Kushner Companies got a sweet deal, and so have wealthy Latin American elites looking to circumvent the immigration system
Is there enough graft, double-dealing, and self-interested chicanery in the Trump administration to publish this column every week? Only time — and Trump — will tell. (But we feel pretty confident.) Presenting this week’s installment of the Trump Corruption Index.
The art of the deal (for your son-in-law’s business)
Kushner Companies’ properties have a history of underperforming, and yet the company received an incredibly sweet deal from the government-backed lender Freddie Mac last year, according to a new ProPublica and WNYC investigation. While the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was not involved in the deal, his sister, Nicole Kushner Meyer, was. The family company received an almost record-breaking loan under uncommonly favorable terms, including being able “to make lower monthly payments and borrow more money than was typical for similar loans,” the investigation reads. If the company defaults, U.S. taxpayers could foot most of the nearly $850 million in Freddie Mac financing that the Kushners’ organization received. Freddie Mac denies that politics played a role.
- Corrupt-o-meter (out of a possible five emojis): 🤷♂️💸🏗🏢
It’s always great to put politics over science!
The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan watchdog agency, is investigating whether the Trump administration improperly interfered with the coronavirus response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The investigation comes a month after Politico reported that Trump administration officials attempted to make the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports reflect Trump’s optimistic pandemic messaging, even if it wasn’t true.
- Corrupt-o-meter (out of a possible five emojis): 🦠🦠🦠🦠
Doing the boss’ dirty work
The director of national intelligence is meant to operate independently from the president. However, that didn’t stop DNI John Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist, from undercutting the intelligence community and the FBI by falsely claiming that stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop are not part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Both the Senate Intelligence Committee and intelligence officials have long maintained a Russian disinformation campaign is behind allegations that Joe Biden in Ukrainian politics to protect his son Hunter. Denying this reality like Ratcliffe did only benefits Trump’s presidential bid.
- Corrupt-o-meter (out of a possible five emojis): 🕵️♂️🕵️♂️🕵️♂️
You get a visa, and you get a visa!
Despite Trump’s hardline immigration policies, wealthy Latin American expatriates have been able to exploit the loopholes in the system and their political connections to relocate in the United States — all while immigration authorities just watch on, according to a new international investigative effort led by the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.
- Corrupt-o-meter (out of a possible five emojis): 💸💸💸