The Trump Inauguration’s ‘Unconscionable Contract’
Reporters Ilya Marritz and Justin Elliott have been reporting on Trump's inauguration since 2018 . They looked at , located just blocks from the White House.
Those negotiations, first reported by Trump, Inc. in 2019, . “Members of the Trump family were aware of and involved in the negotiation of this unconscionable contract,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine wrote in the complaint charging the Trump inaugural committee and the Trump Organization with using around $1 million of charitable funds to improperly enrich the Trump family, filed Wednesday, January 22.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization dismissed the D.C. suit in an emailed statement: “The AG’s claims are false, intentionally misleading and riddled with inaccuracies. The rates charged by the hotel were completely in line with what anyone else would have been charged for an unprecedented event of this enormous magnitude and were reflective of the fact that [sic] hotel had just recently opened, possessed superior facilities and was centrally located on Pennsylvania Avenue. The AG’s after the fact attempt to regulate what discounts it believes the hotel should have provided as well as the timing of this complaint reeks of politics and is a clear PR stunt.”
This episode of Trump, Inc. was originally released on February 20, 2019.
Turning Politics Into Money
For generations, the Trump family has used government and politicians as a path to profit. As president, Donald Trump has taken things even further.
“This guy is a state capitalist,” said Trump’s first biographer, reporter Wayne Barrett, , cited extensively in this episode. “[In] every single one of his major deals, he was designated to be a millionaire and subsequently a billionaire by the government officials that he co-opted and compromised.”
“The Trump family is not shy on transforming their wealth into power in a very crude and brutal way,” says economist “But that's the nature of extreme wealth. When you're extremely wealthy what do you do? You spend your wealth and your time trying to defend your established position.”
This episode is based on reporting from host Andrea Bernstein’s new book at ProPublica.
In 1996, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor and refugee to America sat down with an interviewer from the USC Shoah Foundation to recount what she had experienced.
“If we’re not going to tell now, in 20 years I don’t know who’s going to be to tell,” Rae Kushner said in her Yiddish-accented English. “And now we have still the strength and we have the power to do this and to warn the rest of the world to be careful who is coming up on top of your government.”
Rae’s grandson Jared is now one of the most powerful people in the U.S. government. President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, he is an influential voice on some of the nation’s most pressing issues, including immigration across the southern border. And to understand him, you need to understand his family story.
This episode is based on reporting from host Andrea Bernstein’s new book at The New Yorker.
In the summer of 2019, Donald Trump Jr. traveled to Mongolia. On Instagram, "Guys I'm back after living the Yurt Life...We covered many miles on horseback and 4WD...Truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen."
He didn't mention the fact that he shot and killed an endangered argali sheep. Or that the Mongolian government issued him a hunting permit after the shoot.
We learned that in many respects, Trump Jr.'s visit blurred the lines between private citizen and diplomacy. Trump Jr. even had a meeting with the Mongolian President.
about WNYC and ProPublica's investigations into the Trump family business.
Three women recall Gordon Sondland made unwanted sexual contact in business settings. One says he exposed himself. All recall professional retaliation after they rejected him. Sondland denies the allegations.
Sondland is the US Ambassador to the European Union. He also served as a point-man for President Trump in Ukraine, as Trump put a hold on military aid. Then, Sondland became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry.
Long before Sondland moved his residence to a Brussels mansion, he was a high-profile hotelier and philanthropist in the Pacific Northwest. In Portland, he has long been a powerful investor, political donor, and patron of the arts.
about WNYC and ProPublica's investigations into the president's business practices.
He’s the President, yet trying to answer basic questions about how his business works: What deals are happening, who they’re happening with, and if the President and his family are keeping their promise to separate the Trump Organization from the Trump White House. "Trump, Inc." is a joint reporting project from WNYC Studios and ProPublica that digs deep into those questions. We’ll be laying out what we know, what we don’t, and how you can help us fill in the gaps. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Freakonomics Radio, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.
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