There’s always a bigger scandal


Coronavirus has, once again, provided good cover for President Trump’s ongoing attack on American democracy and his weakening of any limits on his power. Last Friday, Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick, the fourth inspector general the president has pushed out since early April. In a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Trump explained that he had let Linick go because he no longer had “the fullest confidence” in him.

Yet the rapid purge of four independent government watchdogs in less than two months suggests that Trump has other, more nefarious, motivations. As Vox’s Zack Beauchamp wrote back in early April when the bloodbath began, Trump’s removal of these four inspectors general represents nothing less than “a war on the very concept of oversight.” While Americans are busy watching the latest developments regarding COVID-19, Trump is making sure there’s no one left in the government to watch him.

That’s not surprising given everything that Trump and his surrogates are up to. Even for an administration as scandal-engaged as this one — to call it “scandal-plagued” would suggest a certain passive, if not entirely innocent, nature — the ramp up of corruptions during coronavirus has been particularly outrageous.

Just this week, news broke that a Trump-favored construction firm had won a $1.3 billion contract to build a section of the border wall. No matter that an earlier contract awarded to the same firm was facing an inspector general audit over potentially improper political influence.

Earlier this month, word came that the federal vaccine chief, Dr. Richard Bright, had been removed from his position in apparent retaliation for his filing of a whistleblowing complaint about the government’s poor response to coronavirus. Trump groused that Bright was just a “disgruntled employee” who was trying to help the Democrats. So twisted is Trump’s mind that he can only imagine Bright — the very man tasked with leading the government’s efforts to find a vaccine — as really being a stealth agent for Joe Biden.

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Meanwhile, Jared Kushner staffed the government’s PPE procurement team with young investment bankers who were told, as the New York Times reported, to prioritize any leads that came from Trump’s political allies or business cronies. The result? Critical lost time, wasteful, overpriced deals, and millions of dollars of fraud already. Just the normal cost of doing business with the Trump family.

And then there’s the recent decision by the Justice Department to drop all charges against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a man who twice pled guilty regarding his role in the Russia investigation. No wonder the president’s lawyers are now arguing before the Supreme Court that Trump is above the law and immune from investigation, an extraordinary contention but one that every prior capitulation to Trump’s lawlessness has led to.

For a man who promised to “drain the swamp” when he got to Washington, Trump instead has extravagantly flooded the quagmire, reveling in its muck, siphoning what he can to his wallet, and …read more

Source:: The Week – Politics


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