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Trump’s Pick For Legal Advisor Shows He’s Dead Set On Nuking Democracy

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Trump’s Pick For Legal Advisor Shows He’s Dead Set On Nuking Democracy

Mcgahn picked for Trump's White House counsel

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet. 

When Hillary Clinton lost the Electoral College, most post-mortems faulted Democrats for failing to empathize with the anger and abandonment non-coastal Americans are feeling. But last week, when Donald Trump sucked up to the (previously dishonest, subsequently gem-like) New York Timesflip-flopping six times in an hour-long interview, I wondered whether his backtracking might be causing some of his supporters to feel abandoned. If they are, I empathize with their incipient buyer’s remorse. I imagine they must feel a bit like Bernie Madoff’s investors did, after realizing they’d been conned.

During the campaign, Trump said that he alone understood the plight of the everyday people hurting in this economy. But he didn’t pretend to be one of them. He didn’t hide the fact that he’s a billionaire living in a Manhattan tower and a Palm Beach palace in gold-leaf-and-marble opulence suitable for a shah. Instead, he depicted his wealth as an asset: Only a royal could bring down the monarchy. He offered his gilded grandeur as proof that his attack on the corrupt political system sprang directly from inside knowledge. Only a recovering, self-funded plutocrat who had once greased the palms of pols could drive the whores from the temple of democracy.

Campaign finance reform was the one place Trump connected with me. It was the same spot Bernie Sanders connected with me, though Sanders lacked a sinner’s conversion story. Getting big money out of politics is a prerequisite for fixing almost everything else in our dysfunctional system. That’s my song, and in the primaries, Trump and Sanders sang it loudest.

I wonder how many Trump voters who were attracted by his drain-the-swamp rhetoric noticed his pick last week for White House counsel. Trump could not have announced a more in-your-face betrayal of his promise to clean up Washington than his selection of Donald McGahn. McGahn is anti-matter to Sanders’ matter. He’s like kryptonite to campaign finance reform. He’ll be the chief ethics lawyer charged with telling Trump when there’s a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, between carrying out his oath of office and jacking up his family’s wealth. When might that be? Don’t hold your breath.

McGahn’s background includes serving as counsel and ethics advisor to former Rep. Tom Delay, who was indicted for conspiring to launder corporate cash into campaign contributions for Delay’s PAC. In 2008, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, a veteran denigrator of campaign finance reform, urged George W. Bush to appoint McGahn as chair of the Federal Election Commission. With the possible exception of the Supreme Court, no public body has been more responsible for keeping our campaign finance system a cesspool than the FEC under McGahn’s leadership.

McGahn’s FEC ensured that the Court’s rulings for Citizens United and against the McCain-Feingold reforms would gut the regulation of money in politics, paving the way for super PACs and bogus “social welfare” nonprofits like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS. When a Washington lawyer called McGahn “one of the most consequential commissioners the FEC’s ever had,” Democratic FEC commissioner Ellen Weintraub commented, “He was consequential like a sledgehammer was consequential. He did his best to undermine the law.” Since his tenure at the FEC, according to Forbes, McGahn worked for the Koch brothers’ Freedom Partners Chambers of Commerce, which “has given grants worth a total of $236 million to right-wing political groups like the Tea Party.” Excellent training for joining the Trump campaign.

A deeper denizen of the Beltway is hard to imagine. Yet this is the Solomon whose portfolio includes telling Trump when he and his family blur the line between the financial interest of the Trump Organization and the national interest of the United States. If you read the jaw-dropping 7,000-word lead story in Sunday’s New York Times, “World of Potential Conflict for a Developer President: Many Trump Partners Have Ties to Foreign Governments as Work Spans the Globe,” you know how thick Trump’s business ties are to the governments of the Philippines, Brazil, India, Turkey, Ireland and Scotland, to name a few. If a U.S. foreign policy decision appears to favor a Trump commercial project, it’s McGahn’s job to blow the whistle on the president. And if you think that’s going to happen, I’ve got a golf course with a nice view of a wind farm that I’d like to sell you.

Eight out of 10 Americans say, “the influence of money in politics is worse than at any other point in their lifetime, and 70 percent believe our democracy is at risk if we do not take immediate steps to fix the problem.”

Donald Trump tells us he’ll fix that problem. He also tells us he only hires the best people. Donald McGahn is the best person he could find to keep the money in politics that puts our democracy at risk.

IMAGE: Donald McGahn, lawyer and Trump advisor, exits following a meeting of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s national finance team at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York City, U.S., June 9, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid



  1. sigrid28 November 29, 2016

    So far President-elect Trump seems to be draining the swamp by swamping the White House itself with the appointments to his administration.

    1. FireBaron November 30, 2016

      Maybe he thinks they will soak up all the muck in their $800/pair Italian shoes?

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 29, 2016

    “Drain the Swamp”, “Out with the Establishment”, “Make America Great Again”—All very catchy and rosy slogans used to dissuade mature adults from using their minds and to blind them to the peddling of snake oil by Donald.
    Narrowly focusing on secular and mundane issues, over-emphasis on the economy albeit an important consideration, not speaking sloganeering terms which might have appealed to another segment, misses the core problem afflicting the American public.
    That is, a tunnel-vision focus on the economy and materialism without thinking about building a sense of unity that cuts through barriers posed by the limited unities of “race”, nationalism, political affiliations, and class structures.

    But, Donald is perhaps one form of enema America needs to help flush out the crud that has accumulated over the past centuries. His picks so far will act as suitable ancillary enema agents—hopefully, they will be fast-acting agents and not result in too many more acts of hostilities already being launched, thanks to Donald’s passivity in the face of the resurgence of hate in the country.

    1. kep November 30, 2016

      The hate and division in this country falls right in the lap of Emperor Obama and the liberal communist infiltraters. It was not until the “black messiah Muslim ” was placed in power that our country started to go backward in race relations. Obama is a true racist, supporting thugs and criminals that kill or try to kill police. Not surprising considering that liberals want to “fundamentally transform ” America into a soviet style communist regime.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 30, 2016

        Kep, in America and most of the developed world, we have something called a dictionary. You should learn to use it—start with “racism” first. Once you’re familiar with the definition and how and when to use it, you’ll avoid making foolish comments like your previous one.
        Open the dictionary and look at the top pages until you see “R” and look down the page until you see “racism”. Let me know if you need help.

        1. kep December 1, 2016

          I have no problem with definitions but you seem to have a real problem with reality. I suppose you are having a problem translating from Russian to English? Emperor Obama IS a racist. And liberals ARE communists. Drink some more vodka and get an up to date russian/English trnklator. It would help you immensely.

          1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 1, 2016

            Your sense of reality is a warped one and so many of us don’t relate to your Twilight Zone. To say that liberals are communists is a whack and ridiculous generalization—one may as well say that all conservatives are Nazis and misfits from Hell.
            All in all, you’re too infatuated with Trump, and fawning over him and conservatism is unnatural and illogical.

          2. kep December 2, 2016

            My question would be why cant you see what millions of Americans see? Why can’t you see that liberals have been transforming America into a communist regime? This is Krushchevs statement being fulfilled.
            There has NEVER been a country that has embraced socialism, Marxism, or communism that has succeeded and flourished. America was designed to be a Republic, governed by its own people. We were never designed to have a ruling class, yet we have allowed our politicians to become just that. What you are calling unnatural and illogical is just the opposite. Conservatives want to restore our country to what it should be. Our Constitution should be followed, a9nd not dismissed as outdated, and just a suggestion.
            No, i don’t believe ALL liberals are liars and bad people, but most that post here are either so brainwashed, or so dedicated to the communist party that they should be considered an enemy to freedom throughout the world.

          3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth December 2, 2016

            Kep, you’re sounding more like Joe McCarthy everyday, and you have the urge to keep coming back to this forum to read comments that get you riled. Not being content with this moronic regimen of yours, you then feel obliged to rant about your superiority of thought and values over so-called “liberals”.

            Is your whole world so twisted that you can only see in shades of “liberal” and “conservative”?
            You’ve been blinded by partisan politics and your very nature is so contorted that you no longer resemble a human being. Every vestige of spirituality has been drained from you, leaving only a husk withering on the ground.

            Your own mother wouldn’t recognize you, given your current state.

          4. kep December 2, 2016

            Really? You people, and I use the term very loosely, are so brainwashed you can only repeat what you are told to. Just give up and go back from whence you came. Moscow maybe?

    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth November 29, 2016

      Retarded visuals are the sign of a mentally ill patient.

      1. FireBaron November 30, 2016

        What makes you think Otto comes out of his mommy’s basement to take out the garbage?

  3. Thoughtopsy November 29, 2016

    So how’s that Swamp Draining going, dumb Trolls?
    Hey @Godzilla… I expect to hear you explain to me how this guy is going to fulfill the promises ol’ F**kface Von Clownstick made to you….
    Go on…

    I’ll hold my breath.

    1. Tajuanajmurphy November 30, 2016

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj373d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash373TopCreativeGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj373d:….,…….

  4. crane.tammie November 29, 2016

    1 year ago I decided to quit my previous work and it changed my life… I started to work from home, for a company I discovered over internet, few hours a day, and my income now is much bigger then it was on my last job… Last paycheck i got was for 9k dollars… Great thing about this is that now i have more time with my kids…

  5. nataliamccombs December 1, 2016

    One year have passed since I decided to quit my old job and that decision was a life changer for me… I started to work on-line, for a company I stumbled upon on-line, several hrs daily, and I make much more than i did on my previous work… My last month pay-check was for $9000… Amazing thing about this is that i have more free time to spend with my family… http://chilp.it/728813e


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