Extreme Vetters Can’t Even Vet Their Own Team

I am sure that all of the regulars here at Blogging Blue are well aware of the issues surrounding the firing/resignation of former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn. But since leaving the White House he has retroactively registered as a lobbyist for Turkey…related to lobbying work he did last summer to fall before President Trump won the election. Retroactively. Something else of questionable ethical standing that also should have prevented him from ever being considered for the position. Thank goodness he’s gone!

President Donald Trump was not aware that his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had worked to further the interests of the government of Turkey before appointing him, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.

Spicer’s comments came two days after Flynn and his firm, Flynn Intel Group Inc., filed paperwork with the Justice Department formally identifying him as a foreign agent and acknowledging that his work for a company owned by a Turkish businessman could have aided Turkey’s government.

Asked whether Trump knew about Flynn’s work before he appointed him as national security adviser, Spicer said, “I don’t believe that that was known.”

So he apparently hid that from the president and the transition team? So who was actually vetting the background of those the president is considering for cabinet and administration posts? Anyone? No one? Sheesh.

Spicer said he didn’t know what Flynn had disclosed about his background and lobbying work during the White House’s vetting of him for appointment as national security adviser.

Spicer said Flynn was free to do the lobbying work because it occurred while he was a private citizen.

“There’s nothing nefarious about doing anything that’s legal as long as the proper paperwork if filed,” Spicer said. He declined to say whether Trump would have appointed Flynn if he had known about the lobbying.

But filing it months later???

Now comes word about probably legal (shrug?) shenanigans but also questionable judgment. Apparently the Kushners (Ivanka Trump and presidential son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner) have rented a manse from a billionaire mining magnate with law suits pending against the US government. Go figure!

vanka Trump and Jared Kushner are renting a Washington, D.C., home from a Chilean billionaire who bought it after the November election and whose company is embroiled in a dispute with the U.S. government over a mine potentially worth billions of dollars.

Ms. Trump and Mr. Kushner are President Donald Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. The couple moved into the house with their family around the time of his inauguration. Mr. Kushner is a top White House adviser.

The Obama administration in its waning days blocked a Luksic-company plan to build a giant copper-and-nickel mine adjacent to a Minnesota wilderness area, citing environmental concerns. The company and some Minnesota politicians are urging the Trump administration to reverse the decision.

Now if they are paying market rates…apparently there isn’t anything to see here. But considering the property was purchased after the election and rented to the Kushner’s soon after…well the optics pretty much suck.

Rob Walker, an ethics lawyer at Wiley Rein LLP who has advised Republicans and Democrats, said there might not be an ethics problem if the couple are paying a market rent.

On the other hand, “it is a political-appearance question,” he said, because “deservedly or not, critics may still question the propriety of entering into any significant transaction with an individual with these apparent interests before the administration.”

On the other hand, we all know how difficult it is to find suitable family housing within walking distance of the White House!


Related Articles