Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, told MSNBC host Joy Reid he believes more “patriotic Americans” will come forward with whistleblower complaints against President Donald Trump.
“One of the many things that may be keeping Donald Trump up at night is the concept of the whistleblower. There’s the first one, a CIA employee who flagged to Congress that Trump pressured Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and root around for proof of Trump and Giuliani’s pro-Russia conspiracy theories. And now, potentially a second whistleblower on Ukraine. Another intelligence official who The New York Times says could come forward soon, citing two people briefed on the matter,” Reid said in her monologue.
Obama Scandal: Former President Obama and his political supporters have repeatedly stated that his administration was scandal-free, unlike administrations before and after. “We’re probably the first administration in modern history that hasn’t had a major scandal in the White House,” Obama himself said. A new book puts the lie to that statement.
Never mind that the left-leaning big media basically ignored major scandals during the Obama years, ranging from the IRS targeting scandal and the VA’s deadly waiting lists for veterans to Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of an unsecured, hackable home-brew server for her official duties as secretary of state and the Fast and Furious gunwalking program.
These and others were epic scandals that the media simply ignored or downplayed.
The media have contrasted Obama’s supposed honesty and forthrightness with President Trump’s supposed venality and political unscrupulousness, as embodied in the year-and-a-half long Russia-Trump scandal investigation that shows few signs of letting up.
But now comes Peter Schweizer’s new book, “Secret Empires: How Our Politicians Hide Corruption and Enrich Their Families and Friends,” which shows that the Obama administration and its cronies were up to their necks in questionable business deals and may even have intentionally distorted public policy to accommodate their own profit-making.
The book claims “Obama and his administration would deem industries either destructive to the environment or exploitative for the financial and professional gain of his friends, including industries such as coal mining, offshore drilling, cash advance companies, and for-profit colleges,” wrote Katelyn Caralle of the Washington Examiner.
Schweizer’s book, based on extensive research, says that Obama acted to regulate certain industries in such a way that the regulations lowered the value of some of the companies, wrote Katelyn Caralle of the Washington Examiner. These actions let two family friends to profit handsomely on deals through their own investment firm.
Here’s how it worked: Obama buddies Marty Nesbitt and Harreld Kirkpatrick III formed a private equity investment firm called Vistria, right around the time Obama was re-elected in 2012.
Nothing wrong with that, except, as Schweizer notes in his book, “A curious pattern began to emerge. Obama and his administration would attack industries with government power, which led to substantially lower valuations for these companies. Nesbitt and Vistria, or others close to Obama, could then acquire those assets for pennies on the dollar.”
As an example, Schweizer cites the case of for-profit higher education schools like University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institute, and DeVry University. In 2013, Obama blamed the schools for taking advantage of students by saddling them with massive amounts of student debt, ruining their credit and making a profit on it. He ordered the Federal Trade Commission to go after them.
In the case of the University of Phoenix, its parent Apollo Education Group was suspended after a Federal Trade Commission investigation in 2015. The following year, three companies, including Vistria, swooped in to buy what remained of Apollo at a price 90% below its share price before the investigation.
As Vistria’s education investment portfolio bulged, a number of Obama Education Department officials, including Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, ended up taking high-level jobs with Vistria.
That’s just one example. There are others.
Schweizer noted in his book, for instance, that both Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry were deeply involved in trade and security talks with China even as that country began its aggressive campaign to expand its military and physical presence in the South China Sea. Contrary to standard diplomatic practice, however, both played “good cop,” not seriously confronting China on its misbehavior.
Remember, Biden and Kerry were close friends from their years spent together in the Senate. So there was little surprise when Biden’s son, Hunter, and Kerry’s stepson, Christopher Heinz, one of the heirs to the Heinz ketchup fortune, went into business together in 2009.
They created a number of equity and real estate investment firms allied to Rosemont Capital, “the alternative investment fund of the Heinz Family Office.”
So far so good. Except, “Over the next seven years, as both Joe Biden and John Kerry negotiated sensitive and high-stakes deals with foreign governments, Rosemont entities secured a series of exclusive deals with those same foreign governments.”
In December of 2013, for instance, Biden traveled to China for talks. He brought Hunter Biden along. While there, the senior Biden soft-pedaled China’s clear aggression, and played up the bilateral trade partnership. Ten days after the trip concluded, China’s central bank, the Bank of China, set up a $1 billion investment joint venture called Bohai Harvest RST. For the record, the “RS” referred to Biden’s son’s firm, Rosemont Seneca.
That’s questionable enough.
But months later, in July 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry traveled to China, also for talks. Kerry talked little of China’s clear aggression, but did conspicuously note that “China and the United States represent the greatest economic alliance trading partnership in the history of humankind.”
He should know. In the ensuing months, Chinese government-linked firms took major stakes in several of the firms owned or controlled by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, and provided them with massive funding totaling billions of dollars. Nor is this the only scandal involving John Kerry.
And this just scratches the surface. The book is a catalog, a virtual roadmap, to the way corrupt business gets done in Washington — and why Americans are smart to question why their representative go to Washington as paupers, and return as millionaires.
We can only hope that as Biden or Kerry gears up for a challenge to Trump in the 2020 presidential contest, they will receive the same relentless scrutiny that a Republican with the same record of venality would get. But we won’t hold our breath.
Accountability: For years, we’ve heard reporters marvel at how President Obama has been so remarkably scandal-free. That’s only because they ignore his scandals. Here are five that would have swamped a GOP presidency.
Cooked intelligence: A little more than a month ago, the Daily Beast reported that 50 intelligence analysts said their reports on the Islamic State had been watered down to suit the White House’s spin, and that pressure to do so had come from senior military and intelligence officials.
If true, it means that the White House actively engaged in an effort to mislead the public about its war on this increasingly dangerous terrorist group. It’s the sort of thing the watchdog press would normally eat up, with dreams of Pulitzer Prizes and movie deals.
The fact that this harkens back to the Benghazi scandal — where Obama officials actively misled the public to maintain Obama’s claim that Libya was a big success — makes it meatier.
Instead, after a few obligatory stories in early September, the press lost interest.
Hospital bombing: A recent tweet said: “2009 Nobel Prize winner bombs 1999 Nobel Prize winners.” That was in response to the U.S. bombing of an Afghan hospital operated by Doctors Without Borders, which killed 12 medical workers and 10 patients.
That symmetry alone should have made it a defining moment for Obama’s presidency. At the very least, it’s an opportunity to point out Obama’s overreliance on drones and airstrikes and his lack of on-the-ground intelligence, and how that has increasingly put innocent civilians in harm’s way.
Instead, it was brushed off as “stuff happens.” Obama muttered an apology and everyone moved on.
Hillary Clinton’s email: While the press deserves some credit for covering this scandal, it’s entirely ignored the White House angle. Obama administration officials claimed not to know about Hillary’s reckless use of a private email server as secretary of state. Hillary says everybody knew about it. Who’s lying? Was there any discussion about it among top White House officials? Did anyone in Obama’s circle express concern about this dangerous practice? There’s not even a hint that any of these questions are being pursued.
IRS targeting conservatives: At its core, Watergate was about the Nixon administration abusing its power to help him win re-election. The press rightly expressed outrage — and still does — as the details emerged.
Yet when it came to light that the IRS had mounted a sustained campaign to thwart grass-roots conservative organizations in the run-up to Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, the mainstream press yawned.
Who gave the orders? Was there a White House connection? A cover-up? These questions still haven’t been answered. The press is too busy chasing an alleged seven-year-old surgical mishap by Dr. Ben Carson.
Illegal immigrant murders: Every time there’s a shooting, gun control takes center stages.
But when illegal immigrants kill and maim, there’s not a peep about Obama’s failed immigration-enforcement policies. Where are the tearful stories of families ripped apart by a violent illegal let loose by Obama’s immigration department?
This list only scratches the surface. There’s Obama’s inept handling of the BP oil spill. His intimidation of reporters who didn’t toe the party line. The failed multi-billion-dollar ObamaCare launch. The Solyndra collapse. The Fast and Furious scandal.
Heck, even Obama’s scandalous mishandling of the economy should be the talk of the nation.
All of these paint a picture of a president who is out of control, out of his depth, dangerously out of touch with reality, and incapable of effectively running the government or protecting taxpayer money.
There’s no doubt that if Obama had been a Republican, the press would have pursued each scandal with unstoppable vigor. Yet because none fits the media’s chosen Obama narrative, they all get ignored, downplayed or explained away.
If the mainstream press had a shred of credibility seven years ago, it completely lost it since. https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/think-obama-administration-wasnt-corrupt-think-again/