Eric Lipton at the Times

The rules are clear for nearly everyone who works in the executive branch: Officials are prohibited from playing even a minor role in a decision that directly creates a financial benefit for the employee or the employee’s immediate family.

But those rules do not apply to the president and vice president, the only executive branch officials who are exempt from a criminal statute and a separate ethics regulation that govern conflicts of interest.


I’ll take a wild guess that it’s the usual bullshit “because the president is so very busy, must not be investigated or prosecuted, much too busy” – the bullshit that is letting this brazen criminal get away with brazen crimes for close to three years now.

That exemption is the reason President Trump could legally play a role in the selection of the Trump National Doral resort near Miami as the site of next year’s summit meeting of the Group of 7. If anyone in the executive branch other than Mr. Trump or Vice President Mike Pence tried the same thing, they would likely have been blocked by government lawyers, faced an ethics investigation and perhaps become the subject of a criminal inquiry, federal ethics lawyers from both parties said Friday.

But if Trump does it it’s totally legal.

Pardon me while I smash up the furniture.

Nine days before Mr. Trump’s inauguration, one of his lawyers, Sheri A. Dillon, released a document detailing how Mr. Trump would avoid conflicts of interest after he was sworn in, even if he was not prohibited under law from taking actions that would benefit his family financially.

“President-Elect Trump, as well as Don, Eric, and Alan are committed to ensuring that the activities of The Trump Organization are beyond reproach, and that the Organization avoids even the appearance of a conflict of interest, including through any advantage derived from the Office of the Presidency,” Ms. Dillon wrote in the six-page document, referring to Mr. Trump’s two oldest sons and Alan Garten, the chief legal officer at Trump Organization.

Hahahahahahaha just kidding folks, we don’t mean a word of it.

But that same day, Mr. Trump made clear he was aware that he had a legal exemption that provided him considerable flexibility to decide for himself what would be permissible.

“I have a no-conflict-of-interest provision as president,” Mr. Trump said. “It was many, many years old, this is for presidents. Because they don’t want presidents getting — I understand they don’t want presidents getting tangled up in minutia; they want a president to run the country. So I could actually run my business, I could actually run my business and run government at the same time.”

Yeah we definitely don’t want Donnie the Trump getting tangled up in minutiae like being told he can’t book international meetings into his foul hotels, he’s far too busy tweeting and watching Fox and tweeting and screaming about shifty Schiff and tweeting and holding rallies and tweeting.

The acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was the first to recommend the Doral resort as a site for the Group of 7.

“We were back in the dining room and I was going over it with a couple of our advance team,” Mr. Mulvaney said. “We had the list, and he goes, ‘What about Doral?’ And it was like, ‘That’s not the craziest idea. It makes perfect sense.’”

No it is the craziest idea. Really.

Mr. Mulvaney on Thursday defended the approach the White House took in selecting the Doral, saying that a dozen locations were evaluated, which suggests that federal contracting rules might have been honored. But Mr. Mulvaney would not disclose the other locations or the process used to evaluate them.

So that’s totally above suspicion then.

David Farenthold of the Post tells Chuck Todd at Meet the Press about the ludicrous pantomime of “looking at other possible sites for the meeting and finding them all unsuitable” – except they won’t say anything about exactly what the sites are or how they decided to look at them. Farenthold:

The only thing they’ll say is that one of them was so high in the mountains that if you wanted to hold a meeting you’d have to give the leaders oxygen.

I burst out laughing at that and so did they. Why pick that one to consider then? Well exactly; why indeed. Farenthold:

That’s the thing – if your list was like a campground at the top of Mount McKinley, and a Chuck E. Cheese, and Doral, then Doral was the best place, you know?

I see a new game forming.

A chicken processing plant; Folsom Prison; Doral.

A forest that is on fire; Arctowski Station in Antarctica; Doral.

Kīlauea; an airport runway; Doral.

A cotton field in Arkansas; Pizza Hut; Doral.

5 Responses to “Choices”