“Look at her, she so cute! And so gorgeous! Hey, Vlad, do you want to say hello to my daughter, Ivanka?”
One could imagine the conversation going just like that after learning today that Donald Trump would hand the phone to his daughter while in the middle of calls with leaders of foreign nations according to a report by the Associated Press.
The revelation comes buried within an article ostensibly analyzing the fateful phone call with Ukranian president Volodymyr Zelensky that may ultimately prove to be the call that finally brought down the corrupt Trump regime — once the impeachment hearings that resulted from a whistleblower’s leak of the contents of the call seemingly predicating the release of already allocated military aid to that country on Zelensky’s willingness to help Trump find dirt on his political rival Joe Biden are completed.
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According to White House insiders who are familiar with the handling of Trump’s calls with foreign dignitaries, the president has naturally broken with the past practices of his predecessors by rejecting the pre-call briefings by top foreign policy officials meant to prepare him for the calls.
The former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, evaluated the reports of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president by drawing on his experience during similar high-level discussions during the Obama administration.
“Judging from the content of the Trump-Zelenskiy call, Trump was not reading talking points,” McFaul said. “No one on our team ever would have prepared a call package prompting Obama to ask for a personal favor that would help him win reelection. I also doubt that Trump’s NSC staff would have written or cleared such a talking point for their boss.”
Mc Faul may be underestimating the obsequiousness of Trump’s national security staff which has likely risen since the president announced drastic cuts in the number of staffers at the NSC last week in the wake of the whistleblower’s unveiling of his corrupt activities.
The behavior of the president regarding these important foreign policy calls as described by the Associated Press is as appalling as you might expect.
One individual with firsthand knowledge of how the Trump calls with foreign leaders are handled said the president “hates” such “pre-briefs” and frequently has refused to do them. Trump doesn’t like written background materials either, preferring to handle the calls himself, often in the morning from the residence. Occasionally, while on the phone with foreign heads of state, Trump has handed the receiver to his daughter, Ivanka Trump, so she can talk with the leader, according to this individual.
The person said a six-page pre-brief with attachments was once prepared for Trump before a call to a foreign leader. But that turned out to be too long, as did a single-page version. Preparing pre-brief note cards that offered about three talking points for Trump to make on a call was the norm, according to this person, who feared retribution for describing this process and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The individual said that when Trump is done with the note cards, he often rips them up and tosses them in a burn bag. Staff who handle records have had to retrieve the burn bags from the residence, put the papers out on a table and tape them back together to preserve them as official presidential records, this person said.
As with most of the long-standing policies and procedures put in place to ensure security and compliance with government accountability and transparency regulations, the Trump administration seems to feel free to ignore the practices that past presidents have relied upon to ensure the smooth functioning of their operations. In fact, the line between the willful ignorance of proper procedure and the deliberately deceptive undermining of regulations that could provide a paper trail for congressional investigators is so thin in this instance as to be virtually invisible.
Trump handing the phone to Ivanka while on a call with a foreign leader might be seen as cute if she were a four-year-old, but, as a grown woman who is also involved in her own business dealings and who has no official role in the administration, the practice registers as a nepotistic nod to corruption and an attempt to perpetuate a family dynasty.
“Hey, President Xi, hold on a second. My daughter wants to ask you about those trademarks on voting machines that she applied for in your country.”
“What? Yes, we still do that here but don’t worry, it’s all for show. We know how to make sure we get the results that we want,” one can imagine a call with the Chinese president going.
Luckily, once Donald Trump leaves the White House, no separate impeachment process will be necessary to remove his unelected family members from offices that they were born into. The additional removal of all those extra people through one simple process makes impeachment seem like such a bargain.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.
Original reporting by Deb Riechmann at the Associated Press.