Maximum sleaze

Good lord.

Think Progress reports:

The Embassy of Kuwait allegedly cancelled a contract with a Washington, D.C. hotel days after the presidential election, citing political pressure to hold its National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel instead.

A source tells ThinkProgress that the Kuwaiti embassy, which has regularly held the event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, abruptly canceled its reservation after members of the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador to hold the event at the hotel owned by the president-elect. The source, who has direct knowledge of the arrangements between the hotels and the embassy, spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. ThinkProgress was also able to review documentary evidence confirming the source’s account.

In the early fall, the Kuwaiti Embassy signed a contract with the Four Seasons. But after the election, members of the Trump Organization contacted the Ambassador of Kuwait, Salem Al-Sabah, and encouraged him to move his event to Trump’s D.C. hotel, the source said.

After the election. After the election, members of Trump’s company pressured a foreign government to spend money on their product at the expense of a rival company. Jimmy Carter sold his god damn peanut farm, and Trump and his peons do this!

Kuwait has now signed a contract with the Trump International Hotel, the source said, adding that a representative with the embassy described the decision as political. Invitations to the event are typically sent out in January.

Abdulaziz Alqadfan, First Secretary of the Embassy of Kuwait, told ThinkProgress last week that he couldn’t “confirm or deny” that the National Day event would be held at the Trump Hotel. Reached again Monday afternoon, Alqadfan did not offer any comment. An email sent directly to Ambassador Al-Sabah was not immediately returned.

Well, eventually it will be confirmed or denied, because otherwise people won’t know where to go.

The apparent move by the Kuwaiti Embassy appears to be an effort to gain favor with president-elect through his business entanglements, and it appears to show Trump’s company leveraging his position as president-elect to extract payments from a foreign government. The latter, according to top legal experts, would be unconstitutional and could ultimately constitute an impeachable offense.

If the Republicans in Congress have enough integrity. That seems highly unlikely.

The Trump Organization’s pressure campaign has not been limited to Kuwait. The country was targeted as part of a larger effort by the Trump Organization to lure lucrative diplomats to the Trump International Hotel.

It’s working.

Kuwait cancelled with the Four Seasons a few days after the Trump International Hotel held an event for diplomats, reported the Washington Post, encouraging them to patronize the hotel.

I remember blogging that story in the Post. It was a startling news item.

Less than two weeks after that event, Politico reported that Bahrain, another Middle Eastern monarchy, would host its National Day reception at the Trump hotel on December 7.

That is so fucking sleazy. Look at it. The name of the god damn president attached to the hotel where a foreign country is throwing a bash. It’s revolting.

Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) harshly criticized the Bahrain event, writing in a letter to Trump that he should “reject all business income from the Bahraini monarchy and all other foreign governments.” McGovern wrote that Trump’s “private commercial dealings with a repressive governments” endanger the fundamental principle that the president will “act solely in our country’s interests.”

The Republic of Azerbaijan also recently co-hosted a Hanukkah party at the Trump hotel, despite the anti-Semitic undertones of the Trump campaign. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, blasted the decision as “tone deaf at best, naked sycophancy at worst.”

Ugh, god, this is making me feel sick.

Trump contributed to the impression that his businesses and administration are intertwined by naming three of his children to his transition team, while also saying that the children will manage his companies.

Trump planned to explain in a press conference this month how his businesses would operate after he assumes office, but he has postponed the announcement indefinitely.

Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr., meanwhile, have all been featured in public transition events. The transition team handed out a photo of Ivanka meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and a summit with a group of top American tech leaders held last week featured all three Trump children perched at the head of the table.

Was that appropriate? Having his children / company managers sitting in on that meeting with the tech people? Of course not. He’s not supposed to share his presidency with his kids, and he’s not supposed to mix his business with his presidency. It’s inappropriate from both directions. It’s grotesque. IT IS GROTESQUE.

They should not have been there.

Although the president is exempt from some conflict-of-interest laws, the Congressional Research Service recently identified nine federal conflict of interest and ethics provisions that could apply to the president.

One looms large over the apparent hotel deal with the Kuwaitis: The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from receiving money from a foreign government or head of state.

According to Democratic and Republican legal experts, such a payment is not only unconstitutional, it’s an impeachable offense.

Putin wanted to make the US a laughing stock. He won.

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