A newly published NBC News review found evidence that representatives of at least 22 foreign governments have made payments to Donald Trump’s still-owned, for-profit company. According to some expert interpretations and two federal lawsuits, this is illegal: The Constitution specifically prohibits the U.S. president from accepting “emoluments”—gifts, payments, or fees—from foreign governments as means of preventing a presidency from being compromised by whichever foreign sources are willing to offer the most convincing bribes.
The review counts at least nine foreign governments that have hosted events at one of Trump’s properties, nine that have rented or purchased property in one of Trump’s developments, and five that have sent representatives to stay at one of those properties. They include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, China, and other governments with pressing business with Trump’s administration, because of course.
President Trump’s campaign bought nearly $1 million in Facebook ads urging users to sign a birthday card to commemorate his 73rd birthday, Vice News reports.
“The users who click through to sign such ‘cards’ have offered gobs of contact information to help the president’s re-election effort build out voter lists that will be crucial to raising money. Imposing an arbitrary deadline for supporters to act, the birthday ads have been essential to a digitally savvy Trump campaign that strategists say has built out a sizable early lead over Democrats in collecting voter data.”
Quartz: “Google has been treating Beto’s campaign ads as if they weren’t political content, raising questions over whether Google is capable of keeping its already anemic promise of transparency for political ads. Google has promised to put ads it receives from candidates for U.S. federal political offices in its political ad archive, for transparency’s sake.”
“But the Beto ads reviewed by Quartz were missing from the archive—until we alerted Google to their existence. Google’s own rules don’t allow any political content in Gmail ads, but Beto’s campaign ads kept showing up there.”
“President Trump’s announcement on Fox and Friends Friday morning that Tom Homan would be his new ‘border czar’ appears to have been premature,” CNN reports.
“Homan, a Fox News contributor, was caught by surprise by the announcement… Two senior White House officials acknowledged the details of a position are still being worked out and conversations are ongoing.”
Bloomberg: “Vice President Mike Pence was set to deliver a speech criticizing China’s human rights record on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre — until Donald Trump stepped in. The president delayed the speech to avoid upsetting Beijing ahead of a potential meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 meeting in Japan at the end of this month.”
“Trump also put off U.S. sanctions on Chinese surveillance companiesthat Pence planned to preview in his remarks. The speech was tentatively rescheduled for June 24, just days before the Osaka meetings. But with Beijing signaling that Xi might not agree to a meeting, there is now debate within the administration about when Pence should deliver the speech and how hard he should be on the Chinese.”
New York Times: “Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s announcement that she would step down as White House press secretary has set off the latest round of musical chairs in the West Wing and an internal debate over whether to revive the daily news briefing as President Trump heads into the thick of election season. Some White House officials have argued that the daily briefing, which on the day of Ms. Sanders’s resignation on Thursday had not been held for 94 days, is a powerful tool that would help elevate Mr. Trump above his Democratic opponent in the 2020 race.
“One of those pushing for its revival, officials said, is Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, who wants the next press secretary to play a more proactive role in shaping the White House message, adding at the least a daily untelevised briefing to his or her duties. But others have argued that Mr. Trump has never liked the daily briefing as a forum to disseminate the message of the day, preferring to do it himself on Twitter.”
“President Trump’s reelection machine is setting its sights on a new target, one it had left for dead just a few months ago: Elizabeth Warren,” Politicoreports.
“With the Massachusetts senator rising in polls and driving a populist message that threatens to cut into the president’s blue-collar base, the Trump campaign is training its firepower on Warren with an eye toward blunting her momentum.”
“Backing down after days of huge street protests, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said on Saturday that she would indefinitely suspend a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China,” the New York Times reports.
“It was a remarkable reversal for Mrs. Lam, the leader installed by Beijing in 2017, who had vowed to ensure the bill’s approval and tried to get it passed on an unusually short timetable, even as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it this past week.”
“But she made it clear that the bill was being delayed, not withdrawn outright, as protesters have demanded.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told Politico that she hopes to be remembered as being “transparent and honest” when her tenure comes to an end.
Said Sanders: “I hope that it will be that I showed up every day and I did the very best job that I could to put forward the president’s message, to do the best job that I could to answer questions. To be transparent and honest throughout that process and do everything I could to make America a little better that day than it was the day before.”
Stormy Daniels: “And I hope to be remembered for being a virgin.”
Jeff Greenfield: “The dream Schultz thought he could hitch his ambitions to—the idea that Americans want an “independent” alternative to partisan nonsense, either from a new, third party or an apolitical outsider—seems every once in a while like it could become solid. The attraction of successful, commanding figure from outside the tawdry business of politics has been with us at least since Henry Ford was touted as a potential chief executive in 1916. Schultz even seemed like the kind of guy who could project a similar appeal, a proud billionaire capitalist whose stores are regarded as places of inclusion and tolerance.”
“But as his colossally inept candidacy demonstrated, America’s interest in a nonpartisan leader is paper-thin—and the more divided we are, the less likely we are to seek out the proverbial dead armadillo in the middle of the road. Historically, Schultz-like figures do best when the parties are much closer than they are right now.”