Monday, September 28, 2020


This isn't particularly surprising:
As Donald Trump’s top campaign aides began a discussion in June 2016 about who the presumptive Republican presidential nominee should select as his running mate, the candidate piped up with an idea.

“I think it should be Ivanka. What about Ivanka as my VP?” Trump asked the assembled group, according to a new book by his former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates set to be published Oct. 13....

In Gates’s telling, Trump’s suggestion of naming to the ticket his then-34-year-old daughter ... was no passing fancy.

Instead, he brought up the idea repeatedly over the following weeks...

Trump was so taken with the concept of his eldest daughter as his vice president — and so cool to other options, including his eventual selection, then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence — that his team polled the idea twice, according to Gates.

It was Ivanka Trump who finally ended the conversation, Gates writes, going to her father to tell him it wasn’t a good idea.
I don't suppose anyone told Donald that it was an unconstitutional idea -- Article II of the Constitution says that the president must be at least 35 years old, and the 12th Amendment says that "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."

(UPDATE: This was simple math, and I got it wrong. Ivanka turned 35 in October 2016. She would have been eligible.)

Many of my Twitter friends thought the president might dump Pence this year and put Ivanka on the ticket instead. I'm sure he didn't do that because he's terrified of offending the religious right. But I wonder if he'd try to replace Pence with Ivanka if he were reelected, knowing he couldn't serve a third term. I'm skeptical because I'm certain he believes he could get around the two-term limit in the Constitution. I'm sure he'd like to find a way to elevate Ivanka. I can imagine him deciding to fire Pence (even though the president doesn't actually have the power to do that). Maybe he'd try to do one of his ridiculous personnel shuffles and ask Pence to serve in another position while Ivanka became VP. Maybe he'd try to make her acting VP, even though that's not really a thing.

Of course, there's bigger Ivanka news in that New York Times story about Trump's taxes:
Examining the Trump Organization’s tax records, a curious pattern emerges: Between 2010 and 2018, Mr. Trump wrote off some $26 million in unexplained “consulting fees” as a business expense across nearly all of his projects.

In most cases the fees were roughly one-fifth of his income....

... there appears to be a closer-to-home explanation for at least some of the fees:... Mr. Trump reduced his taxable income by treating a family member as a consultant, and then deducting the fee as a cost of doing business.

The “consultants” are not identified in the tax records. But evidence of this arrangement was gleaned by comparing the confidential tax records to the financial disclosures Ivanka Trump filed when she joined the White House staff in 2017. Ms. Trump reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Vancouver and Hawaii.

Ms. Trump had been an executive officer of the Trump companies that received profits from and paid the consulting fees for both projects — meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant on the same hotel deals that she helped manage as part of her job at her father’s business.
So Ivanka is a tax cheat -- or at least the beneficiary of tax fraud by her father?

Writer James Surowiecki finds the Ivanka story a bit puzzling.

Surowiecki ultimately finds what he believes is a plausible explanation:

But when has Daddy ever tried to conceal the fact that he likes Ivanka more than he likes his sons?

It seems quite possible that he used the same mechanism to funnel money to the boys -- but the Times couldn't determine that because they never joined the government, therefore they never had to fill out the disclosure form Ivanka completed. Remember, there's about $25 million in consultant's fees unaccounted for.

Meanwhile, this looks bad for Ivanka -- or does it?

I continue to believe that none of the Trumps will ever spend even a single day in a cell. Daddy will probably lose the election, perhaps badly, and members of the family might be prosecuted, but high-dollar white-collar criminals tend to beat the rap in this country.

And that might actually be good for Ivanka's potential political career. Right now, she's much less popular with her father's base than her brother Don Junior -- but if she's prosecuted for tax fraud (you know, by the Deep State), I bet the crazy GOP base will grow to like her. So if she wants to run for office as a Republican someday, she should be hoping to face charges.

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