Three important political developments this week were all tied to statements made by government officials:

1 – Trump’s fixer Michael Cohen declared that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment if forced to testify in the Stormy Daniels case.  It’s a huge development that Donald Trump’s closest and longest standing adviser and associate acknowledges his testimony could be incriminating, suggesting culpability in crimes.  It’s also doubly ironic considering what Trump said in September of 2016:

“The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?”

Cohen and Trump are consistently acting like guilty people with crimes to hide, rather than innocent people who don’t fear transparency.  Storm clouds continue to darken over the White House.

2 – As reported by Ronan Farrow, Rex Tillerson while in China made this statement to the Chinese leadership:

“The US side is ready to develop relations with China based on the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.”

This is exactly what China has wanted from the US for decades, and no administration has ever taken such a surrendering stance.  Staff from our hollowed-out and depleted State Department were horrified and scrambled to figure out where the comment came from.  Where did Tillerson get the language? Turns out it came from Jared Kushner’s office. Kushner, you may recall, was accused by our intelligence community of being a “willing idiot” target of Chinese influence agents, and allegedly had secret meetings with Chinese banks to try to get a loan to keep afloat a large NYC office building that his company WAY overpaid for a few years ago and is at risk of defaulting and destroying his family empire. So this historic China policy blunder and giveaway is yet another example of how the corrupt Trump family uses the presidency for profit and to bolster their shady business dealings. Expect to hear more about this.

3 – Interim CFPB director Mick Mulvaney told an American Bankers Association conference in Washington that:

“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”

It’s a disgusting admission that “pay-to-play” is Mulvaney’s core ideology. This quote encapsulates the Trump era and the Republican party, saying that the GOP is for sale and operates to benefit those (lobbyists, billionaires, CEOs) who pay for access. This mindset and governing reality is a cancer on our democracy, in part fostered by the wrongly decided Citizens United case, and must be rejected or we will increasingly become a plutocracy.

The only saving grace here is that the Trump Administration is almost as incompetent as it is crooked.  They can’t keep from saying grotesquely incriminating things in public that unintentionally illuminate their misdeeds and corruption.

Not surprisingly, Rep John Faso has been silent on these (and other) scandals, preferring instead to focus his time and energy on bashing the New York State scaffold law, which doesn’t even fall within his scope as a Congressman.  Which is yet another reason to repeal and replace him with someone who isn’t a prostitute to billionaires and actually cares about the health and well-being of our average citizens.  Keep resisting…

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