July 27, 2020 – Donald Trump’s presidency has settled into a familiar pattern: acts of corruption that benefit him personally followed by furious attempts to cover up his wrongdoing. From personal scandals and legal violations to relentlessly using the Presidency for personal gain, there is nothing Trump won’t do to help himself—no matter the cost to Americans—and nothing off-limits in his efforts to cover up his misdeeds.
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- In a dangerous attempt to cover up his administration’s disastrous COVID-19 response, Trump boasted that he ordered a slowdown of testing to falsely deflate the national case count.
- As Trump’s failure of leadership has fueled the pace of coronavirus infections, Trump ordered hospitals to send all coronavirus data to a private database instead of the CDC, raising concerns that he would doctor the numbers to falsely reduce the quantity of publicly known cases.
- Months after reports of Russian bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan appeared in his daily briefing, Trump falsely called the intelligence a “hoax,” as his top advisors adopted a series of shifting excuses to explain why he never acted on the intelligence, potentially costing service members their lives.
- The Trump administration spared no effort attempting to bury the whistleblower report about his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which showed Trump had asked Ukraine to dig up dirt on the Bidens in exchange for taxpayer-funded military aid.
- When Congress investigated Trump for conditioning military aid to Ukraine, Trump refused to cooperate, leading to his impeachment for obstruction of Congress. The president has regularly lashed out at whistleblowers who flag his improprieties, including encouraging the violation of federal law by demanding for their names to be released, while also threatening to end whistleblowing altogether.
- From castigating Jeff Sessions for refusing to interfere in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to firing officials who testified during impeachment proceedings, Trump has routinely taken aim at administration officials who decline to take part in his cover-ups.
- Trump promoted a phony story that Ukraine, not Russia, attacked our democracy in 2016, distracting from investigations into his own campaign’s collusion with Russian operatives in a move that benefited Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and no one else.
- Trump sacked Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire after one of his deputies briefed Congress on ongoing Russian interference, which Trump feared could provide political fodder to his political opponents. In Maguire’s place, Trump installed an unqualified lackey, Richard Grenell, whose only qualification was his unabashed loyalty to Trump himself.
- Trump refused to cooperate with Mueller’s team of independent investigators looking into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, including allegations of coordination between his campaign and Russian operatives. Over 1,000 former federal prosecutors agreed that Trump’s conduct should “result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”
- Trump ordered former White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, then askedMcGahn to lie to investigators about the order during Mueller’s investigation. When McGahn testified that Trump had told him to remove Mueller, Trump lied and denied he had ever done so.
- Trump tried to hide a meeting during the 2016 campaign that occurred between his son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer. Trump claimed the meeting had centered on adoption of Russian children, but, in fact, it was predicated on soliciting information that would damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
- Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders have been so incriminating that senior officials have taken the highly unusual step of repeatedly burying them — including calls with Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky– on a secure server typically reserved for only the most highly classified information.
- Trump parroted Mohammed bin Salman’s talking points after the Saudi leader reportedly ordered the murder and dismemberment of U.S.-based Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Instead of listening to the CIA’s finding that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s killing, the President repeated the prince’s denials to help cover upthe murder and then lied about the CIA’s intelligence.
- Trump fired Steve Linick, Inspector General for the State Department, cutting shortLinick’s investigation of the administration’s efforts to circumvent Congress by providing weapons for the Saudi-led war in Yemen despite bipartisan opposition.
- More broadly, Trump within a month purged five independent inspectors general investigating corruption across his administration, including at the Intelligence Community and the Department of Defense. Trump ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, the lead federal prosecutor in New York, who was investigating members of the President’s inner circle and had previously indicted a Turkish bank that President Erdogan pressured Trump to protect from prosecution.
By retreating into nationalism, isolationism, unilateralism, and xenophobia, President Trump is surrendering America’s hard-won leadership in the world, isolating us from our allies, emboldening our adversaries, and weakening the United States as a global power. www.nationalsecurityaction.org