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COME BACK, SPICEY! America needs you to tell us how Trump had the biggest criminal investigation into a presidential inauguration ever. PERIOD! This time we promise to believe you.

Okay, Wonkers, we just worked our way through the Wall Street Journal and New York Times stories on criminal investigations of the Trump inauguration and super PAC, and something is very rotten in Denmark. But this stuff is complicated, and it's Friday, and hell, it could very well be indictment-thirty, who even knows! So let's break this down Top Five Style and see if we can flag some of the hinkiest bits of this stinker, 'kay?

1. Michael Cohen: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Safe bet that if you ever had a conversation with Michael Cohen, he recorded it and the special counsel is listening to it right now. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan opened an investigation into Trump's yuuuuuge inauguration in part based on one of the Cohen tapes, the Journal reports:

In April raids of Mr. Cohen's home, office and hotel room, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents obtained a recorded conversation between Mr. Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, who worked on the inaugural events. In the recording, Ms. Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money, according to a person familiar with the Cohen investigation.

Really? They needed a tape to tell them there was something suspicious? Obama raised $50 million and had Beyoncé and Bruce Springsteen. Trump raised $107 million for Toby Keith and Tony Orlando. You do the math!

As for Ms. Wolkoff, she's probably having a fun time splaining how she and her company, which was incorporated approximately eight seconds after Trump won the election, managed to net more than $26 million on a party that no one attended. Maybe she'll get her BFF Melania to dispatch her PR flack to shit tweet about firing the New York prosecutors. Since that's a thing now.


2. The Dog Ate My Audit!

Everything was TOTALLY kosher with the inauguration funds, you guys. They did an audit and everything. No, you can't see the audit, and they're not going to tell you which accounting firm did it. But just take Trump's BFF Tom Barrack at his word that they got a clean bill of health, OK?

Yes, OK, maybe there was that little issue with Rick Gates possibly submitting false invoices to the inaugural committee, which he ran. And Manafort's buddy Sam Patten did plead guilty to using a straw man purchaser to buy tickets to an inaugural event for a Ukrainian oligarch. But other than that, SQUEAKY CLEAN.

3. FEC Rules? More Like FEC SUGGESTIONS, AMIRITE? Wait, That's Right, Right?

In the summer of 2016, Candidate Pussygrabber was having a little trouble raising money. So his billionaire pal Tom Barrack set up a super PAC called Rebuilding America Now to start shaking down his pals for cash. Individuals can only give $2,700 to a candidate directly. But a PAC -- and an inauguration committee, for that matter -- can hoover up unlimited cash from companies and people who may or may not have business before the government after the election. We're not saying WWE executive Linda McMahon bought her position as the head of the Small Business Administration with a $6 million donation to Trump's PAC so she could raise her profile for yet another run for senator in Connecticut. But we're not NOT saying it either.

The Times reports:

In an interview with investigators a year ago, Mr. Barrack said that Mr. Manafort seemed to view the political committee as an arm of the campaign, despite laws meant to prevent such coordination, according to a person familiar with the interview.

Federal election law requires a cooling-off period of at least 120 days before campaign staff members join a political committee backing the same candidate, but Mr. Manafort dispatched two friends from the campaign, Laurance Gay and Ken McKay, to run the operation. A press officer said at the time that the committee violated no rules because the campaign never paid the two men. Neither man returned repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Oh, Pauly, you scamp! It just goes to show, you can take the ratfucker out of Ukraine, but you can't take the Ukraine out of the ratfucker.

4. But What's the Bone Saw Angle Here? Surely There Is A Bone Saw Angle?

Were you wondering when our good friends from the Middle East would show up? That train is never late!

Federal prosecutors are examining whether foreigners illegally funneled donations to President Trump's inaugural committee and a pro-Trump super PAC in hopes of buying influence over American policy, according to people familiar with the inquiry.

The inquiry focuses on whether people from Middle Eastern nations — including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds. Federal law prohibits foreign contributions to federal campaigns, political action committees and inaugural funds.

Why ever would they think that the Trump administration was going to a pay-to-play operation that you needed to put money into upfront?

Good thing Robert Mueller is all over the Middle Eastern angle of the Russia investigation!

5. So, How'd That Investment Work Out?

Pretty good! Open Secrets crunched the numbers and found that, "Of the 63 federal contractors that donated to the inauguration, more than half won multimillion-dollar bids in 2017, federal records show." KA-CHING!

Anyway, this is probably a coincidence. Obviously, federal prosecutors from Manhattan and Brooklyn and the special counsel's Office are all Deep Staters on a protracted witch hunt.

Okay, Poppy. You bet.

TL; DR?

Donald Trump has successfully drained the swamp. He is getting a Major Award for Christmas from Robert Mueller and all the prosecutors in New York because he totally cleaned up politics and banished special interest money. Least corrupt administration ever, period. Right, Spicey?

MAGA!!! MAGA!!! MAGA!!!

[WSJ / NYT]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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