Archive for Donald Trump

Valentine’s Day: From Russia With Love

russiaRussia dominated headlines this Valentine’s Day in America.

Most of it related to the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser to the President just 24 days after Donald Trump was inaugurated. I won’t bore my readers with a rehash of all the news coverage online and in the media about this story, although I will point to this piece by John R. Schindler at The Observer as well as a late-breaking New York Times piece tonight. The NYT story details contacts between Russian intelligence officers and Trump campaign staff ahead of the 2016 election.

I will touch on Schindler’s piece briefly before I move on to my focus. Schindler, a former National Security Agency analyst, discusses the “war” between Trump and the nation’s spy agencies. The scariest part? That the agencies are withholding intelligence from the White House because they don’t trust the administration. One official even told Schindler that they assume the Kremlin has had ears inside the White House Situation Room since President Trump took office.

Schindler’s report is so concerning, along with all the other news about Russian ties to the Trump administration, because of other items in the news that don’t get the wall-to-wall coverage on cable news.

Just last week, Russian military aircraft buzzed a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. The flyovers were described as “low altitude” and “high speed.” Russia denied the reports. There were several encounters between Russian military aircraft and U.S. ships in aircraft in 2016.

It also came to light today that the Russians have apparently placed themselves in further violation of the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by secretly deploying a new missile system that they had been testing since 2014.

There are also reports today of a Russian surveillance ship in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Delaware. This ship made a port call in Cuba before proceeding up the East Coast in international waters.

Additionally, The Moscow Times reported on a story in pro-Kremlin paper Komsomolskaya Pravda. The report included an interview with a Taliban warlord who wanted to build ties with Russia to get the United States out of Afghanistan.

Throw in all the latest intrigue with Russian spies and apparent poisonings, as well as the Flynn issues, and it’s very important that the United States keeps its eye on the ball with the Russians. They are an adversary and we shouldn’t cozy up to them or let them take advantage of us.

I’m really not sure what to make of reports the Kremlin is worried about the unintended consequences of their Trump fandom, but I suspect there’s something else behind those reports getting out.

Buckle up, the bumpy ride will apparently continue.

MD Public Defender’s Trump email called “inflammatory”

MD Public DefenderOver the weekend, MD Public Defender Paul DeWolfe sent an email to all Office of Public Defender (OPD) staff members across the state using state government email servers. DeWolfe insists the email wasn’t “anti-Trump” but one Republican state senator calls it “inflammatory rhetoric.”

In his email, DeWolfe mentioned that, “Many of us are still in shock and despair over the [election] results.”

He then talks about the election of Nixon and Republicans in 1968 that he claims “resulted in the reversal of so many of the progressive reforms brought about by the struggles of the Civil Rights movement.”

After detailing the things that he said Nixon was responsible for rolling back, DeWolfe then said, “Believe it or not, this election seems worse to me than even the election of 1968.”

After saying that it is time to “get angry and fight back”, he discusses Trump policies including stop and frisk, “mass deportation” of illegal immigrants, and issues related to incarceration and policing.

DeWolfe also has a three-point call to action for his staff that involves them joining his volunteer immigration team, joining the fight for bail and pretrial reform, and becoming “active in the fight against the anticipated wave of bigotry and repression against our minority, immigrant and LGBTQ clients.”

Here’s a screenshot of the DeWolfe email:

md-public-defender

Yesterday, I sent a request for comment to OPD and pointed out that the message could be considered an anti-Trump email. I received the following statement from Paul DeWolfe:

Communicating with staff about significant national and local issues relevant to criminal defense practice is an important priority of mine.  Consistent with reactions across the country, many OPD staff have expressed concern regarding how the election will impact our clients and our work.  The email message was not anti-Trump but responsive to threats made on constitutional rights that will directly impact the people we represen

After being contacted for a comment, Republican State Senator Justin Ready had strong words for the email sent to OPD staff by DeWolfe:

I think using taxpayer funded resources to send inflammatory material is questionable to say the least. It’s wrong to accuse people who voted for Trump or Trump himself of wanting to roll back the clock on civil rights. That’s an outrageous charge. The OPD performs an important public service ensuring that anyone accused of a crime can have legal representation. However, its irresponsible to be engaging in this kind of rhetoric. It’s wrong and it’s untrue.

More on MD Public Defender Paul DeWolfe

DeWolfe was named MD Public Defender in late 2009 after his predecessor was terminated. He was previously Montgomery County Public Defender.  He was reappointed earlier this year. In an interview in July, he discussed his office’s work to free people arrested during the Baltimore riots of 2015.

The MD Public Defender is hired by a 13 member Board of trustees. 11 members of that board are appointed by the Governor and one each by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Good luck finding the membership of the board on the OPD website (or anywhere else online), it’s not there. I even looked in PDFs of their annual reports and in legislative audits.

Speaking of legislative audits – according to a story in The Daily Record in August 2014:

The Office of the Public Defender failed to ensure clients were financially eligible, and the agency failed to submit invoices to the state comptroller for timely payment, according to an audit released Thursday by the Office of Legislative Audits.

Be sure to read the entire audit online from the Office of Legislative Audits for further details.

Maryland State Board of Elections databases show DeWolfe gave money in 2006 to the campaign of Tom Perez. Federal Election Commission databases show no federal contributions given by Paul B. DeWolfe of Maryland.

More from his bio:

A Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers since 2005, Mr. DeWolfe is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is a former President of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorneys Association, and a former President of the Bar Association of Montgomery County Maryland. Currently he is Secretary of the Criminal Law Section Council of the Maryland State Bar Association.

 

Kennedy Class on Display

kennedyReaders probably heard the news that former President George H.W. Bush plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in the November election. Of course this unsubstantiated claim is just hearsay brought to us by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who couldn’t even beat Republican Bob Ehrlich in deep-blue Maryland in 2002.

Politico first reported on Kennedy Townsend’s Facebook post that showed her shaking hands with the nonagenarian former president. She wrote the following as her caption: “The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

Kennedy Townsend, eldest daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, verified her version of events in a phone interview with Politico. A Bush spokesman responded: “The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days. He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim.”

CNN reports that “sources” tell them Bush made the remarks Monday in a receiving line at a Points of Light event in Maine. They also report that others in the room heard his conversation with Kennedy Townsend and that approximately 40 people were there. Kennedy Townsend later deleted her Facebook post.

Patrick Svitek of Texas Tribune tweeted some other comments from a Bush spokesman:

All of the statements from a Bush spokesman match the way the man has comported himself his entire adult life. Whether you agree with him politically or not, he is the epitome of class. Unfortunately, Ms. Kennedy Townsend showed herself to be no better than a gossiping schoolgirl. Whether she told the truth or not, it was pretty classless of her to spread it all over Facebook and give interviews about it. She was either grasping for relevance or just being hyper-partisan.

It looks bad for her, not for Bush.

More on Kennedy Class

The last time I recall her being in the news, Kennedy Townsend was lecturing Marylanders on how government knows best. I don’t have to remind you of some of the things the Kennedy family is known for including her grandfather Joe, Uncle Ted, and other members of the family who achieved greater fame.

Slate covers Quinton Report story

slateWelcome Slate readers!

Be sure to read my original story referenced in the article.

Slate.com reported today on Marco Gutierrez.  If you will recall, Gutierrez is co-founder of Latinos for Trump who made the news last week for his comments about “taco trucks on every corner.”

A story at The Quinton Report last week revealed some of the details of Gutierrez’s past – including all of his bankruptcies and the revocation of his real estate license.

In addition to the details I provided last week, Slate reports on other information that has come to light in their article by Ben Mathis-Lilley:,”Shocker: The ‘Taco Trucks on Every Corner’ Trump Guy Is a Serial Scam Artist.”

Slate points to a Mercury News piece on Gutierrez as well:

The California Department of Real Estate revoked Gutierrez’ broker’s license in 2012 after accusing him of making two unauthorized charges to a client’s bank account—one to pay $800.36 to Sprint and the other to pay $821.57 to Comcast.

Under a settlement with state regulators, Gutierrez was allowed to get a restricted seller’s license, but he surrendered that in 2014 after being alerted that he was once again being investigated for real estate law violations.

Slate also discusses the 14 bankruptcy filings:

Meanwhile, the conservative blog Quinton Report has found a court filing in which it’s revealed that Gutierrez and his wife have filed for bankruptcy a combined 14 times. A woman involved in the case testified that the family seems to use the practice of filing and then not following through on bankruptcy proceedings as a delaying tactic…

Mathis-Lilley’s closing:

This is my favorite “Guy improbably supporting Trump turns out to be a clown” story since the Trump “University” “student” who defended Trump University to CNN turned out to also have gone bankrupt. Gee, what do you think it is about the Trump campaign that deadbeats find so appealing?

Not Just Slate

Over the long weekend, Cher tweeted my original story to her 3 million followers:

Two days later, Gutierrez responded:

Latinos for Trump founder: 14 bankruptcies

Latinos for TrumpMarco Gutierrez, co-founder of Latinos for Trump, appeared on MSNBC Thursday evening. If you live under a rock, you may not have heard what he said.

In addition to those comments, his business credentials appear to be sketchy at best. He and his wife have filed a total of 14 bankruptcy cases. California revoked his real estate license in 2011 for surreptitiously taking money out of a client’s account, illegally collecting fees, and for engaging in real estate activities on a suspended license.

Gutierrez told Joy Reid last night that, “My culture is a very dominant culture and it’s imposing and it’s causing problems. If you don’t do something about it, you’re gonna have taco trucks on every corner.”

The remarks took the internet by storm overnight with memes, hashtags, and countless posts. The comments followed Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and subsequent remarks on illegal immigration in a Phoenix speech.

Since then, several members have left the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump.

More on the Co-Founder of Latinos for Trump

Marco Gutierrez attended the University of Phoenix and received a degree from Kaplan University, according to his Linkedin profile. He also lists himself as an autodidact under his education.

Gutierrez appears to have started his career as a used car salesman. He also worked for Mortage.com and Realty World, according to his profile. He was also the founder and owner of Hidalgo Properties in Antioch, California for almost six years. He currently lists himself as the founder of Pepito International and Vice President of Operations for the American Dream Housing Agency Corporation.

A Facebook page for Pepito International is not active recently and also goes to a web domain that has no actual site on it. The American Dream Housing Agency page on Facebook has only been liked by four people.

A court record that reads like a soap opera reveals that Gutierrez and his wife Jennifer filed a total of fourteen (combined or individual) bankruptcy filings. The records also reveal that Marco Gutierrez had his real estate license revoked by the State Department of Real Estate in 2011.

Gutierrez lost his license “for various violations, including the surreptitious taking of money from the bank account of Mr. Oscar Garzon, the illegal collection of fees in advance of a modification for the same individual and his wife, and for [Gutierrez] acting in the real estate field on suspended licenses.”

Also from that court record, Gutierrez and his wife filed “a total of 14 bankruptcy cases (either jointly or individually).”

Another firm, Home Retention Team, was doing business without a real estate license in California. Both members of the Gutierrez couple were involved with HRT as well. Other records from the Department of Real Estate show more details.

Marco Gutierrez, co-founder of Latinos for Trump, also lists multiple awards from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) on his Linkedin profile. He gave a handful of small contributions to the NRCC with his occupation listed as owner of Hidalgo Properties.

The Facebook profile of Mr. Gutierrez also shows his pictures with plenty of luminaries from the GOP and the right, including Tomi Lahren of Blaze TV (pictured with Gutierrez in the above photo.) Be sure to read the vitriol and venom he has received from commenters (many of them Latino) on his public pro-Trump status updates.

Some people might find it just a bit ironic that the co-founder of Latinos for Trump lost his real estate license over shady practices and has filed, along with his wife, fourteen separate bankruptcy cases.