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Last Men And OverMen

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Have a Little Conflict in Instanbul

These are his own words. He said these words to: yep, Stephen Bannon. As Morning Joe said today, you could never get this script written. Just not plausible for anything to be this on the nose.

“Could Trump’s Financial Ties Have Influenced His Phone Call With Erdogan?”

“The president’s property in Istanbul looms over his interactions with Turkey’s leader, whether he wants it to or not.”

Trump’s congratulatory phone call to Erdogan for a dubious election win that rolls back demoracy can be seen in two ways.

1. First is the business conflicts of interest.

2. Second is the fact that Trump seems to admire dictators. One can’t help but wonder if Trump wishes he could do in our country what Erdogan did in Turkey-crush democracy.

“The occasion of an American president congratulating Turkey’s Islamist autocrat on a plebiscite that failed to meet international election standards and that yielded to him, the autocrat, near absolute powers is a shameful moment in U.S. history. Donald Trump ran on an agenda of American retrenchment and introversion, and he doesn’t have much use for a “freedom agenda.” Nor, however, is Trump cut in precisely the same mold as his reactionary, paleo-realist core supporters who see the world in purely transactional terms. It’s hard to say what Trump’s vision for the United States is, but it is surely not one that encourages the aspirations of those who strive to live free.”

“According to the dubious official tally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won his referendum on a new Turkish constitution with just over 51 percent of the vote. As Michael Rubin wrote for COMMENTARY, the run-up to the vote was typified by Erdoğan’s security services monopolizing national media, shutting down opposition activities, and arresting at least 117 anti- Erdoğan petitioners. According to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers, Turkish officials violated Turkish election law when they made a last-minute decision to accept ballots that were not officially stamped while the voting was already underway. Despite threats, intimidation, and an apparently rigged system, nearly 49 percent of Turkey’s referendum voters still said “no.”

“Erdoğan has already provided extraordinary emergency authority to police following last summer’s failed coup—an event that allowed him to purge Turkey’s military of its remaining secularist elements and focus the nation on the influence of Erdoğan’s enemies abroad. When the referendum goes into effect, Turkey’s president will be able to rule virtually by decree. The post of prime minister will be abolished. The president will be able to choose his ministers and vice presidents, and they will be immune from prosecution. There will be no confirmation process. The new constitution gives the president and parliament equally shared power to appoint representatives to the body that selects the nation’s prosecutors and judges. Parliament will be unable to undertake any investigation into the behavior of the chief executive or his subordinates.”

“This isn’t anything an American president should be thrilled about. Yet, Trump took the opportunity to personally congratulate Erdoğan on his “victory,” while reportedly raising no concerns about the vote’s validity, before getting down to more substantive matters regarding Turkish-American cooperation in Syria.”

It seems unlikely that Trump-who refused to shake Angela Merkel’s hand-admires Erdogan despite his crackdown on democracy.

But back to number 1: I have a little conflict on interest in Istanbul. 

“Trump and his team have for the most part denied that the president’s properties and other businesses around the world create conflicts of interest. But that’s not the case for Trump Towers in Istanbul. In a 2015 interview with Steve Bannon, at the time the executive chair of Breitbart News, then-candidate Trump acknowledged, “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul.” That didn’t stop him from bringing up the properties, albeit obliquely, when he spoke with Erdogan shortly after winning the presidency in November: In that phone call, Trump relayed praise for Erdogan from one of Trump’s business partners in the region. Critics were quick to point out the conflict of interest after Trump’s most recent conversation with Erdogan, as well as to note a 2012 tweet from the president’s daughter Ivanka thanking Erdogan for attending the launch of Trump Towers in Istanbul.”

Then you have Trump’s former NSC head, foreign agent Michael Flynn:

“This is not the first time that Trump has demonstrated an affinity for Erdogan. In July 2016, amid a major civil-liberties crackdown in Turkey after a failed coup, Trump praised Erdogan for “turning it around.” And his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn registered as a paid foreign agent for Erdogan’s government shortly after he was ousted from his position within the administration.”

Again, this script would never get made into the movie.

P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.

There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.

Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.

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