Painter: Trump Cannot Do Fundraisers For Senators Without Committing “Felony Bribery”

I have previously disagreed with the overextended and unsupported claims of critics on allegedly clear criminal violations by President Donald Trump, including past statements by Richard Painter, who served as the chief White House ethics lawyer for George W. Bush and is a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School. I am no fan of President Trump and have repeatedly criticized him for his language and actions in office. However, legal analysis continues to erode as analysts assure viewers that well-established crimes have been committed. The latest such example by Painter is that Trump continues to fundraise for Senators, a common practice of all presidents in election years. Painter insists that any such fundraising can constitute “felony bribery” since these senators will likely sit in judgment in any impeachment trial.

Painter declared “This is a bribe. Any other American who offered cash to the jury before a trial would go to prison for felony bribery. But he can get away with it?”

I like Painter personally and respect his past public service. However, this position is utterly meritless. Just because a president may face a Senate trial, he is not required to stop political activities. Indeed, if that were the case, an opposing party in control of the House could shutdown the political activities of a president by moving to impeach him. Moreover, Painter’s unlimited view of the bribery statute would also prevent campaign activities deemed supportive of members of either house. That view would not only extend bribery definitions beyond recognition but it would contravene core protections for free speech and associations.

The unquestioning attention given to Painter’s extreme view shows how detached coverage has become from reality. There are serious questions raised in the Ukraine controversy. It deserves serious analysis.

154 thoughts on “Painter: Trump Cannot Do Fundraisers For Senators Without Committing “Felony Bribery””

  1. Painter and Laurence Tribe can get together in a bipartisan show of legal inanity.

  2. In response to my 11/2 comment about Trump’s attempt to promote his Doral golf resort by using it for the 2020 G-7 summit “Allan” responded that Doral “would have been at cost, no profit… Funny but Trump used the same rationale but only AFTER there was such a public outcry he was forced to rescind the offer. Since Trump refuses to divulge his tax returns we don’t know which of his properties actually makes a “profit”. But what we do know is that after taking office Trump doubled membership fees at Mar-a-Lago to $200,000. That’s called “pay to play”. Everyone knows that if you want Trump’s ear you have to pay for the privilege! Trump has used his office to promote and profit from his properties. That’s corruption at the highest level. But apparently this is of no concern to “Allan”.

    1. Since Trump refuses to divulge his tax returns we don’t know which of his properties actually makes a “profit”.

      The general ledger for the Trump Organization isn’t going to be found in Trump’s tax returns.

    2. Dennis, Trump made the offer to have the Doral do the meeting at cost. It was not a get rich quick scheme. The Doral gave him a home turf advantage but who gives a sh!t about America. Democrats are only interested in gaining an advantage for themselves and really don’t care about anyone else. Too many Democrats hate America, caucasians, rich people (even when they started out poor), men, Jews and anyone that doesn’t toe the line on leftist ideas. If the Democrats gain control soon that hate will be extended to the elderly and the infrim.

      What you call corruption is garbage. It is all out in the open and Trump can’t help it that he is President. He increased the membership fee. That is what happens when there is limited membership possible and a lot of rich people around. It culls the numbers, but the annual fee I believe remains about the same. There is a golf club that has a membership fee of about $450,000 so you can check out who is breaking the law.. There isn’t anything this President can do that won’t be attacked by a mindless lefty.

  3. But then eveeyone knows Matt Taibbi is a Russian agent because we all are!


    “Baghdadi Story Reveals Divided — and Broken — News Media”
    If you have two sets of news media, you have none

    Matt Taibbi

    Two sets of headlines over the weekend described the suicide of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. From the Washington Post Sunday morning:

    “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48”

    Meanwhile, the headline on

    “Al-Baghdadi kill: how the daring military operation went down”

    The Post headline would fit a quiet academic who died in his sleep, not a genocidal jihadist leader. The Fox headline is less nuts, but still not quite right: al-Baghdadi wasn’t killed but reportedly committed suicide, while pursued by American “military dogs.”

    Meanwhile, in what increasingly feels like a monolithic bloc of anti-Trump media at the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, etc., the Baghdadi headlines were a remarkable collection of angst-ridden talking points.

    Apparently, the salient facts about the death of al-Baghdadi included:

    Trump didn’t “inform some key Democrats” about the operation;
    Trump “notified Russians… before telling congressional leaders”;
    The Baghdadi raid was “complicated” by Trump’s plans to withdraw from Syria, happening “in spite of” Trump, not because of him;
    The raid was a “victory built on factors Trump derides” (i.e., it was a win by intelligence agencies Trump has criticized);
    Trump’s gloating tone contrasted with the more “measured” tone of Barack Obama after the bin Laden operation;
    The operation was like watching a movie, except “there was no live audio” (this was the New York Times where the “whimpering and crying” detail came from);
    Trump is going to “milk” the political benefit of Baghdadi because he needs to, because of impeachment and other problems;
    Trump’s situation room photo appeared more “staged” than Obama’s, experts said. In fact, they were taken before the raid even happened!

    All of this has been subsumed to the only story left that matters in the United States – who’s winning Twitter at any given moment, Trumpers or anti-Trumpers? News outlets are now so committed to pushing one or the other narrative that they are falling prey to absurdities like the Post’s “austere cleric” headline.

    1. Yeah, except Tabibi is wrong.

      Here’s the WaPo story (“headline”) on the killing of Bagdadi:

      Tabibi is citing the WaPo obituary, which is not a “headline” about the major news, but a recounting of his life.

      Tabibi doesn’t let facts get in the way of his BS story.

    1. Tabby, are Ordinary Times and PJ news your tent pole sources? I understand their readership is composed of very ordinary people.

    2. Trump is guilty of treason–because he drinks water. Continuing to live is his greatest crime, according to our Leftists. Anyone serving him water is guilty of conspiring with the Russians to overthrow our Constitution

  4. I cannot agree to “liking” Richard Painter as the good professor does. Painter’s extreme positions working for CREW and the emoluments case evince a legal mind tainted by bias. (Painter and his case were dismissed.) I have no respect for desperado Painter.

    1. If the sketch biography on Wiki is accurate, the most reasonable inference is that he was an infiltrator who snookered the Bush people into hiring him. CREW is certainly an odoriferous outfit. No irritated Republican would have anything to do with them.


    “Just because a president may face a Senate trial, he is not required to stop political activities. Indeed, if that were the case, an opposing party in control of the House could shutdown the political activities of a president by moving to impeach him”.

    Here the professor reminds us that Trump faces impeachment in the fall before an election year; a situation no president has ever contended with. Nixon had been reelected by a landslide when Watergate unraveled. Clinton was entering the second year of his second term when the Lewinsky scandal surfaced.

    So how did Trump bumble into an impeachment trap just before an election year?

    One should note that Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress ended on an ambiguous note July 24. That very next day, July 25, Donald Trump called President Zelenksy of Ukraine. In that call Trump even referenced Mueller’s testimony while asking about Crowd Strike and Hillary Clinton’s server. At the moment Trump believed the ‘witch hunt’ was behind him.

    Mueller’s noncommital testimony was widely hailed by rightwing media as a ‘victory’ for Trump. So one imagines Trump was feeling cocky the day after. Trump more than likely believed he had triumphed over Mueller; which left him free to ‘turn the tables’ and ’embarrass’ the Democrats. To that end Trump schemed to have Zelensky corroborate rightwing conspiracies regarding Crowd Strike and Hillary’s server.

    This is ‘how’ Trump bungled into impeachment. He was feeling cocky for having ‘beaten the rap’. Which illustrates that Trump is his own worst enemy. Trump has a natural tendency to dive off the deep end when feeling full of himself.

    1. Dear John: Trump’s “cocky” and “bungling” missteps are more forgivable than Schiff’s and Painter’s conniving, calculating, and often deceitful sins to take him down.

    2. when JFK reached out to Nikita, asking for his help to resolve the end-of-the-world scenario they were responsible for, he did so for the purpose of being reelected in ’64. leftists accept he was guilty of high crimes according to their new definition.

  6. JT’s habit of distraction and as always his MO is to do the look over here story every time. Painter was talking about how trump offered to split the campaign money with only those who were in deep water in their home states. A fact JT omits. And they of course are trump’s jury in the Senate. trump did NOT offer campaign money to other Senators. Of course I could say to look it up yourselves, but I know better that looking up facts is somthing trump supporters do not do.

  7. It may not be “felony bribery” for Trump to fund raise for Senators but when foreign governments and entities buy condos in Trump properties that’s a violation of the emoluments clause. Since 2016 Trump’s own campaign has spent $16.8 million at his properties, like Trump’s Washington hotel, Mar-a-Lago and the Doral golf resort –the latter where Trump tried to profit from hosting the 2020 G-7 summit. We don’t need “felony bribery” to impeach the most corrupt President in recent memory.

    1. The G-7 cost would have been at cost, no profit and likely would cost less than any comparable property. This type of thinking is crazy.

    2. We don’t need “felony bribery” to impeach the most corrupt President in recent memory.

      LOL! After nearly 3 years, that line isn’t aging well. The IG and Durham reports are going to re-calibrate your recent memory.

      Tick, tick, tick.

    3. Dennis:

      Are you saying that a real estate company should discriminate against foreigners, and require proof of citizenship for buyers? That hotels should do the same? Trump already satisfied the requirements on separating himself from his businesses.

      If someone pays the going rate, it’s not a bribe. Just like if a Saudi Sheik buys Obama’s book at the bookstore, it’s not a bribe.

      Repeatedly, we find that Democrats are guilty of what they accuse Republicans of doing. For instance, foreign nations used to pay Bill higher than his usual speaking fee when they had business with the State Department, when Hillary was in charge. When Hillary lost her second bid to become President, donations to the Foundation and for Bill’s fees declined, indicating the value declined when Hillary had no political power.

    4. Dear Dennis: please get your facts straight, otherwise your comments are dismissed as propagandistic opinion. The “emoluments” cases were dismissed (albeit mostly on standing) and Trump preemtively declared “no profit” would be taken. I believe Dwight Eisenhower did something similar with his personal ranch,–no one cared. I also believe that Trump dropped the G-7 idea NOT because it would
      be wrong, but rather because of the negative media bombardment, ( although there could have been, arguably, some less tangible, non-monetary benefit to Trump).

  8. The unquestioning attention given to Painter’s extreme view shows how detached coverage has become from reality.

    We can not allow ourselves to be called to the darkness. We are all called to be just the opposite: hopeful, joyous, saintly aka friends of God

    Today is a special day for many Christians with a message that is in direct contrast to the darkness of our culture.

    Pray to the Saints who are friends of God.

    November 1st
    Solemnity of All Saints

    Lord this is the people who longs to see
    your face with these words the psalmist
    gives us insight into who the saints are
    and why we celebrate their lives on the
    solemnity of All Saints the Saints are
    Friends of God they are disciples of
    Christ who fix their gaze on the Lord
    and radiates the love of Christ into the
    world and because they are Friends of
    God the saints longed to see the face of
    God their reward is to be in the eternal
    presence of God who desires their
    friendship in the same way that God
    desires your friendship the existence of
    the communion of saints is vividly
    described in our first reading from the
    book of Revelation there we hear of the
    dramatic vision of a great multitude
    from every nation race people and
    language they stand before the throne of
    God wearing white robes and holding palm
    branches and they worship God with songs
    of praise in the eternal liturgy of
    heaven saying amen
    blessing and glory wisdom and
    Thanksgiving honor power and might be to
    our God for ever and ever amen by
    singing the praises of God the Saints
    remind us that being in the eternal
    presence of God is our destiny as well
    we were created to live in friendship
    with God our life on earth is meant to
    prepare us for the eternal happiness
    that God wants for each one of us
    because the stains stand in God’s
    presence they are powerful intercessors
    and we can turn with confidence to them
    for their intercession and help in
    moments of need and ingratitude we do
    not worship the Saints we seek their
    help and guidance just as one would ask
    a friend for help in time of need
    and finally the Saints show us that
    holiness is possible not for a chosen
    few but for each one of us who is
    baptized into a new life in
    Christ and as we strive to live our call
    to holiness that has turned today and
    every day with confidence to the Friends
    of God who make up the communion of
    saints have a blessed day

  9. However, I do think the issue of loyalty to America in a narrow but important sense is at the crux of many of the debates about Donald Trump and his administration. Trump’s presidency has been unfortunately defined by the emergence of senior government officials who are quite open about demonstrating loyalty to the administrative state, up to and including criminal acts and abuses of power, over the imperatives of a democratically elected president.

    The people doing these things may even sincerely justify what they’re doing as motivated by patriotism, but that doesn’t mean these abuses aren’t being done at the expense of a vision of America at odds with what the people want. Even if you don’t like Trump, this is a huge threat to the rule of law and the legitimacy of federal governance in the eyes of American citizens.

  10. Painter, the supposed Republican, has as one of his avocations serving on the board of an outfit whose previous chairman was…David Brock.

    E-mail exchange between John Podesta and Neera Tanden on David Brock:

    Podesta: “”Do you really believe that or do you think he’s just an unhinged narcissist?”

    Tanden: “I truly believe he’s an unhinged soulless narcissist,” “Because I’m not actually a conspiracy theorist like David Brock.”

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