Senior Editor, GEN by Medium. Previously: Pacific Standard, Wired

Trump Corruption Index

Some acts were criminal, others impeachable. But it’s important to remember the little things.

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Last June, my editors tasked me with an interesting, if arduous, assignment — compile a weekly record of the graft and double-dealing of the Trump administration. The dishonesty had started on day one, so we were admittedly late to the game. (But GEN began in 2019, so cut us some slack!) By summer 2020, the corruption was everywhere; it was a part of everything and everyone. The idea was to create a weekly bulleted index aggregating all the stories and developments. We called it the “Trump Corruption Index.” And we never lacked for material.

Since then, the president has been impeached a second time for his role in inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol, and he’s about to hand over the keys to the Oval Office to the same guy he tried to get Ukraine to smear in 2019 — a stunt that earned him his first impeachment. …


The Senate could vote to bar him from ever running for office again

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Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

Less than a week before President Trump’s term ends, the House has voted to impeach him for the second time. But the Senate is in recess until January 19, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday rejected the call for an emergency session for Trump’s impeachment trial. That means a trial wouldn’t take place until Trump is out of office.

Can you even impeach a former president?

The constitutionality of impeaching a former president is murky. While you obviously can’t remove someone from a position they don’t currently hold, senators can hold a separate vote to prevent that person from ever seeking public office again.

Some experts believe a former president, as a private citizen, would be exempt from any process geared toward public servants; others say the penalty of being barred from holding office should clearly apply to former officials as well. And, for what it’s forth, many top lawmakers over the years have supported the impeachment of former presidents. Former Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter, for example, once suggested that Bill Clinton be re-impeached for pardoning Marc Rich, a wealthy Democratic donor and fugitive, on his last day in office. More recently, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, a close Trump ally, said he believed former president Barack Obama should be impeached. …


TRUMP CORRUPTION INDEX

Trump faces blowback after he incited a mob to storm the Capitol, and even loyalists doubt he can self-pardon his way out of this one

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Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

Impeachment round 2

House Democrats are planning to vote on Wednesday to once again impeach President Trump, this time for his role in inciting an insurrection at the Capitol last week, where rioters killed a Capitol Police officer. Unlike the last go-round, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is reportedly quite pleased that Democrats are trying to impeach the president, telling colleagues he hopes it helps to finally rid the party of Trump. McConnell’s comments underscore the GOP’s growing disillusionment with the president: Up to a dozen House Republicans are expected to vote to impeach Trump. Still, it appears unlikely that the Senate would vote to impeach Trump, both because it may not get the required two-thirds vote and because it’s unclear whether the current Senate will even hold a trial for a by-then-former president. That said, a soon-to-be-Democrat-controlled Senate might still hold a separate, simple-majority vote to bar Trump from ever seeking office again. The House impeachment vote follows House Democrats’ failed efforts to urge Vice President Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and, in concert with a majority of Cabinet officials, seek to remove Trump from office. …


Trump Corruption Index

Trump makes a last-gasp attempt to overturn the election results; Sidney Powell is threatened with a lawsuit

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Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

Dialing up the corruption to 11

On Saturday, President Donald Trump held an hourlong call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to discuss his general election loss in the state to President-elect Joe Biden. During the call, which was recorded and shared with the Washington Post, Trump repeatedly pressured Raffensperger to reverse the election outcome, urging him at one point to simply “find” the votes. “There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, that you’ve recalculated,” Trump said on the call. “I think you have to say that you’re going to reexamine it.” Democrats immediately demanded investigations, with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris calling the recording a “bald-faced, bold abuse of power by the president of the United States.” Even some top Republicans criticized Trump over the call, with Sen. Pat Toomey calling it a “new low in this whole futile and sorry episode.” …


Grassroots groups helped turn out a record number of voters

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A volunteer distributes voter care packages at a block party for Georgia Democratic Senate candidates Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Growing up as a Vietnamese immigrant in Georgia, Quynh Nguyen saw firsthand the barriers that can prevent foreign-born Americans from participating in the electoral process. “My mom and dad speak English,” she says, “but not well enough to understand that there’s a website where they can check their voter registration status.”

Nguyen has devoted her career to helping members of her community navigate the voting system. …


How I Got Through This

His name is Alfie, he is 16 years old, and he is my whole world

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Photo illustration; source images courtesy of the author

Alfie is a picky eater. Unless you’ve got a tuna-and-chicken bisque on hand — and not just any bisque, it’s got to be a specific senior-branded bisque made by Hartz Delectables — he won’t give a shit what you’ve put in his bowl. I learned this lesson the hard way. Over the last few months, I have spent close to $200 on different brands and flavors of cat food, always to no avail. Any time I’ve tried a divergence, he’ll simply perch next to his food bowl and glare at me through cloudy narrowed eyes. …


Trump Corruption Index

This week we saw yet another failed attempt by the White House to discount the election results, plus a potential incentive behind the Texas AG’s absurd election lawsuit

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Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

He will not go gentle into that good night

Even in the wake of President-elect Biden’s Electoral College victory, the Trump administration continues its campaign to deny the results of the election. On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany refused to acknowledge Biden’s victory, claiming that Trump “is still involved in ongoing litigation related to the election,” according to the Washington Post. All of Trump’s litigation efforts have thus far failed, with both liberal and conservative judges ruling against his legal team. In fact, eight Trump-appointed judges have ruled against or refused to support Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud, according to a Post analysis. Now that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has finally acknowledged Biden’s win, Trump is left with a last-ditch challenge on the House floor to overturn the results — an effort that’s all but guaranteed to fail. When asked whether Trump plans to invite Biden to the White House, McEnany declined to answer. …


No, political interests have not warped the vaccine approval process. Over at Elemental, journalist Tara Haelle spoke with medical experts about the coming Covid vaccine and why we should feel…


TRUMP CORRUPTION INDEX

This week, we saw a judge throw out the case against Michael Flynn, plus another failed attempt by Trump to overthrow election results

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Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

A Keystone State groaner

In a last-ditch effort to undermine President-elect Biden’s 80,000-vote victory in the Keystone State, President Trump has tried twice over the past few days to discuss with the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives whether he can challenge the election results, the New York Times reported Tuesday. “[Trump] did ask what options were available to the legislature,” said a spokesperson for the state House Speaker Bryan Cutler, but “Cutler made it very clear what power the legislature has and does not have.” The Trump campaign had filed a series of lawsuits alleging voting fraud in Pennsylvania, but all were dismissed by state and federal courts. …


TRUMP CORRUPTION INDEX

Cashing in on claims of election fraud, plus some sketchy pardon practices

Text “Trump Corruption Index” juxtaposed on top of a series of redacted black bars

Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.

Trump’s defense fund is really a piggy bank

While President Trump’s assault on the election results has done next to nothing to prevent Joe Biden from moving into the White House come January, his campaign has raised more than $150 million through fundraising efforts, the Washington Post reported on Monday. A good deal of that money will go into an account that Trump can use for political activities after he leaves office, and some will go toward continuing to push a legal fight that’s based on totally unfounded claims of voter fraud. The surge of donations tops fundraising records set during the campaign and comes mostly from small-dollar donors, many of whom have been inundated with hundreds of messages asking for help combating voter fraud. …

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