The Trump presidency plays out like a series of unfortunate events, and if this makes you feel like you are watching a bad television show, then you are not alone.
We are all unwitting participants in this macabre reality show we like to refer to as Keeping Up with the Trumps. What makes it even worse is that none of us are getting cut a SAG residual check, while the White House is cashing in big time. Here’s a recap of what happened on this week’s 'episode.'
Keeping Up With The Trumps, S1, Ep10
We thought we’d heard the last of Michael Flynn when, one month ago, Trump had him fired for lying about meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. However, the former White House National Security Advisor is back in the headlines, and this time he has a story to tell – but only under immunity.
The FBI and the Senate and House intelligence committees are conducting separate inquiries into Russian interference in the US election. Flynn’s lawyer has indicated that he is willing to speak with investigators on the case.
In a statement released Thursday, Flynn’s attorney, Robert Kelner, wrote, "General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit."
Apparently, the songbird is willing to sing, but first, he needs "assurances against unfair prosecution."
Flynn's attorney explains, "No reasonable person, who has the benefit of advice from counsel, would submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch-hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution."
President Trump, supporting Flynn’s position, tweeted on Friday “Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!"
Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017
Maine Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate panel, told CNN:
"This is not a witch-hunt. This is an effort to get to the truth of some very important questions.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the Russians were behind an effort to interfere in our elections. To continue to deny that – it just flies in the face of all of the reality."
As is typical of much of Trump’s administration, Flynn’s request for immunity reeks of hypocrisy. Last September, when a Hillary Clinton aide was granted immunity during the investigation into Clinton’s private email server, General Flynn commented: "When you are given immunity, that means you have probably committed a crime."
Recently released documents reveal that Flynn was paid nearly $68,000 by Russia-based entities for fees and expenses, including $45,000 from Russian government mouthpiece RT TV.
On Saturday, the White House released yet another document showing that Flynn made more than $1.3 million from government contractors, tech firms and political groups. This new report confirms that Flynn failed to disclose some of these payments in the earlier report.
Flynn's attorney explained the discrepancy was due to the initial filing being only a draft, and was not followed up by ethics officials because Flynn had just vacated his position in government.
The disclosure also shines a spotlight on financial dealings of other White House staff members, including Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner. The married couple, according to the report, controls real estate and investment holdings worth up to $740 million.
In addition, Ms. Trump owns part of Trump International Hotel, located near the White House, which some critics are saying could become an ethics conflict of interest.
The report shows that National Economics Council and former president of Goldman Sachs, Gary D. Cohn, is valued between $253 million and $611 million, while earning $77 million last year alone – beaucoup bucks by any standard.
The president's chief strategist, Steve Bannon, owns a consulting firm worth up to $25 million and real estate holdings in the neighborhood of $10.5 million
Exposing the assets of as many as 180 senior White House officials, the report reveals the collective net worth of Trump's staff to be around $12 billion, making this the wealthiest administration in American history.