Jack Abramoff, author of Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist, brought his uniquely informed perspective on President-elect Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest to Friday’s Breitbart News Daily.
Abramoff said he had a “mixed take” on Trump’s plan for separating his family business interests from his duties as President of the United States.
“On the one hand, frankly, he is doing probably that which is prudent, and likely – I don’t know the exact laws that they have to deal with – but I presume that he’s careful enough, and sure that he follows the law,” he said. “As I’ve been saying for a few months to people in the reform movement and people in the media, he’s going to do exactly what’s required by the law, and not care at all beyond the law – the ‘optics’ and how it looks to people.”
“I think President Trump gets it, that people are out, in essence, to diminish his stature, and do everything they can to hurt him. But he doesn’t care,” Abramoff said. “Unlike past Republicans, who cower when the media attacks them, and who did everything they could to become friends with the establishment in Washington, he does not care.”
“Now that, to me, is a very good sign for the important things in ‘draining the swamp,’ which is the rest of Washington. Donald Trump is not the corruption problem in Washington. Washington, the Congress, and the rest are the corruption problem. He at least is somebody who’s speaking about doing something about it,” he said.
When Kassam asked for his advice on the first step toward draining the D.C. swamp, Abramoff laughed and said it was like “going up to your kid’s room, and everything is thrown asunder, so what’s the first thing you address? You’ve got to address everything.”
“I think you certainly have to start with the cozy atmosphere in Washington by the special interests and their lobbyists, using their money to buy results from the Congress and from others – and from the Obama administration, by the way,” he said.
“What I think, Raheem, is outrageous is this latest foray into the world of the Obama administration, of how they’re proud there’s never been a scandal,” he added, calling the claim of a scandal-free administration “ridiculous.”
“First of all, let’s just take the environmentalism, in terms of the funding, the money that they stole for Solyndra – and not just Solyndra, by the way. There were literally a dozen Solyndras that went on, that the media buried. They did everything they could to bury Solyndra,” he said.
“That’s just openers. There were scandal after scandal. But that is a perfect example of the swamp, where somebody like a rich guy like [Tom] Steyer, and others like him, come in, and they use their money. They elect these Bolsheviks who’ve been running the country for the past eight years, and then these guys turn around and hand our money to their donors because their donors basically put them in power. And then, they have the temerity to turn around and look at us and look at President Trump, and basically say, ‘Oh, you’re the corrupt ones.’ That’s ridiculous,” Abramoff scoffed.
Kassam observed that Florida Senator Marco Rubio, one of President-elect Trump’s major rivals for the 2016 GOP nomination, has been exceptionally hard on Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson, to the point where he might prove to be the only Republican vote against Tillerson’s confirmation. He wondered if Rubio was angling for the position of “Republican agitator-in-chief,” should current gadflies such as Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham retire.
Abramoff said he was not sure what Rubio was trying to accomplish.
“You have to look at this as part of the demise of Marco Rubio,” he argued. “Marco Rubio has slid into the abyss of entropy at this point, and one has to wonder, what is he doing? Now, I know a lot of this impelled by this ridiculous belief that we should re-constitute the Cold War and go to war with Russia as quickly as we can. Which, unfortunately, the high priest of this are John McCain and his assistant priest, Lindsey Graham. But it seems that Marco Rubio is joining this clarion call to re-arm, so we can fight with the post-Communist Russia. Which, of course, many of us think is absolutely ridiculous.”
“Part of the anti-Tillerson mantra and attack is about that issue, which, by the way, is an attack on President Trump because President Trump is the only significant politician outside of the House of Representatives – where there is Dana Rohrbacher, chairman of the Russia subcommittee, the European subcommittee, rather, who also understands this. But he’s the only national politician who’s serious, obviously President-elect, who understands that we cannot go to war with Russia, that that is not a productive use of anything, and that, in fact, we ought to do everything we can to find a way to ally with Russia to fight radical Islam. The same way, by the way, that the United States allied with Joseph Stalin, a far worse villain than Putin could ever dream of being, to fight Adolph Hitler,” Abramoff contended.
“Our national interest requires us to align ourselves with folks, unfortunately, who don’t necessarily get the Mother Teresa award. But our national interest – and by the way, there is no world leader who gets the Mother Teresa award – we have to align ourselves with people who aren’t necessarily those that we think are saints, so we can get done the bigger job. And that’s what Tillerson is saying, and that’s what Trump is saying. And that is what angers Rubio, which is shocking and astonishing,” he said.
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