Donald Trump has paused his presidential transition in order to conduct business meetings. He’s already said he’s going to run the nation from the same fake-award cluttered desk that he employs for peddling naming rights in Azerbaijan. And he’s making absolutely no effort to separate his personal business from that of the nation.
No. Really. No effort at all.
For a number of years, Trump and his Argentine partners have been trying to build a major office building in Buenos Aires. The project has been held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials and various permitting requirements.
According to a report out of Argentina, when Argentine President Mauricio Macri called President-Elect Trump to congratulate him on his election, Trump asked Macri to deal with the permitting issues that are currently holding up the project.
Here’s the president-elect of the United States directly using his position to privilege his company in an overseas deal. It’s a textbook instance of extortion being carried out, not in secret, but blatantly, without the slightest concern that it would cause Trump a problem.
Why aren't we hearing about this in the American press?
Well, remember, no one knew anything about the visit from Trump's Indian business partners until it appeared in the Indian press either.
Because the American press is busy getting their assignments from the Trump organization.
Those people who thought Trump would overrun American democracy within weeks of his inauguration have—again—underestimated him.
There have been several denials of this story by Argentinian officials, and one of the reporters behind the piece now calls it “half joking,” though it’s completely unclear what he meant.
The story originally ran on a program called Periodismo para todos (Journalism for Everyone) which mixes skits with serious reporting—something approximating an Argentinian version of This Week Tonight. but with more serious investigative journalism similar to the early days of 60 Minutes. The Trump story was apparently in the opening monologue of that show, and may have been, at least partly, in jest.
So consider this at least a half-retraction until we can determine what half-joking means.