and he promised Hope while crushing home owners with bogus solutions regarding the housing market fiasco. What policies has Trump signed into law that have had such a devastating effect on our economy and so many people’s lives like the bail out of Wall St and the allowing of sub-prime mortgages?
          Please just one.
          While you are at it, please name one banker who went to jail for anything related to such a devastating scheme.

          1. Commenters here don’t want to admit that the Trump administration is often referred to as the Goldman Government. They like to pretend he is for the little guy .

            1. Please,if you have time google former US Treasury Secretaries and who their former employers were.
              Wether it’s latent or blatant, Goldman Sachs goes way backs.

              1. Not everyone campaigned against them and then broke a record with regards to the number of them they hired. 🙂

                1. The contortions that Trump supporters go through to defend him is amazing. If Hillary or Obama had done 1% of the garbage Trump and his cronies are pulling, the howls of outrage would be deafening.

                  1. If Hillary or Obama had done 1% of the garbage Trump and his cronies are pulling, the howls of outrage would be deafening.

                    LOL! Get a hearing aid.

                    1. Of course, I’m referring to the Trump supporters. Decent people know that he’s a lousy human being and incompetent and are understandably voicing their opinions.

                    2. Decent people know that he’s a lousy human being and incompetent

                      Vetting of candidates should be about not allowing lousy human beings anywhere near our government. The MSM, the DNC, the Clinton campaign and perhaps the Ukraine government did their best to make that case against Trump and failed. FNC, the RNC, the Trump campaign and perhaps the Russian government did their best to make that case against Clinton and succeeded.

                      We avoided one of the most lousy of human beings to ever grace our election process. The vetting is over and now it’s about actual governance. I don’t see incompetence, I see unconventional and effective governance. It would be interesting to see what this administration could accomplish without it being undermined 24/7. Neil Gorsuch was a huge win for the American people. President Trump will have at least one more pick this term and if that’s all he is able to get by the obstructionist’s then we’ll be just fine.

                    3. One has to wonder about reid. What he is actually saying is that those that support Trump are the deplorables. When Clinton used that label, many called her stupid for doing so because it made it clear how closed Clinton’s mind really was. She lost because she didn’t know what she was talking about.

                      Reid may not know it, but he is making the same mistake.

                  2. The difference between Trump and Clinton is that Trump might have written a check with insufficient funds while Hillary robbed the bank.

            2. Good God Frankly! Trump as the “Goldman Government”?! How old are you? Where have you been during history class? or the last 20 years?

              I have no love for Trump, and he can sure be attacked for many many things (such as nespotism!) but THIS ISNT ONE.

              It is my understanding he took no contributions from GS. And just check out Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Clinton’s and Obama’s Treasury staff came from GS. And Obama took more Wall Street money than ALL PRIOR presidential candidates COMBINED. And how about all those private speaker fees to HRC…?

              1. https://theintercept.com/2017/07/15/trumps-team-overseeing-wall-street-brings-in-more-goldman-sachs-alumni-docs-reveal/ “After using Goldman Sachs as a punching bag for his campaign, sharply criticizing his political opponents for ties to the investment bank, Donald Trump has taken unprecedented steps to appoint former Goldman Sachs attorneys and executives to the upper echelons of government.

                It goes far beyond what’s been reported. Not only is Jay Clayton Trump’s chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, after serving as the attorney who advised the bank during the bailouts of 2008, but new disclosures show that the team Clayton brought with him to oversee the financial market regulator are also former Goldman Sachs attorneys.”

      2. I think that, for many of them, collusion with any foreign government is preferable to working with anyone in the Democratic party.

        Are you prepared to out all of them?

        A January Politico report indicated that a Democratic National Committee operative worked with Ukrainian government officials to dig up Russia-related opposition research on Donald Trump. The operative later shared that information with the DNC and the Clinton campaign.


    2. Fishwings, Name three major policies that Trump followers support that place country over party.

      It is easy to make these vacuous statements. Let’s see it there is any substance behind them.

  9. Fake media has just one objective and it’s not to cover the truth but to take down a president that won the office without its help . In fact media is one of the sore losers of 2016 and it just can’t accept that fact . At this point I consider democrats and media collusion a greater threat to the country and safety of the people than the terrorists both within and abroad . In my view , if anyone who cannot see this and considers the fake media as the real media needs help . Fox News that liberals love to despise also had antitrumpers anchor the debates and per Harvard study covered trump more negatively than positively . As far as I’m concerned American media is a pos and anything or anyone using msm as the source of their info automatically makes her/himself stinky

    1. Yes. The whole thing stinks. Junk news. Junk blogs. Lets be critical of the apCray in the article today.

      1. Indeed. It’s going to be a long 4 yrs if this is the level of discourse in the public sphere.

  10. This is a manufactured controversy and Trump should not cave. Turley fancies politicians should dance to tunes played by the media. Trump’s success thus far has been derived in part from telling the media to pound sand. It’s a reasonable wager reporters and editors are in a state of distress because they realize other politicians are going to get the message and their essential uselessness will be revealed.

    Trump has proximate relatives with real skills. BO does not readily build relationships with anyone and his most proximate relations (Maya Ng, Konrad Ng, Craig Robinson, and Mooch) don’t bring much to the table, so he has little incentive to engage in nepotism. (Btw, it’s a reasonable wager that family ties were decisive in garnering Konrad Ng his position at the Smithsonian).

    1. The real skills of the female relatives seem to involve filling out a sweater.

      1. Trump’s daughter is an integral part of his business and was trained for it by her grandfather and her father.

        Maya Ng may have a dozen different talents, virtues, and fine feature. A nice figure isn’t one of them.

  11. Trump is used to working with them because of his businesses, and unlike Obama he doesn’t throw family or friends under the bus. Trump has been deposed so many times he has Donald, jr., Jared and Ivanka run most of the businesses. He just signs the contracts and cuts the ribbons.

  12. As Professor Turley said: “With his comments to date, Trump has assumed the costs directly for their actions” Trump should never have brought Ivanka and Jared into the WH. Stupid stupid move. Will have he have the balls to get rid of them? Doubtful.

    1. Trump has assumed the costs directly for their actions

      Autumn, you’re right, this is the crux of Professor Turley’s article. Not that Trump’s actions are illegal or actionable, but rather that his choices, in this case to use family and friends in his administration, have simply made it more difficult to deal with the feeding frenzy, no matter how much the charges are trumped up (as well as those that may have substance) by the DNC friendly – and MIC and WS controlled – media.

      Anyone who claims Professor Turley has not been giving President Trump the benefit of the doubt in terms of legality has not been reading the posts. From a legal standpoint, I think Turley’s defense of Trump as being largely if not wholly within the law – but sometimes his own worst enemy – are reasonable and accurate even if the particulars – as they add up – leave a slimy impression.

      Your other thread of concern, Kushner/Trump getting even with Qatar for not giving them a loan to salvage a bad RE exposure made by Kushner, along with the link, is very possibly one of the charges that are not trumped up by the press, (the fact the issue is largely ignored by the press gives it more credibility). Whether this is pure smoke or whether there is real fire, is extremely difficult to tell – not because of any media frenzy, as I said, they are ignoring it – but because of the nepotism..

      1. On the legal issues Turley is spot on, but for the non legal aspects Turley projects an ivory tower type of viewpoint that separates him from those that lack that type of life and those others that might actually live it, but recognize Trump is not the usual politician. Trump says what is on his mind and his statements are directed to getting things done, not to prove that he has the special letters after his name.

        Perhaps Turley needs a dose of reality and should be taken for a tour of NYC construction.

  13. Nepotism is antithetical to a democratic state, just as royalty usually is.

    1. Trump is not a politician so he doesn’t have a wide range of friends in politics who he can choose to fill those positions close to him. He needs advisors whose words he understands and who he can trust. Admittedly, this leads to potential attacks. But potential attacks in the case of Trump aren’t potential. They are there day and night whether or not something wrong was done. We have had a so called Russia scandle involving the President going on for almost a year with unrelenting negative press coverage that doesn’t seem to stop even when it is proven that the coverage is a hoax. To date the President’s actions , despite all eyes on on everything he does or has done including his garbage, hasn’t led to any evidence and these bits and pieces aren’t additive to demonstrate any serious problem.

      Nepotism is not the question in this case as every action of Trump is being perceived as a negative and posted as such in the headlines only to proven erroneous at a later time where it is not adequately reported. In this response I am not drawing conclusions as to how Trump is doing only demonstrating that it doesn’t make a difference who he appoints, what good he does or how he does those things. The mostly left wing media will continue in the same fashion in what is an attempted coup.

      When asked if he would accept the results of an election Trump initially commented that the question was unfair and being raised only to him. His considered answer was an unquestionable yes, he would abide by election results. The press just assumed the HIllary contingent would accept the winner. She didn’t, and the press has since aided her contingent in trying to call a legitimate Trump administration illegitimate.

      1. Hoax. Haha. As if. It won’t happen tomorrow or the next day, but indictments true-billed by federal grand juries are positively not hoax materials. Special Counsel barely needs to investigate; just monitor clown tweets and read the newspapers.

        1. Mark M….
          I tend to agree with you.
          I noted before that given the nonstop leaks, we’ll have all the information we need.
          As you suggest, “the newspapers” can wrap this up and eliminate the need for Mueller or Congressional committees to investigate anything.😒

        2. Mark M., If you feel Trump is guilty of a lot of things why not mention a few of them providing specifics and proof he is guilty of breaking the law.

          It is easy for one to show how bright they are by making non specific comments without proof until someone asks them to prove it.

          1. As a layman, you probably aren’t aware that “proof” is a sliding concept depending on the type of lawsuit that is at issue. For indictment purposes, what is required is merely “probable cause” that an offense had been committed. The Feds have a nasty little offense loosely referred to as “making a false statement to a federal officer.” That’s what got Martha Stewart and Scooter Libby, amongst many others. The Special Counsel will undoubtedly take his time; I believe some of his team worked on the Enron case, which was highly complex. My experience with the Feds is that they come slow, but when they crank it up, they come deep and have all their ducks in a row. I’ve set forth the pertinent parts of the false statement statute below. As you can see, some of the players in this farce may already have exposure to some of its provisions.

            18 USC 1001

            (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
            (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
            (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
            (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
            shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years….


            This is to no longer doubting allan

            1. Now that you got that out of your system Mark M. define the actual crime factually including its seriousness and then offer proof. An insignificant omission that happens quite frequently doesn’t rise to the level you seem to be concerned about.

              Then look at the unranium deal and the Ukranian situation comparing the them to a simple insignificant omisssion on a form. Then consider the forms that Hillary had to sign to be Secretary of State where she would maintain security and think of the investigation by Congress where Hillary deleted the emails and destroyed the hard disc. It isn’t difficult to see that there is a double standard.

              1. allan – there appears to be a lack of forms the Hillary signed either joining the State Dept. or leaving it.

                1. Yes, Paul. She has done those things that are generally relatively trivial though I am not sure if her lack of signing was intentional because maybe she new she had broken serious laws or intended to break them.

              2. Right. Moving the goalposts. Read carefully; I’m not the one tasked with the investigation of this Klown Kar administration’s antics. That’s what Special Counsel is for. My point is that it’s a target-rich environment for indictments. When, and what has been adequately addressed above. By all means keep bleating about “fake news” and “deep state” or whatever else has been issued by Pravda Faux News, if it convinces you that nothing criminal is going on inside the Kar.

                1. Yes, he may have made a minor omission where the omission if investigated had no meaning. When you fill out the history for your doctor maybe you will forget a disease a family member had. That is most likely what happened with Kushner.

                  However, the Ukranian collusion is well documented and was even reported. This was actual governmental interference at the highest levels. Clinton’s entire career has been surrounded by serious questions even the latest suicide in Miami by one that was exposing the Clintons dealings in Haiti that involved their charitable foundation. Important people that seem to know awful things about the Clinton’s have a high death rate.

                  Will the special counsel be investigating Clinton’s Ukraine scandle since that is known Russian interference in our elections. Will he be ging back to Fusion GPS, Steele and all the way back to 1996 including who gave the visa to the Russian lawyer?

                2. I should have added that the Special counsel was a pure political move something the Democrats and are very good at even though their politics are contrary to the American ideas of right to life, liberty and happyness (property) and against the interests of America and its citizens.

                  1. Uh, right. Tinfoil is on sale at the local Piggly Wiggly.

                    this is to WTF is he talking about allan

                    1. Mark, you seem to have the crazy idea that the appointment of Mueller by a Democrat makes the appointment totally without bias. If you accept that theory that the assistant Attorney General had that right and therefore it is good then you have to accept the President’s right to dismiss the Special Counsel utilizing the same set of laws.

                      Tin foil seems to be your answer to all issues that you cannot manage. It is not tin foil that is needed rather you need an education in both the Constitution and the idea that the law is blind (blindfolded).

      2. Trump is a petty, immature bully. He doesn’t have a wide range of friends anyplace and he doesn’t trust anyone, either, so this is why he uses family members who are financially dependent on him. Pretty pathetic. There can be little doubt that he needs advisors he can trust, but he won’t admit he doesn’t know what the F he’s doing, so he doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t flatter him. When was it “proven that the coverage is a hoax?” Have you been watching Tucker Carlson and the others at Fox? You don’t think collusion with Russians, which is what Donnie, Jr. was trying to do, and may well have done, is a problem? Well, try this on for size: maybe the next candidate will promise the Russians access to all of our secrets regarding weapons, spies for other countries, and other valuable information in exchange for helping him or her win. Would this be OK with you? Russians wanted Chump to win because they couldn’t bribe Hillary. They wanted sanctions that President Obama placed on them dropped, which Chump has implied he might do. Contrary to the lies told on Fox News, President Obama did employ sanctions, including expelling diplomats, closing down some Russian mansions in Maryland, just outside Washington, D.C., which housed suspected spies and cyber measures, the details of which we aren’t privy to. We don’t know what entanglements Chump has with Russians because he won’t disclose his tax returns.

        Hillary did win the election. She lost the Electoral College. She was the popular choice. Stop saying otherwise. This election was an anomaly. Chump has the lowest approval rating of any president in the modern era for 6 months in office. That is not the product of the MSM, it is a reflection on Chump’s lack of leadership, his failed promises, his lies, and the scandals which are only just starting to get investigated.

        1. Natacha – you win the election by getting the most electoral votes, not popular votes. That is how the election is played. Hillary is a sore loser and her supporters, too. You really do not have a case to make.

          1. Then why have a popular vote at all? People who oppose the fat genital grabber in chief aren’t “sore losers”. We are called “patriots”. It makes me literally sick to think of someone like Chump occupying the White House. Why? Because he’s petty, emotionally immature, wanted to be President for the adulation he thought it would bring, because he is not a leader, not a patriot, he doesn’t understand how government works, he doesn’t understand how to create a consensus for the good of all, he made false promises just to get elected, he refuses to be accountable, won’t hold press conferences, and he lies, lies, lies about everything. He has divided this country more than it was before the election.

            1. Don’t give up hope, Natacha.
              Maybe they’ll prop up Hillary again to run in 2020, and we’ll once again have a White House of Integrity after the Clintons move back in.

            2. “Then why have a popular vote at all? ”

              For most people, perhaps not you, adding up the totals of 50 states isn’t a big thing to make one believe the popular vote has to have any legal significance.

            3. Then why have a popular vote at all?; he doesn’t understand how government works,

              People who oppose the fat genital grabber in chief aren’t “sore losers”…It makes me literally sick to think of someone like Chump occupying the White House.Because he’s petty, emotionally immature,

              There is a pattern here that cannot be ignored. You are projecting your own qualities onto Trump and ignoring those same qualities actually exist in the person you voted for.

              A patriot would actually care to know how the election process works, and why it was designed that way. You are worst kind of civics activist…ignorant and energetic. Hillsdale College offers what you lack for free; that is of course assuming you are a patriot.

              1. Olly, let me add a totally non political comment. Hillsdale’s videos and professors are extraordinary and their curriculum is as well. All students have to study the Constitution and American History.

                They have a spectacular series for free on Athens and Sparta presented by two of the best experts on the subject. (hillsdale.com) This is something that should be taught in all universities for Athens and Greece are a basis for understanding how various powers interact and the basis for our own government. One can say that Sparta had the first Constitution and both had their own form of democracy.

                Of course that is only a supplement to Thucydides which apparently was never read by very many on this blog. Anyone who wishes to delve deeply into foreign policy must read the classics especially Thucydides.

                Education is a terrible thing to waste.

        2. You seem to have a lot to say, but when one looks at the content in your lengthy remarks they seem to be near empty except for invective. I’ll listen if you put some context into what you say like your complaint and proof that your complaint is valid. Until them I will like look at you in the likens of your namesake, a comic strip, with an apology to the writers of the comic strip for reducing them to your level.

    2. Darren, there is this thing called ‘constitutional monarchy/. Monarchy has co-existed with extensive suffrage for about 185 years now.

  14. Not a fan of Trump, but bringing in people into the White House who he can trust 100% and wo he has relied on for years makes sense.

      1. This is not nepotism in the traditional or quite frankly in any sense. You speak of nepotism if a relative of someone in power gets a position with little or no work to do or for which they are entirely not qualified to do. Kushner’s job is ironically not a kushy one, but involves a lot of work. It is entirely up to the president to pick the help he think he needs. I have heard some comedy skits about Kushner, and of course now his omission on the security form re Russia, but what I haven’t heard from any side is that he is not talented, hardworking, or competent. And after all he is a Democrat. The nepotism angle here is pretty ridiculous. Should Bernie be President now? Absolutely, but that train has left the station. Let’s focus on the issues of policy and conduct and work towards a better world in 2018 and beyond. If I was President I’d be happy to have a swiss army knife like Kushner by my side, provided he acts ethically.

        1. Kushner needs to concentrate on his (failing) businesses and has no place in the WH.

        2. Please, enlighten us how Kushner is qualified for the “secretary of everything”? How is he qualified to negotiate a peace deal in the Israeli-Palestine conflict? How is he a “swiss army knife”?

          His curious, convenient, and coincidental failures in his disclosure shows how ethical he is.

          1. He is not ‘secretary of everything’. He is an adviser and consigliere to his father-in-law.

        3. Thomas, This is one of the sensible comments being made on this blog. He is a businessman trying to add a bit of efficiency to our very inefficient governmen, WH office of American innovation. Some people might want a 30 year bureaucrat in the job even though for thirty years all that man did was increase the bureaucracy. The idea is perhaps his business models might help improve things like the VA. But instead of putting all his time into his work he has to spend time responding to claims he did something wrong at a meeting he didn’t ask for and walked out of after a few moments.

          Too many posters are like sharks in the water going after a single ‘drop of blood. The shark’s brain doesn’t permit him to farm or create industry so that the shark can control his environment as human beings have been able to do. Thus the only result they have on their environment during feeding frenzy of that drop of blood is to stir the water so it is unclear and cannot be adequately observed. Advanced thinking is beyond the abilty of a shark.

        4. Like negotiating with foreign governments is in any way similar to being an executive in daddy’s company? Another example of the know-nothing’s failure to comprehend expertise, experience and training. This inability to understand ability will continue to cause severe damage is to this administration. I just hope such rampant incompetence by persons Ill-suited to their positions don’t cause irreparable damage to our nation’s security.

          1. “daddy’s company”? The President built the Trump name. You are all talk, but seem to know very little about the subject matter.

            Why don’t you tell us how daddy created the Trump brand? Daddy didn’t though he was a fine man and very accomplished by his own right.

        5. There have been multiple leaks from insiders in the WH who say that Kushner is completely over his head, that he’s not exceptionally bright and certainly not qualified to have top level security clearance. He also is reported to have caused rifts with certain cabinet members–you know, those who are older, wiser, and who do know what the hell they’re doing. He argues with them about things they know better than he does. Where would you expect to receive adverse information, anyway, other than anonymous leaks? Jared is a proven liar–established by his amending his security clearance form to put in the names of 100 foreign contacts, but only AFTER the MSM outed the meeting in June, 2016. “Swiss army knife”? Hardly. Spoiled brat kid of a convicted felon, who may be joining his Daddy in being a convicted felon.

          1. There have been multiple leaks from insiders in the WH who say that Kushner is completely over his head,

            There is one sort of person who bothers to read such a news story and takes it seriously: an idiot.

            1. Tell me: what, exactly, are little Jared’s credentials, anyway, other than being married to the bottle blonde daughter of Chump? Do you know? What has he done, on his own, that qualifies him to help run this country? Do you know anything about him or his background? You don’t think there’s strife in the White House? You are naïve. He has been proved to have lied on his security clearance application.

      2. Barbie Doll and Ken Doll?

        Your achievements in the business world are just what?

        Both Barbie and Ken hail have had invaluable training from the older generation, with 12 years and nine years respectively of continuous employment in family businesses. Both hold Ivy League degrees and Ken holds a post-baccalaureate degree as well. Their general intelligence is more than satisfactory.

        1. “General intelligence”? Have you heard Ivanka speak or have you read anything she’s written? You couldn’t say this if you had. You don’t think they bought their way into whatever institutions of higher learning they allegedly graduated from? What was Ken’s degree in, anyway? Do you even know?

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