Democracy Now!

Trump's Cabinet

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  • A company owned by President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner will receive more than $400 million from a Chinese firm in a real estate deal that many experts are calling unusually favorable. The payout from the Anbang Insurance Group is part of a $4 billion deal at Kushner’s Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg reports Anbang has links to the Chinese power structure and that past investments by the company in New York real estate have drawn federal review. Critics say the transaction could be a "sweetheart deal" meant to curry favor with President Trump. We speak with investigative journalist Justin Elliott of ProPublica, who has been closely examining Kushner’s possible conflicts of interest.

  • A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency has resigned in protest of a Trump administration proposal to scale back severely the size and work of the agency. Mustafa Ali helped launch the EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice in 1992 and served under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Up until last week he headed the environmental justice department. He joins us in one of his first interviews since leaving the EPA.

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from any investigation into last year’s presidential campaign, following reports he met twice with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. at a time when he was serving as both a senator and a campaign surrogate for Donald Trump. The revelation directly contradicts Sessions’ sworn testimony to Congress in January that he did not meet with any Russian officials in the run-up to November’s election. On Thursday, Sessions called charges he lied under oath "totally false," and said he failed to mention the meetings with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak because the two did not discuss the campaign. Meanwhile, on Thursday, The New York Times revealed that Flynn and Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, held a meeting at Trump Tower with the Russian ambassador ahead of the presidential inauguration. "Do those relationships risk posing undue influence on him, going forward? Possibly bribery or some kind of coercion on policy?" asks Marcy Wheeler, an independent journalist who covers national security and civil liberties at EmptyWheel.net.

  • The Trump administration is facing a new scandal as the Justice Department has acknowledged Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. This contradicts sworn testimony Sessions gave to Congress. During his confirmation hearing in January, then-Senator Sessions was asked by Minnesota Senator Al Franken whether he knew of contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russia’s government. Sessions replied, "I did not have communications with the Russians." House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday accused Sessions of "apparent perjury" and said in a statement, "Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign." Earlier today, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz called on Sessions to recuse himself from a Justice Department probe into alleged ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia’s government. We speak to David Cay Johnston, the author of "The Making of Donald Trump."

  • The New York Times reports that the Obama administration scrambled during its final days in office to preserve evidence of Russia’s collusion with the Trump campaign. Citing unnamed former officials, the Times says Obama’s aides left a "trail of evidence" across different government agencies to prevent the incoming Trump administration from covering up or destroying evidence. We speak to James Henry about his latest piece, "Wilbur Ross Comes to D.C. With an Unexamined History of Russian Connections."

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