Trump Scandals Keep Piling Up

Michael Flynn, Ryan Zinke, the Trump Foundation, Michael Cohen, Maria Butina — there is no end to it.

American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16
American president Donald Trump attends a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16 (Office of the President of the Republic of Finland/Juhani Kandell)

It’s getting harder and harder to keep up with the many scandals swirling around Donald Trump, so my apologies if I’ve missed anything here since my last update.

  • Michael Flynn: The federal judge in the trial of Trump’s short-lived national security advisor — who lied to the FBI about his foreign contacts — has rejected a leniency deal, arguing that Flynn’s cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation does not cancel out the fact that he “sold [his] country out“. Flynn, who told the 2016 Republican National Convention that he would be in jail if he had done “a tenth” of what Hillary Clinton did (referring to a made-up email scandal), was paid half a million dollars to lobby for Turkish interests before and after the election — and failed to disclose this to both regulators and the Trump campaign. He also neglected to report a payment from the Russian propaganda channel RT for giving a speech at its 2015 gala in Moscow.
  • Ryan Zinke has resigned as secretary of the interior. He was being investigated for numerous ethics violations, from accepting chartered flights from oil companies to shady land deals to demanding that his secretarial flag be flown over the Main Interior Building whenever he was present, Queen-of-England-style.
  • The Trump Foundation, the “charity” the president used to pay off legal settlements and make illegal political donations, has been shut down by prosecutors in New York.
  • Michael Cohen, the president’s longtime personal attorney, has been sentenced to three years in prison for lying to Congress (about the Trump Organization’s Moscow project) and facilitating payoffs to two of Trump’s mistresses in violation of campaign finance laws. Like Flynn, Cohen has been cooperating with Mueller.
  • Maria Butina, a Russian gun activist, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to influence the 2016 election under the direction of a senior Russian official.

Wired reports that there are now seventeen investigations affecting the president. Bloomberg View columnist Timothy L. O’Brien writes that few of the worlds Trump inhabits have escaped prosecutors’ attention:

The Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, the Trump family, the Trump campaign, the Trump transition, the Trump inauguration and the Trump White House are all being probed for wrongdoing.

Drain the swamp!