Is anyone else getting tired of politics-as-usual being criminalized when Trump does it?
Back in December, I reported that federal prosecutors in New York were investigating “whether President Trump’s inaugural committee misused some of the record-breaking $107 million it raised and whether deep-pocketed donors were offered access to the incoming administration in exchange for cash,” which I then noted is common practice. When Barack Obama did the exact same thing it wasn’t considered worthy of an investigation because it wasn’t considered a crime. In fact, the only problem some liberals had with Obama’s giving access in exchange for inauguration donations was that to them, Obama was supposed be “different” and not a “typical politician” who cared about big donors. Obama, they thought, cared about the little guy, and his campaign was supposed to be a genuine grassroots-driven campaign that relied on lots of small donations, instead of a few large donations from one-percenters. Obama, they believed, couldn’t be bought.
So, when their naivete was exposed, it may have been disappointing, but it wasn’t a crime.
Boy, what a difference it makes who the president is on what constitutes a crime!
Today it has been reported that the investigation into Trump’s inaugural committee is moving along, and a subpoena has now been issued.
Federal prosecutors in New York Monday issued a subpoena to President Trump’s inaugural committee, a spokesperson for the committee confirmed to Fox News, a move that threatened to open another front against an administration dogged by investigations.
“We have just received a subpoena for documents,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “While we are still reviewing the subpoena, it is our intention to cooperate with the inquiry.”
The subpoena was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which revealed that prosecutors had asked for “all documents” related to the committee’s donors and vendors, as well as records relating to “benefits” that donors received after making contributions. They also requested documents relating to donations “made by or on behalf of foreign nationals, including but not limited to any communications regarding or relating to the possibility of donations by foreign nationals.”
The Journal reported in December that prosecutors were looking into whether the committee misspent the $107 million it raised to stage events celebrating Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, as well as whether donors made contributions in exchange for political favors — a potential violation of federal corruption laws.
Deep-pocketed Obama donors got special access, administration jobs, ambassadorships… you name it. But the only heat Obama got for this was a tiny bit of criticism for not following through on his promise to change how business is done in Washington, D.C. And that’s a phrase that’s important here. Donations for access and jobs is business-as-usual in our nation’s capital. Obama was no different. Trump’s inaugural committee wasn’t doing anything Trump’s predecessors hadn’t done before. Apparently, no one in New York’s Southern District U.S. Attorney’s office got the memo. But, at least this is more proof that white privilege doesn’t exist — otherwise, Obama would have been the one under investigation for business-as-usual, and Trump would be the one getting away with it just as everyone else had.
It’s about time we fully recognize what’s going on here. The Trump/Russia investigation is going nowhere. Liberals are desperate to find something they can use to impeach Donald Trump, and so rogue liberals in the SDNY U.S. Attorney’s office think that they can do Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer a solid by launching their own investigation into something that is a common practice that they can treat as criminal behavior for the purposes of getting revenge for Hillary Clinton.
We can bemoan how business is conducted in Washington all we want, but we can’t have separate standards for what is criminal and what is not. The only thing Donald Trump is guilty of is defeating Hillary Clinton… and that was not a crime.
Matt Margolis is the author of The Scandalous Presidency of Barack Obama and the bestselling The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published in 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis