Though the Trump family’s use of higher office for personal enrichment is a well-documented grift, these ploys live in the shadow of the administration’s flashier scandals and are rarely able to grab public attention for long.Two events this past week could place the grift in the forefront: Trump convincing Vice-President Mike Pence and his retinue to spend taxpayer dollars at his resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, and Trump reportedly ordering the Air Force Guard to throw money toward his Turnberry golf course and hotel in Scotland. (More likely though, the apparent cash-grabs will fade into the background noise of corruption in the Trump era.)

According to a report from Politico, C-17 military transport planes operated by the Air Force have been stopping over the past two years at Glasgow Prestwick, spending $11 million on fuel at the small airport that just happens to be 30 minutes north of Trump Turnberry. Though the fuel would be substantially cheaper if it was purchased at an allied military base — like the nearby Lakenheath Air Base commonly used for overseas fill-ups — it appears the administration favors the small, debt-ridden Scottish airstrip to help keep it afloat, and maintain a key travel hub for the Trump property. Prestwick has been in financial trouble since at least 2013, when it was nationalized; in June, the Scottish government announced that the airport was up for sale, calling it “integral” to the success of the Trump property.

Likewise, Air Force cash appears to have found its way onto Turnberry itself. This spring, members of the Air National Guard stayed at the resort, though the crew’s per-diem wasn’t enough to cover meals at the Trump property. (At least they weren’t missing much.) In September 2018, a unit of the Maine Air National Guard also spent a night at Turnberry. Like the Scottish airport, the luxury resort isn’t doing all that well. As recently as 2017, Turnberry turned a seven-figure loss, and Trump has also personally loaned $144.6 million to keep the place afloat.

The Scottish situation, already questioned by House Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijiah Cummings and under review by the Air Force, proves that Trump is willing, time and again, to use public resources for his private interest. As New York’s Jonathan Chait notes in an assessment of Mike Pence’s stay at Trump’s Irish resort, it’s not necessarily the size of the ploy, but the intent that’s important:

It might seem strange for Trump and Pence to incur the awful publicity that comes with engaging such corruption in broad daylight, especially when the payoff — a handful of additional customers at a resort — is relatively small. But it is precisely that disjuncture between the brazenness and the scale that makes this episode significant. Pence is establishing the principle that Trump is entitled to profit from his office, and — far more importantly — his participation signals his culpability in the scheme …



The point of asking Mike Pence to violate government ethics on Trump’s behalf is not to put a few more dollars in Trump’s pocket, but to put Mike Pence in his pocket.

The point of routing military spending to a Scottish airport to boost access to his golf course is that the president considers the taxpayer purse to be just another loan source — and we all know how well he treats his lenders. But Trump is willing to move military funds around for his political goals as well: Last week, the Pentagon announced that $3.6 billion of the Defense budget would be taken away from 125 projects and presented to the effort to build a southern border wall — though Trump already has $1.375 billion earmarked for wall funding, and has built just 46.7 miles of new barriers as of July.

Interesting trends for Warren as the field of candidates narrows and Democratic voters shift their support

State by state in vote preference, New Hampshire now sees Warren just slightly up over Biden and Sanders in first-choice preference there, effectively making the primary there a three-way contest. Biden holds onto a small edge over Sanders in first-choice preference in Iowa to go with that still-sizable advantage in South Carolina. Meanwhile, Sanders has a narrow edge over Biden in Nevada.

Biden’s support has largely held and even risen in some places like in Iowa, so the movement toward Warren is not attrition from Biden, but of lower-tier candidates losing supporters who have gone to Warren or, in lesser numbers, to Sanders. … Warren is also under consideration by more Democrats (60%) than Biden is (50%) — suggesting her campaign could have even more room to gain.

Biden does better than Warren in being named the first choice among those currently considering him. For Warren, among those voters not currently picking her as their first choice now, almost half (47%) are nonetheless considering her, so she may have potential room to increase her standing if she can convert those voters.

About three in four of those considering Biden think he probably would beat President Trump, similar to last month, but still a higher number for Biden than for the other top three candidates. But Warren has made strong gains on electability. Among those considering supporting her, the percentage who think she would probably beat Mr. Trump has jumped 16 points since June, from 39% then to 55% now.

On the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the current FDNY Academy class, set to graduate in two weeks, includes 13 members — 12 men and one woman — whose firefighter fathers were murdered on 9/11, The Post has learned.

The class includes siblings — two sons of one fallen firefighter, and the son and daughter of another hero.

The historic group of at least 16 “legacy” probationary firefighters also includes the son of an NYPD officer killed on 9/11, and the sons of two firefighters who died due to illness linked to their rescue and recovery work at Ground Zero.

This FDNY class has the most “legacy” members since 9/11, though dozens of other sons — and one daughter — have previously joined the force, said spokesman Jim Long.

“Bravery runs in these extraordinary families who have sacrificed so much for our city. I’m proud of the commitment these probies have already demonstrated to the department and look forward to celebrating with them at their graduation,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro told The Post.

President Donald Trump’s campaign manager predicted Saturday that the president and his family will become “a dynasty that will last for decades,” transforming the Republican Party while hewing to conservative values.

Speaking to a convention of Republican Party delegates in Indian Wells, California, Brad Parscale also said the campaign’s goal is to build a national army of 2 million trained volunteers, far beyond the president’s 2016 organization, that in California could help the GOP retake a string of U.S. House seats captured by Democrats last year.

“The Trumps will be a dynasty that will last for decades, propelling the Republican Party into a new party,” he said. “One that will adapt to changing cultures. One must continue to adapt while keeping the conservative values that we believe in.”

Facing monumental longshot odds in a fractured Republican Party, former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford this morning formally announced his bid to challenge President Donald Trump for the White House.

The announcement came during a nationally televised appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” a conservative-leaning news program Trump is known to watch regularly.

The former Charleston congressman has been privately considering a presidential bid since he left office in January and has been publicly exploring its viability for the last 54 days. He is basing his run on a warning that the Republican Party is at an “inflection point” after three years of the Trump presidency, though he is making attention to the ballooning national debt his focal point.

In early Spring of this year, an Air National Guard crew made a routine trip from the U.S. to Kuwait to deliver supplies. What wasn’t routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump’s Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland.

Since April, the House Oversight Committee has been investigating why the crew on the C-17 military transport plane made the unusual stay — both en route to the Middle East and on the way back — at the luxury waterside resort, according to several people familiar with the incident. But they have yet to receive any answers from the Pentagon.

The inquiry is part of a broader, previously unreported probe into U.S. military expenditures at and around the Trump property in Scotland. According to a letter the panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport — the closest airport to Trump Turnberry — since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a U.S. military base. The letter also cites a Guardian report that the airport provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members.

Taken together, the incidents raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump’s Turnberry resort afloat — the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018.

Federal health authorities are urging people to stop using electronic smoking products while they investigate the death of a third person from a mysterious vaping illness that researchers say may have affected 450 people around the U.S.

“While the investigation is ongoing, people should consider not using e-cigarette products,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a news release. The agency also said people should stop buying e-cigarette products off the street or modifying products bought legally.

… A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman said it is investigating 450 cases in 33 states and one U.S. territory, suggesting the number of reports of cases has more than doubled since the agency updated its investigation last week.

ThinkProgress, the influential news site that rose to prominence in the shadow of the Bush administration and helped define progressivism during the Obama years, is shutting down. 

The outlet, which served as an editorially independent project of the Democratic Party think tank Center for American Progress, will stop current operations on Friday and be converted into a site where CAP scholars can post. Top officials at CAP had been searching for a buyer to take over ThinkProgress, which has run deficits for years, and according to sources there were potentially three serious buyers in the mix recently. But in a statement to staff, Navin Nayak, the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said the site was ultimately unable to secure a patron. 

The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine, according to current and former administration officials.

In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.

Both options would all but end the United States’ status as one of the leading places accepting refugees from around the world.

Pete Buttigieg began a TV blitz in Iowa on Friday, starting his first serious paid advertising effort in the first caucus state.

Buttigieg’s new ad, which is running on TV and digital platforms, leans into his biography as a veteran and a mayor. In a 30-second voice-over, the South Bend, Ind., mayor says that in “today’s divided America, we’re at each other’s throats.”

… This week, Buttigieg crisscrossed Iowa to open 20 new field offices, and he has added another 30 on-the-ground staffers, bringing him to more than 100 organizers in the state. The campaign also opened 12 new field offices in New Hampshire this week.

Turns out Pence’s “it’s okay because Trump suggested it” defense didn’t satisfy House Democrats

House Democrats are investigating Vice President Mike Pence’s stay at President Donald Trump’s golf resort in Ireland, as well as Trump’s recent promotion of another property he owns as a possible venue for the next G-7 summit.

Wireless Doorbell

In letters made public Friday, leaders of two Democrat-led House committees requested documents and other information from the White House, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization about the two matters. Both committees raised concerns about possible violations of the Constitution’s so-called emoluments clauses, which bar federal officials from accepting payments from foreign governments or profiting beyond their salaries.

Four states are poised to cancel their 2020 GOP presidential primaries and caucuses, a move that would cut off oxygen to Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers.

Republican parties in South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and Kansas are expected to finalize the cancellations in meetings this weekend, according to three GOP officials who are familiar with the plans.

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