The first is that several members of Trump’s inner circle knew he had lost the election and told him so repeatedly. Despite this, Trump continued to lie to the American public and promote conspiracy theories claiming he had won – theories that his own attorney general, speaking to the committee, called “bullshit”.
The second startling set of facts uncovered by the committee’s investigators shows how brazenly Trump has betrayed his supporters to desecrate them in order to boost his campaign coffers and improve his own and his family’s prospects.
The committee, which holds hundreds of thousands of documents, revealed that Trump monetized the false claim that he was cheated out of a win in the last presidential election, thereby in turn cheating his supporters.
Instead, Trump poured the money into his Save America PAC, where he could use it with few restrictions. A portion of the funds went to the Trump Hotel Collection and a nonprofit organization founded and directed by his chief of staff, Mark Meadows.
After Monday’s hearing, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat and a key committee member, told CNN that the panel had evidence of how Trump’s family benefited from the money Trump raised.
She offered an annoying detail. Kimberley Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr., was paid a cool $60,000 for a speech introducing her boyfriend at the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Capitol attack.
Turning Point USA, a conservative pro-Trump organization, reportedly paid Guilfoyle for the speech, which lasted less than three minutes on Jan. 6, 2021, according to several people familiar with the payment.
Lofgren says the reason Trump kept lying about the election is precisely because it allowed him to raise funds. That may be one of the reasons. We now know that the former president’s entire life seems to be ruled by two compelling needs. One is to make money – lots of it – at any cost. Another related to the first is said to show that he is powerful, even invincible – never a “loser”.
But he was the loser of the election, and by all appearances he knew it. Denying it, albeit for ridiculous reasons, satisfied both needs.
The alleged Trump campaign fraud was in full swing well before Election Day. He showed no qualms about tricking his followers. In one of the most flagrant scams, the Trump campaign siphoned tens of millions of dollars by setting up the donations page on the campaign website, which by default converted each donation into a recurring payment, according to The New York Times last year.
The scam stole huge sums of money. Among those implicated were Trump supporters – including a cancer patient – who saw their bank accounts
drained. Complaints about the system overwhelmed fraud lines at credit card companies, according to the Times report. Although more than $122 million in refunds was issued, campaign spokesman Jason Miller downplayed the controversy, arguing that campaign records only showed a small percentage of complaints.
Not happy with that shakedown, the campaign added another default, a so-called “cash bomb,” which doubled the donation from Trump supporters they thought were chumps.
Ultimately, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and their joint accounts were forced to return hundreds of thousands of tens of millions of dollars worth of donations.
Trump’s campaign transgressions are consistent with Trump’s own decades-long track record of pushing the limits on financial matters, regardless of the consequences for others.
Who can forget the Trump “University,” which a vendor involved in the scam described in an affidavit as “a fraudulent scheme.” [that] has exploited the elderly and uneducated to deprive them of their money”? Trump paid a $25 million court settlement in the case.
There was also the Trump Foundation, a corporation that prosecutors described as “little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” As part of this settlement, Trump had to admit wrongdoing in several cases.
The man who would later become President of the United States continued his fraud in the White House. Washington-based nonpartisan watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) has detailed thousands of conflicts of interest during the Trump presidency, saying the former president left “a legacy of pervasive corruption.”
The problem is he didn’t leave it behind. Corruption continues: “His lies about the election – and the fraud that depends on it – continue.”
CREW said Trump, who ran as the law and order candidate in 2016 and vowed to “drain the swamp,” did exactly the opposite, using his power in office to enrich himself. He retained his businesses and property, often promoting them and using them as an easy way for lobbyists and special interests to essentially pay him for favors. As the ethics experts’ report noted: “Influence was for sale
‘, with a path leading through Trump’s personal dealings.
The biggest problem is that a corrupt president often makes decisions based on what benefits him and his clique, rather than his country.
Trump has exploited his supporters and betrayed the country. If that wasn’t troubling enough, maybe he’s preparing to do it again.
It’s all very disturbing, but not particularly surprising.