Donald Trump lied (above) about his wealth to get on the Forbes 400, the business magazine’s ranking of the world’s richest people, posing as publicist ‘John Barron’ to do so.
Writes Jonathan Greenberg in the Washington Post:
…it took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had built to project an image as one of the richest people in America. Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.
When Trump was campaigning for president, it was revealed that he masqueraded as his own spokesman earlier in his career to brag about his accomplishments, his wealth, and his alleged desirability to famous women.
In May 2016, The Washington Post published an audio recording of a 1991 call from a man claiming to be on Trump’s PR team, who responded to a request from People magazine reporter Sue Carswell for a comment on Trump’s divorce from wife Ivana and his increasingly complicated relationship with model Marla Maples.
As “John Miller”, Trump touted his reputation as a playboy, explaining that famous actresses and even the likes of Madonna call him wanting to date him.
Trump using the pseudonyms John Miller and John Barron was a fact well-known among New York journalists at the time. Trump would eventually admit that the call to People was a “joke gone awry.” And prior to that call, in 1990, Trump said of the name ‘John Miller,’ “I believe on occasion I used that name.”
Trump denied that fact:
In a phone call to NBC’s “Today” program, Trump denied that he was John Miller. “No, I don’t think it — I don’t know anything about it. You’re telling me about it for the first time and it doesn’t sound like my voice at all,” he said. “I have many, many people that are trying to imitate my voice and then you can imagine that, and this sounds like one of the scams, one of the many scams — doesn’t sound like me.” Later, he was more definitive: “It was not me on the phone. And it doesn’t sound like me on the phone, I will tell you that, and it was not me on the phone. And when was this? Twenty-five years ago?”
Trump continues to lie to this day, though there appears to be little to no consequence.
Melania Orders Deputy National Security Director Fired
Normally, the First Lady of the United States has no say in National Security decisions, but Melania Trump has decided that won’t keep her from expressing publicly what she believes.
First Lady Melania Trump has weighed in on an ongoing dispute between her husband’s Chief of Staff and his National Security Advisor.
According to Stephania Grisham, a spokeswoman for Melania Trump, the First Lady no longer feels that Mira Ricardel, national security advisor John Bolton’s deputy, “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
Melania Trump’s statement comes as reports swirl that her husband is considering dismissing his Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly has reportedly clashed with Bolton and Ricardel over policy in recent weeks.
NBC News reported earlier on Tuesday that Kelly had “gotten on the wrong side” of Melania Trump over staffing issues and travel requests.
Just asked the First Lady’s office about deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel : “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham The First Lady’s communication director to @ABC
— John Santucci (@Santucci) November 13, 2018
From the WSJ: The president has also decided to remove Mira Ricardel, the top deputy for national security adviser John Bolton, officials said. A National Security Council spokeswoman declined to comment.
The president became involved in that decision at the urging of first lady Melania Trump, whose staff battled with Ms. Ricardel during the first lady’s trip to Africa last month over seating on the plane and requests to use National Security Council resources, according to people familiar with the matter.
AG Whitaker Alleged to Have Served on Board of WPM
The FBI is reportedly conducting a criminal investigation related to World Patent Marketing, a company that was shut down in 2017 after the Federal Trade Commission alleged that it operating “an invention-promotion scam” that tricked “thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.” According to recent reports, new acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker served on its advisory board.
Alleged WPM Conduct
In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission charged the operators of an invention-promotion scam, World Patent Marketing, with deceiving consumers and suppressing complaints about the company by using threats of criminal prosecution against dissatisfied customers. At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily halted the Florida-based scheme and froze its assets pending litigation.
“This case is about protecting innovators, the engine of a thriving economy,” said then Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “The defendants promised to promote people’s inventions and took thousands of dollars, but provided almost no service in return. Then they added insult to injury by threatening people who complained.”
According to the FTC, consumers paid an individual and various corporate entities thousands of dollars to patent and market their inventions based on bogus “success stories” and testimonials promoted by the defendants. But after they allegedly strung consumers along for months or even years, the defendants purportedly failed to deliver what they promised. Instead, many customers allegedly ended up in debt or lost their life savings with nothing to show for it.
WPM Threats of Legal Action
The FTC also alleged that the defendants used various unfair tactics, including threats of legal action, to discourage consumers from publishing truthful or non-defamatory negative reviews about the defendants and their services. According to FTC attorney Richard B. Newman, the agency reported that one customer who sought a refund and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau allegedly received a letter from the defendants’ lawyer. According to the FTC, the letter stated that seeking a refund was extortion under Florida law and, “since you used email to make your threats, you would be subject to a federal extortion charge, which carries a term of imprisonment of up to two years and potential criminal fines.”
WPM Settlement Order
In 2018, the defendants agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission that bans them from the invention promotion business. Under the settlement order, the defendants are also banned from misrepresenting any good or service, and suppressing the availability of truthful negative comments or reviews by consumers. They are also prohibited from profiting from consumers’ personal information collected as part of the challenged practices, and failing to dispose of it properly.
A $25,987,192 judgment was imposed, which was partially suspended when $78,670 in frozen funds were transferred to the Commission and the individual defendant Cooper paid $976,330.
Whitaker’s Alleged Involvement
According to media reports, court filings indicate that Whitaker received regular payments of $1,875 from the company while serving as a member of its advisory board. It has also been reported that Whitaker sent a strongly worded email to a former customer in 2015 that had complained about the company. Whitaker is not a named as a defendant in the case against the company.
In a statement, a Justice Department spokeswoman said, “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has said he was not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.” In fact, FTC investigators did not obtain evidence or internal communications showing Whitaker knew about the company’s alleged bogus promises, according to those with firsthand knowledge of the matter. The receiver that oversaw the settlement confirmed, recently stating to The Washington Post that he has “no reason to believe that [Whitaker] knew of any of the wrongdoing.”
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Trump-Putin Crush Continues in Paris
Trump’s crush of Putin continued in Paris, captured by the camera with a weird goofy grin like a teenage virgin on his first date.
The pair came face-to-face at the Arc de Triomphe as the French capital hosted events to mark 100 years since the Armistice came into force.
Putin is seen greeting French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and then Trump, adding a sign of approval before moving onto US First Lady Melania. Although both leaders were late to the ceremony, they appeared to be happy to see each other upon their arrival. Putin and Trump were seen nodding at each other, with the Russian leader even tapping his US counterpart on the shoulder and offering up a thumbs up sign.
It comes after the US leader said he will also not hold a bilateral meeting with Putin in Paris.
They are instead expected to have formal talks later this month when both attend a G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Trump’s relationship with Putin is under scrutiny as an investigation continues into Russia’s alleged attempts to interfere in the US presidential poll in 2016, which saw the billionaire elected to the White House.
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