Welcome to the Checks & Imbalances newsletter. Today we look at Trump’s deals with the Saudis and Tiffany, lobbying that helped seal the gun-control deal and the Biden administration’s hypocrisy on legal cannabis.
Trump, Saudis Join Forces To Stick It To The PGA
“With LIV Golf, the former president returns to hosting high-profile tournaments after his post-January 6 banishment by the PGA of America,” reports Justin Birnbaum:
Donald Trump is back. Banished by the PGA of America after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in January 2021, Trump has found a new home with the fledgling LIV Golf’s inaugural eight-event series. The Saudi-backed tour, a deep-pockets challenge to the PGA Tour’s dominance, got underway this week in London. In July, it will visit Trump’s course in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the former president spends the summer, and cap off its season at Trump’s Doral in Miami in October.
Trump’s involvement not only has pumped new life into his golf properties but also has had the added bonus—for the ex-president, at least—of sticking it to the PGA Tour by helping empower its most direct threat yet.
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In Case You Missed It
Trump Building Hangs Onto Jewelry-Giant Tiffany—For Now
“Tiffany & Co. has delayed its departure from Donald Trump’s 6 East 57th Street in New York City, a property the jewelry company has occupied for the last few years while it renovates its flagship Fifth-Avenue location next door,” reports Dan Alexander:
At a minimum, Trump should get about an extra year of occupancy from Tiffany. The former president, or his underlings at the Trump Organization, are almost certainly searching for a replacement retailer right now. There’s a chance they have already found someone but just haven’t announced it yet. Any company moving in will have to be okay with being associated with Trump, whose business did not respond to requests for comment. If the former president fails to find a new tenant, he’ll be left with roughly 65,000 empty square feet—a big black eye just around the corner from Trump Tower.
Updates on Checks & Imbalances’ previous reporting
As of Saturday, the Secret Service police were still maintaining a presence outside of former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s suburban D.C. home. Iran is plotting to assassinate Bolton, reported the Washington Examiner in March. The Secret Service has been protecting Bolton since at least January.
Doctors: Bipartisan Senate Gun Control Deal ‘Will Save Lives’
“The American Medical Association praised the proposed bipartisan deal reached Sunday in the U.S. Senate to improve gun safety through better background checks and mental health, saying it will save lives,” reports Bruce Japsen:
“Today’s bipartisan blueprint to address gun violence is a breakthrough that shows compromise is possible, common ground can be reached, and that Congress can take commonsense steps to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of people who are a significant danger to themselves or others,” AMA president Dr. Gerald Harmon said Sunday. “This agreement will save lives. The measures announced today must be only a first step in confronting the public health crisis of gun violence.”
The AMA and a parade of medical care provider groups have intensified their calls for Congress to pass gun control legislation, frustrated at the mounting death toll of Americans including children, teachers and physicians. Gun control activist David Hogg Sunday praised several groups including healthcare providers like the American Pediatric Surgical Association for its effort to push Congress to act on gun safety measures.
Watch: ‘Political Thugs’—Donald Trump Slams Jan. 6 Committee Hearing On Truth Social
Legal Cannabis Use Could Disqualify White House Intern Applicants
“For those applying to President Joe Biden’s White House intern program for the fall, prior cannabis use—even in a state where it is legal—could be a disqualifier,” reports Will Yakowicz:
Now that 37 states have some form of legal sales and the majority of Americans support legalization, a policy like this seems “ridiculous,” says Weldon Angelos, a marijuana law reform activist who visited the White House in April. “That’s terrible they are still using that criterion and it’s hypocritical to what Biden said on the campaign trail,” he says…
Angelos has good reasons to have faith in the Oval Office. In 2016, President Obama granted Angelos—who was serving 55 years for selling about $1,000 worth of weed to an informant—a reduced sentence after 13 years of prison time. Then in 2020, President Trump gave him a full pardon.
Angelos then teamed up with political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity (founded by billionaire Charles Koch), and other pro-legalization organizations to form the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, whose members are now lobbying Congress to lift America’s federal marijuana ban.
- “Bad news for the Trump Media and Technology Group, as the SPAC taking it public warns an SEC investigation “could materially delay, materially impede, or prevent the consummation of the Business Combination.” (Twitter/Dan Alexander of Forbes)
- “Biden scraps Trump’s Air Force One paint scheme over cost” (Politico)
- “The Donald Trump Save America PAC tells Fox News it’s spending $500K to run a new ad—starting today thru Sunday on national TV and digital (including Sunday shows)—that targets the January 6th Committee.” (Twitter/Paul Steinhauser of Fox News)
- “Totally normal text message from the Trump PAC” (Twitter/Derek Willis of Merrill College)
- “Crypto comes to Washington” (Popular Information)
- “Peter Thiel bitcoin ally Erik Finman tries to sway 2022 midterms with up to $20 million for GOP campaigns” (CNBC)
- “Amy Coney Barrett received $425,000 book payment, records show” (The Washington Post)
- “Gorsuch receives $250K book advance payment” (Politico)
- “FEC has fined Astellas Pharma US $7,500 for violating the ban on federal contractors making political contributions after the pharmaceutical company gave a combined $60,000 to two super PACs ahead of the 2020 election.” (Twitter/Michael Beckel of Issue One)
- “Uzbekistan turns to K Street to capitalize on upheaval in region” (Politico)
- “High-Ranking Afghan Officials Escaped to Luxury Homes Abroad” (The Wall Street Journal)
- “Preet Bharara, the former federal prosecutor and Trump critic, has a new job: private practice.” (The New York Times)
- “GOPers push ban on lawmakers paying family on campaigns” (The New York Post)
- “Torrez won costly Democratic primary race for attorney general in New Mexico” (OpenSecrets)
- “LinkedIn registers in-house lobbyists” (Politico)
“And I said ‘What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?
…..that’s one thing we’ve got.’”
– Deep Blue Something, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”