Busted: Donald Trump caught on tape trading White House favors to paying Mar-a-Lago members
A newly leaked audio recording of Donald Trump speaking with associates at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida has caught him in the act of what might be legally defined as taking political bribes and selling White House influence for cash. On the recording, which is from November, Trump offers the paying members of his club the opportunity to come to the White House and exert influence on his cabinet selection process among other traded favors.
Mar-a-Lago members have to pay $200,000 per year, which goes directly to Donald Trump. That in and of itself constitutes selling White House influence, now that Trump holds the title of president of the United States, and continues to regularly travel to Mar-a-Lago to socialize with those who are paying him so they can be there. But the audio tape takes things a step further, because Trump names specific decisions that his paying members could have influence over, such as the interview process of his Secretaries of State and Treasury.
For historical context, former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was caught on tape wanting a cash bribe in exchange for influence over whom he would appoint as a Senator; he’s currently serving a fourteen year prison sentence for it. And now Donald Trump has been caught on tape implying that influence over his cabinet choices was available to those individuals at Mar-a-Lago who are paying him six figures a year.
No reporters were allowed at the time Donald Trump was making the remarks, and he was apparently under the impression that no one outside of his paying Mar-a-Lago members would ever hear his words. But it was in fact recorded, and now that Politico has the leaked audio of it, we’ll find out how it plays politically. Is this merely embarrassing, akin to Mitt Romney’s “47%” leaked tape, or is it Blagojevich-style smoking gun which documents impeachable bribery and corruption?
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report