Juan Williams: The stench from Trump's swamp is growing

Juan Williams: The stench from Trump's swamp is growing
© Getty

Is it just me or does it smell like the swamp around President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE is overflowing?

Last week we learned that the president’s lawyer arranged a million dollar pay-off to a Playboy model from one of the president’s top donors. The donor had impregnated the model in an adulterous affair. The woman had an abortion.

What are those evangelical Christians supporters who close their eyes to the president’s alleged affair with a porn actress to say about this one?

ADVERTISEMENT
Last week, Trump told those irritating reporters to ignore reality because “it may not look like it, but believe me we are draining the swamp."

 

That’s funny. Last week, the FBI raided the home, office and hotel room of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, after a federal judge, the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan and the Justice Department agreed there was sufficient indication of criminal activity to grant a warrant.

That added to the stench from the rising swamp of sex scandals, hush money and lies around the president. 

So too did the president’s pardon for Scooter Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

After Libby was found guilty of lying and obstruction of justice, then-President George W. Bush, with the case fresh before him, refused to pardon Libby — despite persistent pressure from Cheney.

The facts of the Libby case have not changed. But Trump has his own trouble with a special prosecutor. Now is a good time for him to make the point that he has the power to take care of his friends in the spreading swamp.

It is an important message from this president to anyone talking to the current special counsel looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. 

That message fits with his pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a big Trump booster, who was found guilty of defying a federal court order to stop using racial profiling to detain Latinos suspected of being illegal immigrants.

Is it any surprise that former FBI director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyHillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Comey: Mueller may be in 'fourth quarter' of Russia probe READ: President Trump’s exclusive interview with Hill.TV MORE says Trump reminds him of a “mob boss?”

Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciAnn Coulter believes Kushner wrote anonymous op-ed bashing Trump Spicer: People at White House are 'burnt out' Scaramucci: John McCain, an inspiration for a day of unity MORE, who briefly served as Trump’s communications director, has tried to redefine the meaning of “drain the swamp” by saying last month that the real target may be less a swamp and more like a “gold-plated hot tub,” in which “special interests and lobbyists curry favor with elected officials to maintain the order of what is sometimes called ‘Crony Capitalism.’”

Well, what are we to make of tax cuts that gave the three biggest banks record profits for the first quarter? 

They are now able to charge people looking for a loan higher interest rates, while enjoying a sharp drop in corporate tax rates. Meanwhile, the federal deficit is rising to record levels to line the pockets of the banks and corporations. 

It does not look like Trump is draining the “gold-plated hot tub.” 

According to a Transparency International poll taken in December, 44 percent of Americans said they believe that “most or all of the officials in the Office of the President are corrupt.” Fifty-eight percent said the corruption had risen in the past year since Trump took office.

And day-by-day it has become more obvious that several of Trump’s cabinet secretaries have their hands in the old-fashioned type of swamp.

Let’s look at the record: 

*Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom PriceThomas (Tom) Edmunds PriceWhite House officials discussing potential replacements for FEMA chief: report Overnight Health Care: CBO finds bill delaying parts of ObamaCare costs B | Drug CEO defends 400 percent price hike | HHS declares health emergency ahead of hurricane HHS should look into Azar's close ties to the drug industry MORE resigned in disgrace last year after it was revealed that he bilked the taxpayers out of over $1 million for private charter jets and military air travel.

*Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeTrump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands Big-game hunters infuriated by Trump elephant trophy debacle Interior moves ahead with opening wildlife refuge next to contaminated nuclear site MORE could well be in danger of losing his job and being brought up on charges when the Department of Interior Inspector General’s report comes out later this month. He is under review for his lavish taxpayer-funded travel — including for political purposes and a personal vacation.  

*Then there is the profligacy and corruption of EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE. Pruitt received a sweetheart deal on rent for his luxury condominium in Washington. The condo is owned by the wife of a lobbyist whose clients had business before Pruitt’s EPA.

Pruitt paid an astonishing $50 per night to rent the condo, well below market value.

Also, he used taxpayer money to dole out big bonuses to his top aides and to pay for a 19-man security detail. When interviewed by my Fox News colleague Ed Henry, Pruitt said he could not believe he was even being asked about his shady deals. 

That is pure Trump style.

The president still refuses to release his tax returns; he still refuses to divest from his sprawling business empire; and don’t forget his hiring of his daughter and son-in-law as senior White House advisers, as if he were running a family business to serve his bottom line instead of the national interest.  

The New York Times reported in February that Apollo Global Management and Citigroup made risky loans to the president’s son-in-law’s real estate business after a White House meeting.

It is no secret that Kushner’s family business is up to its eyeballs in debt and the Washington Post reported last month that at least four countries view Kushner as susceptible to influence because of that debt.  

“Drain the swamp,” has become as empty a promise as “Build the Wall.”

If you ever believed Trump, you got duped.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.