Trump: ‘I’d love to see a shutdown’ over immigration

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he supports a government shutdown if Democrats won’t agree to tighten immigration laws, undercutting ongoing bipartisan negotiations on Capitol Hill.

The comment, which came during a White House meeting on the violent MS-13 gang, was not well received in the room. Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Virginia Republican who represents a district with thousands of federal workers, confronted Trump about the remark and urged him to avoid another government shutdown.

“If we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” Trump said of the nation’s immigration laws. “We’ll do a shutdown and it’s worth it for our country. I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.”

He added: “If we have to shut it down because the Democrats don’t want safety, and unrelated but still related, they don’t want to take care of our military, then shut it down. We’ll go with another shutdown.”

The government will run out of funding Thursday if negotiators can’t strike a deal.
Several Republican aides working on the budget deal have voiced concern to CNN that the President’s comments about a shutdown may cause things to fall apart.
“Holding my breath right now,” texted one senior Republican working on the deal.

The issue is whether House Democrats — who have for months been outright resistant to signing onto a budget agreement without a resolution on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — will now back away from the breakthrough deal negotiators are approaching.

The President’s remarks happened at the same time Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, in separate news conferences, touted the progress on the talks and made clear a deal was close. The talks also separate the issue from immigration altogether — long the GOP goal — making the President’s comments somewhat confusing.

“Things are in a good place, but also fragile,” another GOP aide said, noting all of the moving parts in the talks. “We could do without anything inflammatory for a couple of days.”

Speaking shortly after Trump during the White House meeting, Comstock said she would not back such a move and urged Trump to avoid it.

“We don’t need a government shutdown on this,” she said. “I think both sides have learned that a government shutdown is bad.”

At a later event, Comstock described her comments with Trump as “a very civil discussion” and that she doesn’t “support government shutdowns.

When asked to clarify his remarks at the end of the roundtable, Trump told reporters again that he would shut down the government over immigration.

“I would shut it down over this issue. I can’t speak for everybody at the table but I will tell you, I would shut it down over this issue,” he said, adding that if the US doesn’t straighten out its borders “we don’t have a country. Without borders we don’t have a country.”
Rep. Pete King, R-New York, who attended the White House meeting, told reporters afterward that he doesn’t think the government will shutdown over immigration policy, despite Trump’s comments.

“I don’t see that in the offing,” King said.

Schumer responded to Trump’s shutdown threat, saying it “speaks for itself.”

“We had one Trump shutdown, nobody wants another, maybe except him,” Schumer said.
Trump oversaw a multi-day government shutdown last month over immigration reform.

Though Trump opposed that government shutdown, he has previously said the United States could use a government work stoppage.

“Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess,” he tweeted in May.

[CNN]

Trump contradicts self repeatedly in immigration meeting

President Donald Trump appeared to contradict himself multiple times in a meeting on immigration with a bipartisan group of lawmakers Tuesday — a reflection of growing frustration from Capitol Hill about the lack of direction from the White House on the issue.

The President at times suggested he would be looking to sign everything from a stand-alone fix for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program — set to expire in March — to comprehensive immigration reform, often appearing to being guided by lawmakers in the room to modify his positions.

The comments came during a nearly hour-long conversation between the roughly two dozen lawmakers, the President and White House staff that the press was allowed to record — a window into the difficult negotiations that still surround the issue of replacing DACA, which protected young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children from deportation, and border security.

At the end of the session, Trump suggested that ultimately, he would sign whatever he was presented with.

“I think my positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with,” Trump said. “If they come to me with things I’m not in love with, I’m going to do it. Because I respect them.”

Sens. Jeff Flake and James Lankford after the meeting both said the meeting was surprisingly helpful and they appreciated the President adding some clarity to the discussions, while noting hammering out the details remains to be worked out.
Lankford acknowledged that the meeting got “confusing,” saying though Trump at the beginning defined “DACA” as a deal that included DACA plus border security and two other areas of reform, it was unclear during some parts of the meeting.

“It got confusing at times, in fact he said later, ‘I just want a clean DACA and we’ll do a comprehensive later,’ and some of us said, ‘Whoa, what do you mean by that?’ And he came back to those four items,” the Oklahoma Republican told reporters afterward.
The White House declared the meeting a success in a statement released Tuesday afternoon.

“President Donald J. Trump just concluded a successful bipartisan and bicameral meeting on immigration reform,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said in the statement. “During the closed-door portion of the meeting, they reached an agreement to negotiate legislation that accomplishes critically needed reforms in four high-priority areas: border security, chain migration, the visa lottery, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.”

Asked during the White House briefing by CNN’s Jim Acosta whether Trump is demanding border wall funding in exchange for a DACA deal, Sanders would only say: “The President wants border security.”

Pressed again repeatedly, Sanders again insisted Trump wants “border security” funding — but would not commit to the wall.

Trump’s equivocation was the opposite of what lawmakers have long sought from the President. Republicans especially have pushed for the administration to draw clear lines around what would be a doable deal, giving them cover with the base to compromise and giving them leverage with Democrats to move the debate forward.

Asked if Tuesday provided the clarity that lawmakers have been asking for, Lankford said there was still more to be done.

“Oh no, there’s still some room to go on it,” he said. “They’re continuing to get more and more clear on what they’re putting out, we’re getting closer and closer.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn made the point directly to Trump during the meeting, saying that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell both told the President at a legislative retreat with Republicans over the weekend that only a bill with Trump’s support would move forward for a vote.

“So, that’s I think the picture that we need to be looking through, the lens we need to be looking through, not only what can we agree to among ourselves on a bipartisan basis, but what will you sign into law,” Cornyn said. “Because we all want to get to a solution here and we realize the clock is ticking.”

But details in the meeting were still hard to come by.

At one point, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, suggested to Trump that Congress could pass the “Dream Act” alone, which would provide a path to citizenship for DACA recipients and which has been Democrats’ starting point demand, and then turn to comprehensive reform.

When Trump indicated he would agree to that, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said border security would have to be part of the package, prompting Trump to say that’s what he thought Feinstein meant, and then a flurry of clarifications.

Trump said his version of a “clean” deal would include DACA, border security, ending “chain migration” or family-based migration, and ending the diversity visa lottery. But those issues are commonly thought to only be achievable in a comprehensive immigration deal.

Trump then both endorsed doing comprehensive immigration reform sooner and later.
Lawmakers working on a DACA deal have long fought to keep the bill narrow, saying adding more into it would only make it collapse under its own wait.

Trump said he would “take the heat” if lawmakers wanted to move toward comprehensive immigration reform, saying they were “not that far away” from it.

But then a few minutes later, Trump said DACA could come first and reform could come down the road, or immediately after.

“I think what we are all saying is we’ll do DACA and we can certainly start comprehensive immigration reform the following afternoon, OK?” Trump said. “We’ll take an hour off and start. I do believe that. Because once we get DACA done if it’s done properly with security and everything else, if it’s done properly, we have taken a big chunk of comprehensive out of the negotiations. I don’t think it’s going to be that complicated.”

Since Trump decided to end DACA in September, lawmakers have been working to find a deal on the issue. The Tuesday meeting came ahead of a January 19 government funding deadline that Democrats are pushing to include DACA and a host of other issues.

[CNN]

Media

Trump Promised Not to Work With Foreign Entities, His Company Just Did

A major construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on the latest Trump golf club development in Dubai despite a pledge from Donald Trump that his family business would not engage in any transactions with foreign government entities while he serves as president.

Trump’s partner, DAMAC Properties, awarded a $32-million contract to the Middle East subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation to build a six-lane road as part of the residential piece of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project called Akoya Oxygen, according to news releases released by both companies. It is scheduled to open next year.

The companies’ statements do not detail the exact timing of the contract except to note it was sometime in the first two months of 2017, just as Trump was inaugurated and questions were raised about a slew of potential conflicts of interest between his presidency and his vast real estate empire.

The Chinese company, known as CSCEC, is majority government-owned — according to Bloomberg and Moody’s, among others — an arrangement that generally encourages growth and drives out competition. It was listed as the 7th largest company in China and 37th worldwide with nearly $130 billion in revenues in 2014, according to Fortune’s Global 500 list.

The company, which has had a presence in the United States since the mid-1980s, was one of several accused by the World Bank of corruption for its role in the bidding process for a roads project in the Philippines and banned in 2009 from World Bank-financed contracts for several years.

Meredith McGehee, chief of policy, programs and strategy at Issue One, which works to reduce the role of money in politics, said doing business with a foreign entity poses several potential problems for a president, including accusations that a foreign government is enriching him, gaining access to or building goodwill with him and becoming a factor in foreign policy.

The Trump Organization agreed to not engage in any new foreign deals or new transactions with a foreign entity — country, agency or official — other than “normal and customary arrangements” made before his election.

But Trump ignored calls to fully separate from his business interests when he became president. Instead, he placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his “exclusive benefit,” which he can receive at any time. He retains the authority to revoke the trust.

McGehee said Trump clearly knew foreign arrangements could be problematic because he outlined a list of restrictions, although vague ones, for his company to follow while he served as president. But more importantly, she said, the writers of the U.S. Constitution knew they could be too.

The Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution says officials may not accept gifts, titles of nobility or emoluments from foreign governments with respect to their office, and that no benefit should be derived by holding office.

“This is not just a concern of good government organizations,” she said. “It was a fundamental concern of the founding fathers.”

Trump pledged to donate profits from spending by foreign governments at his hotels to the U.S. Treasury, though he has been accused of violating the constitutional restriction and faces multiple lawsuits over the issue.

In some deals reviewed by McClatchy, the Trump Organization licenses its name and receives royalties from a project but does not have any input on who the developer hires. But in other cases, officials from the Trump Organization, including the Trump children, have taken a great interest in the development, walking the sites to check on progress.

An official with the Trump Organization, which is run by the president’s adult sons, confirmed the company licensed its name and brand to DAMAC Properties and has entered into an agreement to manage the Dubai golf course.

The Chinese company was appointed by DAMAC to undertake some infrastructure work and to build one of their hospitality developments” said the Trump Organization official who asked for anonymity. The official said the residential project and the golf course are “totally unrelated” despite marketing materials, including brochures, websites and news releases, showing them intricately tied together. DAMAC and CSCEC did not respond to messages about the development.

CSCEC appears in the Panama Papers, a massive data breach from law firm Mossack Fonseca whose publication last year lifted the veil on the secretive world of offshore companies, which can be used for legitimate business purposes but can also be used to evade taxes and launder money.

The documents show CSCEC had offshore companies listed in the Bahamas and in Panama, where it has projects. Mossack Fonseca subjected it to greater scrutiny, giving it Politically Exposed Person status, in part because of its state-owned status.

The company’s contract is for work on the Trump World Golf Club Dubai project, which boasts of “living on a grand scale” with a golf course designed by famed American golfer Tiger Woods, thousands of sleek, modern villas, restaurants, shops, schools, nurseries and a lake. The development touts it will house Dubai’s first tropical rainforest complete with waterfalls and tropical birds under a sky dome.

“This unparalleled development provides luxury living on a grand scale, with over 2,000 hotel apartments of varying size, all offering exceptional views of the development, the lake and the lush fairways of the Trump World Golf Club Dubai,” according to a brochure. “The properties are fully furnished and our staff is available to you 24 hours a day, to ensure that you enjoy premium service on a par with the world’s finest hotels.”

In February, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., attended a ceremony to open the first golf club in Dubai after their father spent years trying to break into the Middle East market.

Trump International Golf Club Dubai, part of a larger project built by a development giant DAMAC Properties on the outskirts of Dubai, includes more than 100 Trump-branded villas selling from $1 million to $4 million.

Hussain Sajwani, DAMAC’s wealthy chairman, who has family members listed in the Panama papers, offered the Trump Organization $2 billion in deals following Trump’s election, according to both sides. Trump said he rejected the offers to avoid conflicts of interest.

“Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East,” Trump said at a news conference in January. “And I turned it down. I didn’t have to turn it down because as you know I have a no conflict situation because I’m president…But I don’t want to take advantage of something.”

Trump’s Plan to End Qatar-Saudi Arabia Deadlock Fails

 

President Trump’s plan to de-escalate the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Qatar ended in failure this week after the two countries released conflicting statements hours after a phone call organized by Trump.

The New York Times reported on Saturday that a phone call late Friday between the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, was meant to find common ground between the two nations. Instead, the two countries attacked each other hours later in the media over which country capitulated and agreed to peace negotiations first.

“The problem is as much about appearing to not capitulate to the other side as it is trying to solve any problems,” Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute told the Times.

“Given the hypersensitivity of both sides to appearing weak,” he added, “it makes the problem considerably harder to solve.”

Trump himself seemed to hint that he was favoring Saudi Arabia in the negotiations on Thursday in comments at the White House, saying that “massive funding of terrorism by certain countries” was still a huge problem. Trump has accused the country of sponsoring terrorism in the region in the past.

“If they don’t stop the funding of terrorism, I don’t want them to come together,” he added.

Trump called the two leaders separately on Friday, urging them to work together to end terrorism in the region and work with the United States to counter Iran’s influence.

Unity among the Arab nations “is essential to promoting regional stability and countering the threat of Iran,” read a White House read out of the calls.

Trump “also emphasized that all countries must follow through on commitments from the Riyadh Summit to defeat terrorism, cut off funding for terrorist groups, and combat extremist ideology,” it added.

[The Hill]

Finland Says No Fighter Deal with Boeing After Trump’s Ad-Lib Comments

President Sauli Niinisto on Tuesday denied that Finland was buying new fighter jets from American planemaker Boeing (BA.N), following remarks by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Finland is looking to replace its ageing fleet of 62 F/A-18 Hornet jets with multirole fighter aircraft in a procurement estimated at 7-10 billion euros by 2025.

“One of the things that is happening is you’re purchasing large amounts of our great F-18 aircraft from Boeing and it’s one of the great planes, the great fighter jets,” Trump said on Monday at a news conference with his Finnish counterpart in the White House.

Niinisto, who was standing next to Trump, looked surprised but did not follow up on the comment. He later denied the deal with Boeing on his Twitter account and on Tuesday in Washington.

“It seems that on the sale side, past decisions and hopes about future decisions have mixed … The purchase is just starting, and that is very clear here,” Niinisto told Finnish reporters.

Helsinki is expected to request that European and U.S. planemakers provide quotations for new jets in 2018, with a final decision made in the early 2020s.

A government working group has listed possible candidates as Saab’s (SAABb.ST) Jas Gripen, Dassault Aviation’s (AVMD.PA) Rafale, Boeing’s Super Hornet, Lockheed Martin’s (LMT.N) F-35 and the Eurofighter, made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain.

[Reuters]

Trump Disbands Business Councils Before They Disband Themselves. Takes Credit.

Some of America’s top CEOs were preparing to issue a statement criticizing the president — so he effectively fired them from a White House council first.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced he was ending two business advisory councils amid a stampede of defections and after one of the groups had decided to disband over the president’s much-criticized response to the weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Va.

A person close to Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum said the group had already told the White House it had resolved to disband and condemn the president’s Tuesday claims that “both sides” were responsible for violence at a white supremacist and neo-Nazi gathering and that some “very fine people” were among the marchers defending a Confederate statue.

The group in a statement presented the decision as mutual with Trump, though EY CEO Mark Weinberger tweeted Wednesday that “we made the right call.” Members of the separate Manufacturing Council — which had already lost eight members this week — were due to hold their own call Wednesday.

“Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, ending the debate.

The split likely won’t change Trump’s agenda — the long-time real estate developer still intends to slash corporate taxes and regulations. And the White House said a separate group of government officials called the American Technology Council, which met with top Sillicon Valley executives and Trump in June, will keep working. Still, the break-up of the two high-profile CEO groups shows increasing pressure on business leaders to distance themselves from the White House and could hurt Trump’s standing with the pro-business, establishment wing of voters and donors in the Republican Party.

“There is no room for equivocation here: the evil on display by these perpetrators of hate should be condemned and has no place in a country that draws strength from our diversity and humanity,” JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in a statement Wednesday after Trump disbanded the Strategic and Policy Forum to which he belonged. Dimon had weighed in on the events in Charlottesville over the weekend but had not criticized the president directly.

“It is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart,” he said.

Executives historically have clamored to belong to White House business councils, which give them an opportunity to pitch the president behind closed doors.

Merck’s Kenneth Frazier — the first CEO to announce he was leaving Trump’s manufacturing council this week — repeatedly pressed Trump in private on reforming tax laws. Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris was initially granted a private sit-down with EPA head Scott Pruitt as the agency weighed a key regulation, though the meeting was trimmed down to a brief greeting.

In return, the executives served as surrogates for a White House trying to sell its pro-business message. Council members regularly flanked the president at a series of announcements and executive order signings. Executives like Campbell’s Soup CEO Denise Morrison told reporters they were optimistic about Trump’s effect on the economy. Dow donated about $1 million for the president’s inauguration.

The corporate backlash started Monday with Merck’s Frazier — the only African-American CEO on Trump’s manufacturing council — who said he was quitting “to take a stand against intolerance and extremism.” Within a day, the CEOs of Under Armour and Intel said they were leaving too.

The president on Tuesday called them “grandstanders” on Twitter and lashed out at Merck specifically. He claimed the defections wouldn’t hurt him.

“For every CEO that drops out of the Manufacturing Council, I have many to take their place,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. However, no other CEOs publicly stepped forward to join the council, and five more leaders said they were leaving.

On Tuesday — before Trump’s news conference but after he took heat Saturday for blaming “many sides” for violence in Charlottesville — Morrison of Campbell’s said she planned to remain on the manufacturing council. Social media campaigns in response called the company a “Soup Nazi” in reference to the television show Seinfeld; another circulated altered photos of fake Campbell’s products called “Cream of Complicity” and “Swastika Soup.”

On Wednesday, Morrison said she couldn’t serve on the council any longer. “Racism and murder are unequivocally reprehensible and are not morally equivalent to anything else that happened in Charlottesville,” Morrison said in a statement.

Others also flipped their stances. “The President’s most recent statements equating those who are motivated by race-based hate with those who stand up against hatred is unacceptable and has changed our decision to participate in the White House Manufacturing Advisory Council,” Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said on Wednesday — less than 24 hours after telling reporters he planned to stay on the council so J&J would have a voice in high-level discussions.

Activists said the overnight campaigns and threats of boycotts motivated executives. Progressive groups have also pushed payment processing companies to cut ties with hate groups, collecting thousands of signatures on petitions, though Discover, Visa and Mastercard told POLITICO they had limited ability to force banks to cut off merchants conducting legal businesses.

“The collapse of the CEO councils is not due to an outbreak of conscience,” said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. “Instead, it is public pressure — pressure for the CEOs to evidence a measure of decency — that is driving them off the councils. That’s not exactly the most inspiring example of moral leadership. No profiles in courage here.”

Silicon Valley executives such as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Apple’s Tim Cook also met with Trump in June through the administration’s American Technology Council, which is technically made up of government employees. Still, activists like Weissman are calling on the affiliated executives to condemn Trump’s comments too.

Until this week, Trump had spent months praising the same executives who are now rebuking him.

“I want to thank these great business leaders,” Trump said in February, when Merck’s Frazier, J&J’s Gorsky, Campbell’s Morrison and other CEO advisers joined him for a signing ceremony on an executive order on regulatory reform. “They’re helping us sort out what’s going on, because … it’s been disastrous for business. This is going to be a place for business to do well and to thrive.”

[Politico]

Trump Preps for Presidency as He Attempts to Sue a Painter Out of Business

After his election, Donald Trump quickly settled a series of business disputes — but just days before his inauguration, the president-elect’s company is still waging a legal battle against a Florida shop owner over an unpaid bill.

The matter could have been settled for what amounts to pocket change for a billionaire, but the Trump Organization decided to take its chances in court.

Now Trump stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. And if he wins, it could force a small businessman — one of hundreds who say they were stiffed by Trump over the years — possibly into bankruptcy.

That businessman, Juan Carlos Enriquez, owner of The Paint Spot, won the first round of the legal skirmish last summer when a judge found a lien he slapped on the Trump National Doral golf resort was valid.

The court ordered Trump to pay for $32,000 worth of paint, plus nearly $300,000 in legal fees. Trump’s company appealed, and barring a last-minute resolution, the case will be pending when he takes office; the deadline for final briefs is two days before he becomes the most powerful person in America.

Enriquez’s lawyer, Daniel Vega, said he is not surprised it has gone this far.

“The Trump litigation team litigated this case from day one like lions on fresh meat and continue to do so now on appeal,” he told NBC News.

The matter dates back to the fall of 2013 when Enriquez, who owns three Miami paint stores, was tapped by a subcontractor to supply paint for a major remodeling project at the Doral resort, owned and operated by a Trump company called Trump Endeavor.

There is no dispute that the paint was delivered and used on the property, according to court records. But after the subcontractor walked off the job weeks before completion, Enriquez didn’t get a final payment.

In a deposition, a project manager for general contractor Straticon testified that he failed to get the Trump Organization to pay the balance.

“Were you trying to pay him,” Vega asked the manager, Jamie Gram, during the sessions.

“I was,” Gram replied.

“And what happened?”

“Somebody chose not to,” Gram said.

“Who?” the lawyer asked.

“The Trump Organization,” Gram said.

“Who at Trump?”

“I don’t know,” Gram said. “Mr. Trump. Donald Trump.”

In October 2014, Enriquez filed a lien — a legal tool that can be used to recover a debt by tying up a piece of property — against Doral.

Eight months later, Enriquez filed a lawsuit against Trump Endeavor, seeking to foreclose on the 800-acre resort.

The Trump team’s defense was largely technical.

It turned out that when Enriquez took the job he submitted paperwork called a Notice to Owner, which would allow him to file a lien against the property if a bill wasn’t paid.

A Trump official gave him a form to work off — but it listed the general contractor for a different part of the project, and Enriquez repeated the mistake on his notice.

Gram later noticed and flagged the error. Enriquez said he would fix it but never did, court documents show.

At trial, though, Gram testified that the decision not to pay Enriquez “had nothing to do with a defective notice to owner.”

He went on to explain that the bill went unpaid because the Trump Organization had already paid “a decent amount of money” to the subcontractor, M&P, before it abandoned the job. The resort used any money left over, plus additional funds, to complete the unfinished paint job, he said.

Gram’s testimony appeared to distress Trump’s legal team, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto noted in his June 2016 ruling.

“When Mr. Gram made that admission, Trump’s trial attorneys visibly winced, began breathing heavily and attempted to make eye contact with him,” the judge wrote.

The judge found that Enriquez had made “diligent efforts” to comply with the lien law and that being given the wrong paperwork by the Trump official was the root of the mistake. He also dismissed Trump clams that the bill was fraudulent, subtracting only $76.39 for a stepladder from the bottom line.

Cueto then dealt the Trump team a bigger blow, ruling that they had to pay Enriquez’s legal costs. Because Vega had taken the case on contingency, meaning he would not get paid if they lost, the judge tacked on a multiplier to compensate him for the risk he took, nearly doubling the award to $283,949.91.

“Trump elected to fight this case ‘tooth and nail’ instead of resolving it for a reasonable amount, driving up Paint Spot’s litigation fees and costs,” the judge explained.

The Trump trial attorneys did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Trump Organization’s general counsel. The attorney handling the appeal, Bruce Rogow, did not respond to a question about who should have paid Enriquez for the paint used at Doral.

“Florida Statutes on liens are very specific and the appeal seeks to enforce those statutes which would mean that there was no valid lien to begin with and therefore the plaintiff was not entitled to any relief,” he wrote in an email. “That really is all that is at issue.”

Rogow did not respond to a question about whether the president-elect was personally involved in the decision to appeal the judgement. A spokesperson for Trump also did not respond to questions from NBC News.

Vega said he is confident The Paint Spot will win the appeal. But if he loses, he said, Enriquez could be saddled with Trump legal fees and might face bankruptcy. Trump’s attorney declined to say whether they would seek to recoup the legal fees.

Despite the stakes, Vega said he and his client were not afraid to take on the litigious billionaire.

“The Paint Spot is also owned by a proud small business owner… and he felt and we agreed that he was right factually and legally and therefore, we both decided to take on the risk,” Vega said.

(h/t NBC News)

Donald “Never Settle” Trump Settles University Lawsuit

Donald Trump has agreed to a $25 million settlement to end the fraud cases against his now-defunct Trump University, New York’s attorney general said — a move that the president-elect said Saturday was done in order to “focus on the country.”

The settlement likely means that Trump will avoid becoming possibly the first sitting president to testify in open court.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called the settlement on Friday “a major victory for the over 6,000 victims of his fraudulent university.” Lawyers involved in the cases say the settlement applies to all three lawsuits against Trump University including two cases filed in California.

Trump commented on the settlement via Twitter on Saturday, telling his 15 million followers that the only “bad thing about winning the presidency” was not being able to fight the “long but winning” Trump University trial.

(h/t NBC News)

Reality

Remember this?

And this?

And this?

 

 

Five Days Before Election, Another Trump Property Fails

A Canadian judge has appointed a receiver to oversee the sale of a Toronto hotel-condo tower bearing the name of U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump after the tower’s developer failed to make payments on its loans.

The decision brings the 65-storey Trump International Hotel & Tower, the first Trump-branded hotel in Canada, one step closer to a change of ownership after several setbacks since it opened its doors in 2012.

In his presidential campaign, Trump has emphasized his credentials as a wealthy businessman, while his political opponents have long pointed out that his career includes business failures. The Toronto project showed the limits of Trump’s brand in Canada.

The Toronto tower was developed by Talon International Inc., which licensed the Trump brand and hired a Trump-owned company to manage it.

Since its launch, less than half of its residential condos have been sold by Talon and the hotel’s occupancy rates have been lower than some investors in the rooms had hoped. The average daily rate for hotel rooms in the building has declined by about 30 per cent, court documents suggest.

Some hotel unit buyers have said they were misled into investing and have launched lawsuits against Talon, which Talon has said are without merit.

(h/t CBC News)

Lawsuit Alleges Trump Wanted to Replace Unattractive Female Employees

Donald Trump wanted to fire female employees he considered unattractive and replace them with better-looking women at a golf resort he owned, according to court documents from a 2012 lawsuit.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the court documents detail a lawsuit that alleges Trump pressured employees at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos to replace those he viewed to be unattractive female employees over a number of years in the 2000s.

The report comes as Trump has faced renewed criticism that he disrespects women, a narrative fueled by his controversial remarks about a former Miss Universe that he worked with when he owned the beauty pageant. Hillary Clinton raised in Monday’s debate the fact that he called Alicia Machado “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping” after she won his 1996 Miss Universe pageant.

Hayley Strozier, an employee at the golf club until 2008, alleged in a sworn declaration she “had witnessed Donald Trump tell managers many times while he was visiting the club that restaurant hostesses were ‘not pretty enough’ and that they should be fired and replaced with more attractive women.”

According to the LA Times report, the employees said in their lawsuit that they rotated employees schedules “so that the most attractive women were scheduled to work when Mr. Trump was scheduled to be at the club.”

The Trump Organization called the allegations “meritless.”

“We do not engage in discrimination of any kind,” said Jill Martin, vice president and assistant general counsel for The Trump Organization. “The statements made by a group of former disgruntled employees are far from an accurate portrayal of what it is like to work at Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles. Mr. Trump’s sole focus is on ensuring that the facility and operation are providing the highest level of service and an unparalleled golf experience. The only appearance Mr. Trump cares about is that of the facility and the grounds. Rather than looking to old statements from a handful of employees with an ax to grind, the media should focus on the thousands of happy employees, of all races, gender, size and shape, whose lives upon which Mr. Trump has made an incredibly positive impact.”

In the lawsuit, employees claim that Trump’s stated preferences regarding female employees caused managers to value appearance over skill when making hiring and staffing decisions. They also allege that Trump himself made inappropriate and unprofessional comments toward female employees.

The LA Times described the case as a “broad labor relations lawsuit” that is “focused on the course’s high-pressure work culture” in addition to spotlighting the revelations about Trump’s treatment of female employees.

According to the Times’ report, “the bulk of the lawsuit was settled in 2013” with a $475,000 payment to plaintiff employees without any admission of wrongdoing. Another female employee who said she was fired for complaining about the treatment of women at the golf club agreed to a separate settlement with confidential terms.

(h/t CNN)

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