We are so close to the weekend.
What have you missed today in politics while you were anxiously monitoring the markets? A lot.
Time’s Up For The Trump family
On Thursday, June 14, the Attorney General of New York, Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit to bar the Trump family from getting involved with any charities.
In the complaint, Underwood claims that the Trump family misused charitable resources.
The filing “alleges a pattern of persistent illegal conduct, occurring over more than a decade, that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump’s personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations.”
The Trump family has faced heavy scrutiny for charitable donations in the past. Now, New York is saying that enough is enough.
The lawsuit also said, “As alleged in the petition, Mr. Trump used the Trump Foundation’s charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, to promote Trump hotels and other businesses, and to purchase personal items. In addition, at Mr. Trump’s behest, the Trump Foundation illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign by using the Trump Foundation’s name and funds it raised from the public to promote his campaign for presidency, including in the days before the Iowa nominating caucuses.”
Is time up for the Trump family shenanigans? Or is this just the latest one to be unveiled?
Trump responded to the lawsuit in—you guessed it!—a series of tweets.
The sleazy New York Democrats, and their now disgraced (and run out of town) A.G. Eric Schneiderman, are doing everything they can to sue me on a foundation that took in $18,800,000 and gave out to charity more money than it took in, $19,200,000. I won’t settle this case!…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
….Schneiderman, who ran the Clinton campaign in New York, never had the guts to bring this ridiculous case, which lingered in their office for almost 2 years. Now he resigned his office in disgrace, and his disciples brought it when we would not settle.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 14, 2018
It might be worth mentioning that Trump also said that he wasn’t going to settle the Trump University case, and then settled it.
Guess time will only tell how this will play out.
Why is the market ignoring Trump tariff threats? TheStreet’s Executive Editor Brian Sozzi discusses below.
About Those Emails…
The Justice Department found that James Comey, the ex-FBI director turned author, was insubordinate in his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, which he publicly discussed while she was running against Trump for president.
But it doesn’t seem like Comey’s insubordination affected the outcome of the investigation.
On the other hand, we also got the full report from the Inspector General’s office.
The report, which is a whopping 568 pages, details the investigation into the Clinton emails. Forget what happened there? Basically, the FBI opened an investigation into Clinton’s conduct while secretary of state after it was revealed that she had handled classified information on her personal email account. Yeah, that’s definitely a no-go.
Here’s what’s important.
- Comey’s team didn’t try to obtain all of the devices, “including those of Clinton’s senior aides, or the contents of every email account through which a classified email may have traversed. [The inspector general] found that the reasons for not doing so were based on limitations the midyear team imposed on the investigation’s scope, the desire to complete the investigation well before the election, and the belief that the foregone evidence was likely of limited value.”
- The July 5, 2016 public statement by Comey, which came as a surprise to the Inspector General. “Comey acknowledged that he made a conscious decision not to tell Department leadership about his plans to make a separate statement because he was concerned that they would instruct him not to do it. He also acknowledged that he made this decision when he first conceived of the idea to do the statement, even as he continued to engage the Department in discussions about the “endgame” for the investigation,” stated the report. “We found that it was extraordinary and insubordinate for Comey to do so, and we found none of his reasons to be a persuasive basis for deviating from well-established Department policies.”
- The IG found no evidence of political bias in the investigation. It stated, “we did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative decisions we reviewed.”
Because it seems like it’s what all of the cool kids are doing today, Comey tweeted out his response to the report.
I respect the DOJ IG office, which is why I urged them to do this review. The conclusions are reasonable, even though I disagree with some. People of good faith can see an unprecedented situation differently. I pray no Director faces it again. Thanks to IG’s people for hard work.
— James Comey (@Comey) June 14, 2018
Trump Wasn’t a Fan of AT&T Hopping in Bed With Time Warner
This may seem like old news, but it’s pretty important in the light of Comcast Corp.’s (CMCSA) bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOX) and the potential bidding war that may be sparked between Comcast and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) .
Need more insight into the M&A market? Watch a chat with a veteran Wall Street deal-maker below.
The Department of Justice claimed that an acquisition of Time Warner Inc. (TWX) by AT&T violated antitrust laws and took the company to court. AT&T said bring it. On Tuesday, June 12, the presiding judge ruled in favor of AT&T. The DOJ slunk off and seems to be licking its wounds before deciding whether it’ll appeal the decision.
But, let’s circle back to the politics of this all.
Time Warner’s Gary Ginsberg said in a statement that, “The Court’s resounding rejection of the government’s arguments is confirmation that this was a case that was baseless, political in its motivation and should never have been brought in the first place.”
Those are some fightin’ words, Ginsberg.
Trump has been against the merger from the get-go. During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke against the merger at a campaign event.
When the suit was filed, CNN reported that Trump said, “Personally, I’ve always felt that that was a deal that’s not good for the country … I think your pricing is going to go up. But I’m not going to get involved. It’s litigation.”
According to CNN, “President Trump had no immediate tweet on the ruling.”
Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s antitrust division, said that “It does not change our views that structural remedies [are] the best way to protect American consumers.”
At TheDeal’s Corporate Governance conference on June 7, Delrahim spoke about antitrust laws. He said that he believes, “Competiton in general is great. [It] lowers bills and it provides innovation.”
But will the AT&T-Time Warner merger lower competition or make it a bigger competitor against companies like Netflix Inc. (NFLX) or Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , which are sweeping the online streaming market.
Alright, now that you’re all caught up, it’s time to relax.
Remember, we’re one day away.