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Daily Beast: “Indicted Ukrainian gas oligarch Dmytro Firtash spent more than $1 million hiring key figures in Republican efforts to investigate the Biden family. … But the two men have a history. Two Ukrainian gas industry experts say the gas-market reforms pushed by Biden and others in 2014 and 2015 hit Firtash in the wallet, and badly. One knowledgeable outside observer estimated that the 2014 and 2015 gas reforms and legislation cost him hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“A former top administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency was arrested on Tuesday in a major federal corruption investigation that found that the official took bribes from the president of a company that secured $1.8 billion in federal contracts to repair Puerto Rico’s shredded electrical grid after Hurricane Maria,” the New York Times reports.
“Prosecutors from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office said Monday that Paul Manafort earned $60 million from his work as a political consultant in Ukraine and challenged a motion by the former Trump campaign chairman’s attorneys to exclude dozens of exhibits on the topic,” CNN reports. “Manafort is charged with lying on tax forms and bank fraud. He has denied all charges against him.”
“It’s hard to believe then that when Republicans lose the House in 2018, maybe by 40 or 50 seats, that House is not going to impeach him. And it’s also hard to believe that a U.S. Senate that’s going to be scared to death, though may still be in Republican hands, is not going to take a serious look when it has to deal with this president. So get good legal help now, because the storm is coming.”
— GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, quoted by The Hill.
The Hill: “Eleven members of Congress have paid family members from their campaign accounts so far this year. … The practice has also come under increased scrutiny since the election of President Trump, who installed his daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner into top White House jobs. Neither takes a salary, but both wield significant power as senior advisers to the president.”
USA Today: “Since 2013, military investigators have documented at least 500 cases of serious misconduct among its generals, admirals and senior civilians, almost half of those instances involving personal or ethical lapses.”
“It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility. I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.”
— Outgoing government ethics chief Walter Shaub, quoted by the New York Times.
Forbes: “In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.”
President Trump’s Washington hotel “received roughly $270,000 in payments linked to Saudi Arabia as part of a lobbying campaign by the Gulf kingdom against a controversial piece of terrorism legislation last year,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “The payments—for catering, lodging and parking—were disclosed by the public relations firm MSLGroup last week in paperwork filed with the Justice Department documenting foreign lobbying work on behalf of Saudi Arabia and other clients.”
“This is corruption, pure and simple.”
— Former Bush White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter, quoted by NBC News, on Jared Kushner’s sister promising visas to Chinese investors.