Posts tagged with "Meet the Press"

Trump campaign aide paid $20,000 a month by Bannon’s shifty We Build the Wall organization

September 2, 2020

Senior Trump campaign official Jason Miller appears to have been paid about $20,000 a month for work done for We Build the Wall, the supposed nonprofit organization co-founded by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, according to public court filings obtained by Salon.

Bannon was arrested along with three others—and charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors who contributed to the fundraising campaign for the “ private border wall”—the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on August 20, according to a report by The Hill.

The We Built the Wall nonprofit — now reportedly under investigation in connection with the federal charges against Bannonstarted paying Miller the same month that Bannon’s associates learned they were under federal investigation, court documents and public reports show.

The Trump campaign has not disclosed any payments to Miller since news of his hiring broke in June, Salon notes—nor has the campaign disclosed any salary payments to campaign manager Bill Stepien, according to mandatory federal filings. Publicly available court documents obtained by Salon together with Federal Election Commission (FEC) records suggest that the campaign is paying Miller $35,000 a month, apparently through non-public indirect transactions.

Although prosecutors do not explicitly name Bannon’s nonprofit in the indictment, the document describes “Non-Profit-1” as predating the crowdfunding campaign and being dedicated to promoting “economic nationalism and American sovereignty.” This would appear to describe the Bannon-founded nonprofit called Citizens of the American Republic (COAR), which first filed a tax return in 2017. Its website says the group “seeks to advance the ideals of Economic Nationalism and American Sovereignty.”

Miller co-hosted a podcast with Bannon for COAR, reportedly beginning in October 2019.

In an August 23 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Miller told host Chuck Todd that although he had worked for COAR, he had not been interviewed by government investigators. “I have not, and from public reports it looks like this investigation was going long before the podcast even started, the podcast and the radio show that I co-hosted with Steve,” Miller said.

While the exact timeline of the federal investigation is not a matter of public record, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner reportedly opened a probe into We Build the Wall in May 2019, but had not been contacted by SDNY investigators despite referring elements of the case to the FBI.

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York have charged Bannon, along with co-defendants Brian Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea, with running a multimillion-dollar fraud and money laundering scheme, in which they secretly siphoned millions of dollars in payments from their We Build the Wall crowdfunding campaign through a shell company as well as an unnamed nonprofit.

The group disguised the allegedly unlawful transactions with fake invoices to hide their own personal takes, according to the indictment.

Bannon denies the charges.

Research contact: @Salon

Giuliani: ‘I never said there was no collusion’

January 18, 2019

And now, from the same man who told Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” that “The truth isn’t the truth” last August comes a new pronouncement.

Referring to the Russia probe, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on January 16, “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign.”

He added, “I said the President of the United States. There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here, conspiring with the Russians to hack the DNC.”

Indeed, according to CNN, “It’s another remarkable statement from Giuliani, given that the President and his supporters have repeatedly denied any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

The cable news network noted, “A person familiar with the matter told CNN last week that [Paul] Manafort, while serving as Trump’s campaign chairman, tried to send internal polling data from the Trump campaign [to] two Kremlin-supporting Ukrainian oligarchs through his associate Konstantin Kilimnik, a Russian national who is linked to Russian intelligence.

When Cuomo asked whether the sharing of this data by Manafort constituted collusion, Giuliani said Trump never shared the polling data himself and only found out about it recently in the news.

“Donald Trump wasn’t giving polling data to anyone,” Giuliani said, adding, “he did not know about it until it was revealed a few weeks ago in an article.”

Giuliani attempted Thursday morning to clean up his remarks, telling CNN’s Dana Bash that he did not intend to send any new signals regarding the Trump legal team’s understanding of the investigation.

“The President did not himself, nor does he have any knowledge of collusion with Russians. If anyone was doing that, he is unaware of it and so am I,” Giuliani said. “But neither he nor I can possibly know what everyone on the campaign was doing.”

Giuliani said collusion is not a crime and the term is now being used broadly to describe contact with Russians.

“I can’t possibly say no one had contact about something or in some way,” he said.

Research contact: @caroline_mkelly

Howard Schultz steps down at Starbucks amid rumors of a presidential run

June 6, 2018

Howard Schultz, who oversaw Starbucks’ growth into a worldwide coffee behemoth over the past 36 years—with 28,000 stores in 77 countries—will step down as executive chairman late this month amid swirling speculation that he is considering running for president in 2020, NBC News reported on June 4.

Holding back tears, Schultz talked to a mix of partners, board members, and former colleagues this week, kvelling, “We are in the business that elevates humanity. It’s about what we’ve been able to create: a unique experience around love and humanity.”

In a memo to his employees, he said, “no person or company is ever perfect,” but that he was proud that the company had balanced “profitability and social conscience, compassion and rigor, and love and responsibility.”

Schultz, 64, who stepped away from his role as chief executive last year, will assume the title of chairman emeritus on June 26, the company said in a statement.

Starbucks lauded him for having “reimagined the Italian coffeehouse tradition in America and redefined the role and responsibility of a publicly held company,” saying that he had demonstrated that “a business can simultaneously deliver best-in-class financial performance and share success with its people and the communities it serves.”

His next move is rumored to be national politics. Indeed, for more than a year, NBC News reports, there has been rampant speculation that Schultz, a fierce critic of President Donald Trump, is gearing up to run for president in 2020.

He told CNN in February that he wouldn’t be a candidate, but when asked about the prospect again in an interview on June 4 with The New York Times, he replied: “I intend to think about a range of options, and that could include public service. But I’m a long way from making any decisions about the future.”

Indeed, according to a June 5 story by Business Insider, pollsters have been tracking Schultz’s potential for nearly a year. Morning Consult, a nonpartisan polling outlet, placed Schultz at 21% favorability among Democrats, based on a national sample of 895 registered members of the party in June 2017—calling him “the most popular 2020 Democratic prospect not named Joe Biden.”

What’s more, he almost made it into the race the last time. In October 2016, a month before Trump was elected, WikiLeaks posted hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign revealing that Schultz had been under consideration  o be Clinton’s running mate—a role that eventually went to Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).

Schultz said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in October 2014 that many of America’s problems stemmed from years of institutional failures in Washington. “As business people and business leaders, we need to take the lead and do what we can to move the country forward,” he said then, adding: “There has to be a balance between profitability and doing everything we can to get the country moving again. And that goes back to Washington. “Washington has let the country down.”

Research contact: @nbcnews