Donald Trump Archives - Page 7 of 257 - Florida Politics

Report: Rick Scott to invoke Donald Trump in battle with House

Gov. Rick Scott will is expected to bring President Donald Trump into his battle with the Florida House over taxpayer incentives during a speech at a Republican National Committee fundraiser this weekend.

POLITICO Florida reported Friday that Scott is expected to insert Trump into his messaging. According to excerpts of the speech provided to the news organization, Scott is expected to say that the “biggest surprise President Trump will have in his transition in his transition from business life to political life is the same surprise I had — the number of people who treat politics as a game.”

The Naples Republican is in the middle of a well-publicized fight with House Republicans, led by Speaker Richard Corcoran, who want to shut down Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development agency. Legislation passed the House Appropriations Committee last month that would eliminate the agency and a slew of other economic incentive programs, as well as drastically slash funding for Visit Florida, the state’s tourist marketing agency.

POLITICO Florida reported Scott will also cast House Republicans as hypocrites. According to excerpts provided to POLITICO Florida, Scott is expected to say he has “vowed to fight against this kind of hypocrisy and I know President Trump will do the same thing at the national level.”

History provides a bit of assurance between Donald Trump and Adolf Hitler

When current events became too depressing, I turned to history for possible reassurance. It came from what might seem an unlikely source, Volker Ullrich’s excellent 2016 biography, “Hitler Ascent 1889-1939” published in translation by Alfred A. Knopf.

There are sound reasons to hope that what happened there won’t happen here, as even though it threatens to.

There are of course many similarities between the Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump phenomena, starting with the basic facts that neither new ruler had any prior experience in public service, did not win a majority vote in a fair election, and would sooner lie than speak a truth. Hitler’s megalomania, craving for adulation and contempt for criticism were rooted, as Trump’s seem to be, in a deeply rooted personal insecurity. Hitler had no respect for independent courts or a free press.

Neither does Trump.

Both campaigned as demagogues, owed their success largely to bigotry, promised to make their countries great again, claimed they alone could “fix it,” and gave clear warning that they would attack civil rights. Both harbored worldviews that could — and in Hitler’s case did — lead their countries into massive cruelty and war. With Hitler, it was his determination to rid Germany and then Europe of all Jews and to wage a “decisive” battle against Bolshevism. With Trump it’s the demonization of Mexican immigrants and a craving to do battle with Islam, as whetted by his personal Darth Vader, Steven Bannon.

Trump doesn’t have an organized army of brownshirt thugs, as Hitler did. But he does have followers who don’t need orders to harass Jews, Muslims and foreigners, desecrate cemeteries and commit occasional murders. The list goes on.

But it’s in the dissimilarities that I found strong basis for hope that America won’t go the way the Third Reich did.

Organized dissent virtually disappeared in Germany as soon as President Hindenburg appointed Hitler chancellor in the mistaken belief that he could harmonize a Reichstag paralyzed by multiple parties. People who should have known better thought they could control Hitler better, and use him, if he were in the government rather than screaming at it from outside. And to an extent, a similar self-serving folly characterizes the Republicans in our Congress.

The German population, long inured to authoritarian rule under the Wilhelmine royalty and infested with anti-Semitism, welcomed Hitler.

“It was astonishing not just how quickly, but how easily Germany was turned on its head,” Ulrich writes. He quotes Victor Klemperer, a professor and Jewish diarist who survived against odds: “All counterweights to his power were quickly swallowed up and disappeared.”

Public opinion flipped so quickly that even Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister, was contemptuous of it.

“Now, everyone is a Nazi. It makes me sick,” he said.

But in our United States, there have been massive protests nearly everywhere you look and the anti-Trump, anti-Republican demonstrations vastly overshadow those in support of our potential führer. The Congress reports unprecedented traffic in phone calls, emails and letters. The newspapers Trump hates the most are gaining subscribers handily. The polls show his approval under water; he’s the most unpopular new president since records have been kept.

Let’s keep it up, people.

The Weimar Republic, which was only 14 years old when Hitler accomplished his design to destroy it, had no resilient traditions such as ours of free speech, free press and freedom of petition. It was still possible to censor newspapers and the radio, ban the activity of opposition parties and prohibit their leaders from speaking. Under Hitler, that was expanded to jail and even to kill them on his whim.

Hitler exploited the burning of the Reichstag building — which was blamed on the Communists but which the Nazis welcomed and are still suspected of having caused — to pass emergency measures that extinguished what was left of liberty in Germany. We need to take care here that the next act of terrorism — the question is not whether but when — doesn’t incite Trump to unconstitutional repression. The wholesale deportations and the attempted banning of immigrants and refugees from selected Muslim nations give fair warning that he knows no bounds. Here, at least, we have courts that can stop him. Protecting the independence of those courts is the paramount present responsibility of the Senate Democrats.

Here we still have free elections, but nearly every Republican state legislature has passed or is considering voter suppression laws that clearly target Democrats, and our new attorney general, a lifelong opponent of civil rights, is withdrawing the federal government from the battle. Both parties are guilty of rampant undemocratic gerrymandering, which at the moment heavily favors the Republicans. Here again, the courts will be crucial as to which path America follows.

Hitler used creative accounting to finance his massive arms buildup and extravagant public works projects. Debt and inflation would have destroyed Germany had the war not done so first. Here, Trump is similarly inventive in claiming that Mexico would pay for his great wall and that economic growth will finance his excessive military budget. There should be enough genuine conservatives in Congress to put the lie to that. Thank God for the filibuster.

The most astounding difference between Germany then and the United States Nov. 8 is painfully ironic.

Germans knew almost nothing about Hitler’s personal life before or after he became chancellor. He had been in no business, except for selling his artwork, and so there had been no bankruptcies, no cheated workmen and contractors. There was no Hitler University. There had been the seeds of scandal in the suicide of his niece, Geli Raubal, who lived with him, but he wasn’t present and wasn’t blamed. He was deeply misogynistic in private, once saying that intelligent men should “make sure they get a primitive, stupid woman.” However, he took pains to hide his mistress, Eva Braun, from the public, “to maintain the myth,” as Ulrich puts it, “of the Führer sacrificing himself day and night for his people.” He had never been accused of rape or boasted of groping women in ways that could have gotten him arrested. Nor had there been any massive tax evasion, although he would exempt himself entirely later.

Contrast that to the mountain of Trumpian sleaze, much of it from Trump’s own mouth, that was known to the American public before the election. It helps to explain why nearly 10 million more people voted for candidates not named Trump than voted for him. But for the intervention of a foreign enemy and FBI director James Comey’s October surprise, he likely would have lost the electoral college too. Fixing that anachronism, which has now crowned the trailing candidate five times, ought to be an urgent national priority. Democracies don’t deserve losers.

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Martin Dyckman is a retired associate editor of the Tampa Bay Times. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jeff Sessions says he shouldn’t investigate campaign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he should not be involved in investigating a presidential campaign he had a role in.

Sessions made the comment at a Thursday news conference where he announced he will recuse himself from any investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The move came after revelations that Sessions twice spoke to the Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign.

Sessions rejected any suggestion that he tried to mislead anyone about his contacts with the Russian, saying, “That is not my intent. That is not correct.”

But he says he “should have slowed down and said ‘but I did meet with one Russian official a couple of times.’ “

Acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente will handle any matters related to investigation.

Reprinted with the permission of the Associated Press.

Brian Mast calls for Donald Trump to create Everglades task force

U.S. Rep. Brian Mast wants President Donald Trump to add the Everglades to his infrastructure priority list.

Mast, a Republican from Palm City, took the floor of Congress Thursday to urge Trump to create an “Everglades Restoration Infrastructure Taskforce” and secure full funding to accelerate projects to completion.

“The Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan is the most ambitious ecosystem restoration ever attempted, and represents the ultimate infrastructure package for Florida,” Mast said. “But many critical projects—designed to end harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges and algal blooms into my community—are far behind where they should be and becoming far more costly by the delay in full funding.

Mast pointed out that Trump “has touted his record of building world-class projects ahead of schedule and under budget,” and challenged him to do so with the Everglades restoration.

Mast’s Florida’s Congressional District 18 includes some of the hardest hit coastal areas by last summer’s Algae blooms.

“Mr. Speaker, my constituents have waited long enough to realize the massive benefits of Everglades restoration,” he concluded. “Now let’s seize this moment and put this president and this Congress to work to finish the job.”

More Republicans say AG Jeff Sessions should recuse himself

The Latest on Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ talks with the Soviet ambassador (all times local):

11:25 a.m. attorneyAttorney

The top House Democrat says Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath when he told the Senate Judiciary that he had no contacts with the Russian government and says he should resign.

Nancy Pelosi says, “Perjury is a crime.”

In the meantime, Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida joined a growing chorus of Republicans calling upon Sessions to recuse himself from any investigation on contacts between the Russians and President Donald Trump‘s campaign last year. Graham says, “Somebody other than Jeff needs to do it.”

Graham also tells reporters he is meeting Thursday with FBI Director James Comey and will demand to know whether there is an investigation into the Russia contacts.

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10:58 a.m.

A growing number of Republicans want Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election and ties to the Trump campaign.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman says in a statement that Sessions is a former colleague and a friend, “but I think it would be best for him and for the country to recuse himself from the DOJ Russia probe.”

Portman joins congressmen Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa and Tom Cole in calling for Sessions to recuse himself,

Other Senate Republicans are rallying around Sessions, saying they trust him and that it’s up to Sessions whether to recuse himself.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. He says, “I trust Jeff Sessions to make that decision.”

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10:33 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren joins other Democrats in calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign. She says there should be an independent special prosecutor named to oversee an investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Warren has clashed repeatedly with President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans. The Massachusetts senator reacted in a series of tweets to reports that Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador during the presidential campaign, conversations that seem to contradict sworn statements Sessions gave to Congress during his confirmation hearings.

The White House says Sessions met with the diplomat in his capacity as a then-U.S. senator, not a Trump campaign adviser.

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10:25 a.m.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is calling on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.

Several Republicans and Democrats have called for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election following the revelation he talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign.

The conversations seem to contradict sworn statements Sessions gave to Congress during his confirmation hearings.

Schumer says a special prosecutor is needed to investigate the allegations of Russian interference and also look into whether the investigation has already been compromised by Sessions.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has accused Sessions of “lying under oath” and demanded that he resign.

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10:25 a.m.

Another congressional Republican says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from any investigation into Russia meddling in the election and links to the Trump campaign.

In a statement, congressman Darrell Issa of California joined House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz in calling on Sessions to recuse himself now.

Issa says, “We need a clear-eyed view of what the Russians actually did so that all Americans can have faith in our institutions.”

It is members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who typically meet with foreign ambassadors, not Armed Services Committee lawmakers whose responsibility is oversight of the military and the Pentagon. Congressional contact with Russian officials was limited after the invasion of Crimea and due to Moscow’s close relationship with Syria, a pariah for much of the West.

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9:15 a.m.

A Republican committee chairman says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Utah’s Jason Chaffetz chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He tells MSNBC that Sessions “is going to need to recuse himself at this point.”

The Justice Department has confirmed Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign, a seeming contradiction to sworn statements he gave to Congress.

Chaffetz told MSNBC that Sessions “should further clarify.”

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri called on Sessions to resign, and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont said he should recuse himself.

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8:30 a.m.

A Democratic senator says Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step aside from any role in the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Minnesota’s Al Franken tells MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Sessions’ statements about his contacts with Moscow have been “contradictory.”

At Session’s confirmation hearing in January, Franken asked the then-Alabama senator what he would do if there was evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the 2016 White House race.

Sessions replied he was “unaware of those activities.” But the Justice Department has confirmed that Sessions had two conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.

Franken is calling for an “independent prosecutor” to investigate any links the Trump campaign may have had with the Russian government and says Sessions must “come forward with the truth.”

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8:15 a.m.

A Kremlin spokesman says all the attention given to Jeff Sessions’ meetings with Russia’s U.S. ambassador during the U.S. presidential campaign last year could affect improved ties between the countries.

Sessions — who’s now President Donald Trump’s attorney general — was a senator and policy adviser to Trump’s campaign at the time of the meetings with Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

Dmitry Peskov is the spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Peskov tells reporters that he didn’t know about the meetings. But he says it’s normal for Russian diplomats to meet with U.S. lawmakers.

The White House says Sessions met with the diplomat in his capacity as a senator, rather than as a Trump campaign adviser.

Peskov is characterizing reaction to the news of the meetings as “an emotional atmosphere (that) leads to resistance to the idea of some kind of U.S.-Russia dialogue.”

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7:10 a.m.

A White House spokeswoman is assailing reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions twice talked to Russia’s ambassador to the United States during last year’s presidential campaign.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the reports “the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats.”

She says Sessions “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony” to the Senate Judiciary Committee at a confirmation hearing in January.

Referring to questions on this issue that Sen. Al Franken raised with Sessions at that hearing, she said, “It’s no surprise Senator Al Franken is pushing this story immediately following President Trump’s successful address to the nation.”

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7:00 a.m.

A prominent Russian lawmaker close to the Kremlin is playing down the revelation that the Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russia’s ambassador during the American presidential campaign.

The news that then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who was a policy adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, had discussions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak has added fuel to the controversy over whether Russia was improperly involved with Trump’s campaign. It spurred calls in Congress for Sessions to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Alexei Pushkov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament and former head of the lower chamber’s foreign affairs committee, said Thursday on Twitter: “It turns out that almost the entire US elite has ties to Russia … Paranoia knows no bounds.”

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2:37 a.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign season, communications that spurred calls in Congress for him to recuse himself from a Justice Department investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump and a policy adviser to the Republican candidate, did not disclose those discussions at his confirmation hearing in January when asked what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with officials of the Russian government.

Sessions replied that he had not had communication with the Russians.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Wednesday night that “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”

Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Kathy Castor says Jeff Sessions should resign

Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor joins the chorus of Democrats who are calling for the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions following published reports surfacing that he met twice with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the presidential campaign last year.

The former Alabama senator had said as recently as last month that he had not done so.

“Lying to a congressional committee while you are under sworn oath is illegal,” Castor said Thursday morning. “Attorney General Jeff Sessions should resign and at the very least must recuse himself from the investigation into illegal collusion between Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. President Trump’s failure to release his tax returns (unlike any other presidential candidate or President) continues to be a cloud over his Administration.”

“An open and transparent review of his tax returns could answer questions related to whether or not he or his company have ties to Russia,” she added.

Shortly before Castor released her statement, her fellow Democratic colleague across Tampa Bay, Charlie Crist, was also calling on Sessions to resign.

“As the former Attorney General of Florida, I find Attorney General Sessions’ actions inexcusable, and call for his immediate resignation,” Crist said. “How can we have faith that the duties of the office of the Attorney General will be carried out when the chief legal officer of the country doesn’t tell the truth under oath to the United States Congress.”

At his Senate confirmation hearing last month, Sessions denied ever having met with Sergey Kislyak, the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, during the presidential campaign. However, a report in The Washington Post said that Sessions had met with him twice during the presidential campaign.

Sessions said Thursday that he would consider recusing himself from any investigation that the Justice Department could be conducting related to any ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Charlie Crist calls for Jeff Sessions to resign after reports of meeting with Russian ambassador surface

St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign, a day after published reports surfaced that Sessions met twice with the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the president campaign last year, and yet said last month that he had not done so.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that one of the meetings between Sessions and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak that took place in September in the senator’s office, at the height of what U.S. intelligence officials say was a Russian cyber campaign to upend the U.S. presidential race. Sessions did not disclose those meetings during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he was asked about ties between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

“As the former Attorney General of Florida, I find Attorney General Sessions’ actions inexcusable, and call for his immediate resignation. How can we have faith that the duties of the office of the Attorney General will be carried out when the chief legal officer of the country doesn’t tell the truth under oath to the United States Congress,” said Crist. “It is clear that we need to establish an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate this administration’s Russian connections. The American people demand answers, and we have a responsibility to get to the truth of this Russian imbroglio.”

Crist had previously said that there should be a 9/11-style commission to investigate potential ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Earlier on Thursday, the man Crist lost to in the race for U.S. Senate in 2010, Marco Rubio, would not even go as far as to say that Sessions should recuse himself from any investigations regarding the potential Russian-Donald Trump campaign connection.

“We’re not at that stage yet,” Rubio said speaking with Steve Inskeep Thursday morning on NPR’s Morning Edition. “Let’s take this one step at a time, but this is certainly a relevant story. I want to learn more about it, and I want to learn more about it, and I want to hear from him directly.”

Jeff Sessions spoke with Russian envoy in 2016, Justice Dept says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions talked twice with Russia’s ambassador to the United States during the presidential campaign, the Justice Department confirmed, communications that spurred calls in Congress for him to recuse himself from an investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election.

Sessions, an early supporter of President Donald Trump‘s candidacy and a policy adviser to the Republican, did not disclose those discussions at his Senate confirmation hearing in January when asked what he would do if “anyone affiliated” with the campaign had been in contact with officials of the Russian government.

Sessions replied that he had not had communications with the Russians.

In a statement late Wednesday, Sessions said, “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Wednesday night that “there was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer.”

That statement did not satisfy Democrats, who even before Wednesday had sought his recusal from the ongoing federal investigation and had raised questions about whether he could properly oversee the probe.

Sessions said Thursday in a brief interview with NBC, “I have said that, when it’s appropriate, I will recuse myself.”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders earlier called the disclosure of the talks with the ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, “the latest attack against the Trump administration by partisan Democrats.” She added that Sessions “met with the ambassador in an official capacity as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is entirely consistent with his testimony.”

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi accused Sessions of “lying under oath” and demanded that he resign. Other Democrats called on him to step aside from the investigation.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, appearing Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” show, “I just think he needs to clarify what these meetings were.” The California Republican said it isn’t unusual for members of Congress to meet with ambassadors, but he added that if a question arose about the integrity of a federal investigation, “I think it’d be easier” for an attorney general to step away from the probe.

Sessions had more than 25 conversations with foreign ambassadors last year in his role as a U.S. senator and senior member of the Armed Services Committee, and had two separate interactions with Kislyak, the department confirmed.

One was a visit in September in his capacity as a senator, similar to meetings with envoys from Britain, China, Germany and other nations, the department said.

The other occurred in a group setting following a Heritage Foundation speech that Sessions gave during the summer, when several ambassadors — including the Russian ambassador — approached Sessions after the talk as he was leaving the stage.

Revelations of the contacts, first reported by The Washington Post, came amid a disclosure by three administration officials that White House lawyers have instructed aides to Trump to preserve materials that could be connected to Russian meddling in the American political process.

The officials who confirmed that staffers were instructed to comply with preservation-of-materials directions did so on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly disclose the memo from White House counsel Don McGahn.

On the Sessions revelation, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said: “If reports are accurate that Attorney General Sessions — a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump — met with Ambassador Kislyak during the campaign, and failed to disclose this fact during his confirmation, it is essential that he recuse himself from any role in the investigation of Trump campaign ties to the Russians.”

Asked by reporters Monday about the prospect of a recusal, Sessions had said, “I would recuse myself from anything that I should recuse myself on.”

At the confirmation hearing in January, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota asked Sessions about allegations of contact between Russia and Trump aides during the 2016 election. He asked Sessions what he would do if there were evidence that anyone from the Trump campaign had been in touch with the Russian government during the campaign.

Sessions replied he was “unaware of those activities.”

Then he added: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have, did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

Flores, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said that response was not misleading.

“He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign — not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee,” she said in a statement.

Franken said in a statement he was troubled that the new attorney general’s response to his question was “at best, misleading.” He said he planned to press Sessions on his contact with Russia.

“It’s clearer than ever now that the attorney general cannot, in good faith, oversee an investigation at the Department of Justice and the FBI of the Trump-Russia connection, and he must recuse himself immediately,” Franken said.

Separately in January, Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Judiciary Committee Democrat, asked Sessions in a written questionnaire whether “he had been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day.”

Sessions replied simply, “No.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Trump Taj Mahal

Seminole Tribe buys former Trump Taj Mahal casino in NJ

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is expanding its gambling holdings to the Garden State.

Hard Rock International, which the Tribe controls, Wednesday announced it had bought the shuttered Trump Taj Mahal casino on Atlantic City’s famed boardwalk from billionaire Carl Icahn. The deal includes two New Jersey investors.

The sale comes four months after Icahn closed it amid a crippling strike. A sale price was not disclosed.

The Tribe operates the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood.

“We are excited to be part of this revitalization of Atlantic City creating thousands of jobs to help local employment,” Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International and and Seminole Gaming CEO, said in a statement.

“We are 100 percent convinced Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City will be a success,” he added.

Hard Rock International, which will be majority owner, is in partnership with the Morris and Jingoli families of New Jersey. The investment group said they “will invest more than $300 million to purchase, substantially renovate and re-open the casino,” according to the statement.

The Tribe last year consolidated its control over the rock ‘n’ roll-themed Hard Rock hotel and casino brand, buying out remaining rights from the owner-operator of Las Vegas’ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

President Donald Trump opened the Trump Taj Mahal casino in 1990 but lost control of it in a bankruptcy filing. Icahn bought it last year from a separate bankruptcy, but closed it in October amid a strike by its main casino workers’ union seeking restoration of employee health insurance and pension benefits that Icahn deemed unaffordable.

Icahn, who also owns Atlantic City’s Tropicana, said he only wanted to operate one casino in town. He’s still trying to sell the also closed former Trump Plaza casino, also closed.

The Morris family, led by Edgewood Properties CEO Jack Morris, has experience in redeveloping gambling properties. Edgewood led the redevelopment of Cherry Hill, New Jersey’s former Garden State Park racetrack into a mixed-use “town center” with retail and residences.

Firms controlled by the Jingoli family “specialize … in industrial, health care, education and gaming,” the statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this post, reprinted with permission. 

 

 

Timothy Geithner sees political gridlock as a threat to the United States

The biggest danger to the United States and its economy is the breakdown of the political system in Washington, former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in Tallahassee Wednesday.

“Nothing is more important than improving the quality of the decisions you get in Washington,” Geithner told members of the Economic Club of Florida during a luncheon.

“There’s no threat to us outside the United States that is greater … than that basic challenge. We have no capacity to think about those other threats from outside without taking care first of that fundamental part of the American system,” he said.

“It’s a nice rule in life — start at home. Start to figure out how you can rebuild that basic trust and confidence in this place and it’s capacity to do things. If we do that, then we’ll preserve the confidence and the growth in this place, and we’ll have enough strength that we can deal with any potential threat out there.”

The country’s leaders managed to do that during the 2008 financial crisis, which Geithner helped manage as head of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“We had a political system that ultimately was able to come together — which is kind of rare today, too — across the parties, across administrations, and kept at it to figure out what would work,” Geithner said.

“It was messy, and terrible, and traumatic, and painful, and we’re still with the scars of it. But it made me more confident in our country, because we had pretty good institutions and they didn’t let politics get in the way.”

Geithner served as Treasury secretary between 2009 and 2013, and now is president of the Warburg Pincus hedge fund.

He believes in strong “fire stations” — institutions and regulations to respond to crises that can result when people’s optimism leads them into dangerous risks and financial collapse.

“Regulation can dampen that, but it can’t save us completely. Water will find its way around a stump in the river. People’s desire to earn a better living will sometimes find its way around regulation. That vulnerability, you can’t take out of the system. You should try hard to prevent that stuff from going too far. You have to protect against the risk that prevention fails. You have to have a very strong fire station.”

Asked about the bull market in stocks, particularly since Donald Trump’s election, Geithner said investors expect a stable economy with modest growth and low inflation, and that “things don’t fall apart.”

However, “reality tends to frustrate that.”

He sees political gridlock as a huge problem.

“We’ve lost the capacity in this county for principled compromise,” he said.

“We’re an afraid, wounded, divided country. We’re not a country built to survive long periods of paralysis in politics.”

He cautioned against indulgence in protectionism, “raising a lot of barriers to the world.”

“There’s no plausible external threat to the United States economically or strategically now. That’s likely to be true for some time unless we erode it,” Geithner said.

Asked about the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, now being targeted by Republicans, Geithner said they were written quickly and “came out pretty messy.”

“It’s a good idea to take a look at these things occasionally, and refresh them and redesign them. I always thought that time would come,” he said. “It’s not a bad idea to take a look at it.”

But he cautioned against eroding “the stuff that makes the system more stable.”

“You needed to have more capital in banks, and more conservative funding. That’s existential. You would not want to erode that,” he said.

“We have a dramatically more stable system today. That’s worth a lot. I think it’s overwhelmingly been positive, on balance. Look at other countries’ experience in this context — we have much stronger credit, and the price of credit is very attractive. Could it be better? Sure.”

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