What are these emoluments and bribes you speak of?

What are these emoluments and bribes you speak of?

by digby

These people aren't even trying to hide their bribes anymore. There's no need to. They can just buy some hotel rooms or some golf memberships. It's so easy:

T-Mobile in a letter to congressional Democrats said it had spent nearly $200,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., since announcing its $26 billion merger with Sprint, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

This is the first time T-Mobile has acknowledged its spending, which it said totaled $195,000 since the announcement of the merger. It represents a significant spike in spending at the Trump property.

“While we understand that staying at Trump properties might be viewed positively by some and negatively by others, we are confident that the relevant agencies address the questions before them on the merits,” Anthony Russo, T-Mobile USA’s vice president of federal legislative affairs, wrote in the letter dated Feb. 21, according to the Post.

The letter was in response to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).

Before the merger was announced, only two T-Mobile officials had ever stayed at Trump's hotel, according to the Post. Since April 29, T-Mobile executives have stayed at the hotel for at least 52 nights.

Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about the T-Mobile stays at the Trump hotel as the Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission continue to review the multibillion-dollar merger.

T-Mobile in the letter wrote that the nearly $200,000 paid for “meeting space, catering, business center services, audio/visual equipment rental [and] lodging" in the hotel, according to the Post.

Russo acknowledged that Trump hotel spending made up about 14 percent of T-Mobile's corporate budget on D.C. hotels since April. Half of that budget was spent at Hilton hotels, Russo wrote, the Post reported.

Warren and Jayapal in a letter to T-Mobile CEO John Legere last month questioned whether T-Mobile was attempting to "curry favor" with the president by having executives spend tens of thousands at his hotel.

They pointed out that nine of T-Mobile's top executives were scheduled to check in at the Trump hotel the day after the merger announcement.

"The decision to stay at the Trump Hotel appears to be unusual for several reasons," Warren and Jayapal wrote. "Your stay began one day after the merger announcement. You had a particularly high profile during your stay, walking the lobby in an outfit described as 'a walking billboard for T-Mobile,' posing for Instagram pictures, and, during a later stay, meeting in the lobby with former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski."

Legere has said the hotel stays were not politically motivated.

Russo in the letter, sent to Warren and Jayapal on Feb. 21, wrote that the company is "confident" the hotel stays will not have an impact on the merger.

Trump's son Eric, who took over the family's real estate business when his father took office, previously told the Post that it was "no surprise" that T-Mobile would want to stay at the Trump hotel, saying the hotel has “absolutely no role in politics.”

We know that Trump ordered that the Justice Department block the At&t-Time Warner merger because he wanted to force Time Warner to destroy CNN in order to preserve it. I think we all knew that at the time. But there's no reason to believe he also couldn't be persuaded to back a merger for a little scratch. That's just good business.

Oh, and by the way, no one seems to remember that Rudy admitted months ago that Trump ordered the deal blocked:

Rudy says "the president denied the merger"

AT&aT was on the defensive all week. But then HuffPost published this interview with Trump's new lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Man, oh man.

Giuliani said "the president denied the merger," which flies in the face of everything the W.H. and the DOJ have said for months. All along, the government has said Trump was NOT involved in blocking the AT&T-Time Warner deal. Lawyers and P.R. people have tried to shut down all of the speculation about improper political interference. DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim denied it in a sworn affidavit. Now, all of a sudden, Giuliani says Trump was behind it?!

What Rudy was trying to do

He was trying to defend the president against any suggestion that Cohen improperly influenced the administration. "Whatever lobbying was done didn't reach the president," Giuliani said. But then he went further, telling HuffPost's S.V. Date that "he did drain the swamp... The president denied the merger. They didn't get the result they wanted."