June 16, 2017
By Joe Kloc
U.S. President and Celebrity Apprentice executive producer Donald Trump, whose campaign speeches encouraged supporters to “knock the crap” out of Democrats, whose butler said former president Barack Obama should be “hung,” and whose campaign advisor said his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot,” stated in response to the shooting of Republican representative Steve Scalise that Americans are “strongest” when they are “unified”; and then tweeted that the Democratic party should be investigated for its ties to Russia. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general and former campaign surrogate, told Congress he did not “believe” he had any contact with agents of Russian companies during Trump’s presidential run, and a lobbyist for a state-run Russian energy company said Sessions had hosted him for dinner on two occasions during the campaign. Former FBI director James Comey testified that prior to being fired by Trump he had not been investigating the president directly for his campaign’s ties to Russia, and Trump said that he was “100 percent” willing to testify before Congress. It was later reported that special counsel Robert Mueller had opened an investigation into Trump for firing Comey, and the White House said Trump was not willing testify before Congress. Trump tweeted that the Russia probe is a “witch hunt” being led by his own deputy attorney general, and it was reported that Mueller had begun investigating Trump associates for money laundering and that the charity foundation of Trump’s son Eric paid the Trump Organization more than $1 million for the use of a Trump golf course, which Eric had previously said had not charged the charity. Eric, who said it wasn’t inappropriate that he still discussed Trump Organization profit reports with his father, said that his father had “zero conflicts of interest”; and Trump selected Eric’s wedding planner to run the multibillion-dollar federal housing department in New York. Trump’s daughter Ivanka published photos of her condo depicting an art collection that was not disclosed to the federal government by her husband, Jared Kushner, who is a senior advisor to Trump and whose former real-estate company reportedly offered potential Chinese investors green cards in exchange for financing a New Jersey housing development. Five members of Congress from Oregon joined a lawsuit alleging that Trump has illegally received money from foreign governments, citing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ownership of a floor of Trump World Tower, the United Arab Emirates’ leasing of space in Trump Tower, and foreign diplomats’ booking of rooms at Trump International Hotel, which is located five blocks from the White House. Mueller hired 13 lawyers to assist him in his probe of the Trump administration, Vice President Mike Pence hired a lawyer, and the personal lawyer for Trump, a former casino owner who was once sued for non-payment by lawyers who had defended him against claims that he hadn’t paid his workers, hired a lawyer.