Victoria Ryan Archive

BREAKING: Trump Super-PAC Agreed To Hide Foreign Donations

The main super-PAC supporting Donald Trump’s presidential bid faces allegations that it worked with foreign donors to facilitate donations from prohibited donations to the group.

An undercover investigation by reporters with Britain’s The Telegraph were allegedly directed by Great America PAC co-chairman Eric Beach to funnel a foreign donation through a non-profit so that the source could not be traced.

It’s against campaign finance law for foreign donors to give in connection to an election.

Dan Backer, the group’s lawyer, said in a statement that Beach’s “conduct was appropriate, ethical and legal at all times,” adding that Beach was simply telling the undercover journalists how “a U.S. company with a foreign parent company could potentially engage in legal political activity.”

Trump’s campaign, by law, has no connection to the super-PAC.

The investigation claims that a journalist posed as representative for a Chinese client who wanted to donate $2 million to the super-PAC but understood he could not because of his nationality.

Beach allegedly told the reporter to send the money through a non-profit, which does not have to disclose its donors and does not ban foreign money. Then, the non-profit could donate to the super-PAC legally with donations that originated from a foreign source. Beach, the Telegraph goes on to claim, told the reporter during a phone conversation that the donor could have access to Trump if he wins the White House.

“We can have that whispered into Mr. Trump’s ear whenever your client feels it’s appropriate,” Beach allegedly said about the donation.

The report also claims that Jesse Benton, a former aide to the group who was later convicted in an unrelated election law violation stemming from his work on Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign, reached out to offer his own non-profit as a way to funnel the donation.

Backer, the Great America PAC lawyer, denied that Benton was acting on orders from the PAC and accused him of unsanctioned “puffery and self-promotion.”

“Mr. Benton has not solicited any contributions to the PAC that I am aware of, nor has he been asked to,” Backer told The Telegraph in a statement.

And Benton told the paper that he did nothing “unethical” and did not work as “an agent of Great America PAC.”

Lawrence Nobel of the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance advocacy group, told the Telegraph there should be an investigation if “there is evidence that representatives of a super-PC were soliciting or knowingly accepting foreign national money and helping arrange for it to get into a super-PAC through a [non-profit] organization.”

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Top 1% Preparing For Higher Taxes Under Clinton

For wealthy Americans, a big win by Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8 could get pretty expensive.

Clinton is proposing higher taxes on Americans who make more than $250,000, including a 4 percent “fair share surcharge” on incomes over $5 million a year. She’s also trying to limit the ability of the rich to lower their tax bills through clever planning.

This has made the election a hot topic at accounting and advisory firms that cater to the wealthy. The election “dominates the conversations we have with clients today,” said Brian Andrew, chief investment officer at Johnson Financial Group.

Changing tax laws is easier said than done. Even if the Democratic presidential candidate defeats Donald Trump, she’ll probably be negotiating any tax bills with a House of Representatives still controlled by Republicans. Democrats would get free rein to set tax policy only if a big Clinton win helps them gain control of both the Senate, which is teetering, and the House. The likeliest scenario is divided government, in which the House will thwart any substantial tax increase, said Joe Heider, founder of Cirrus Wealth Management in Cleveland.

Still, “there’s a growing concern [among Republicans] that this could become a wave election,” Heider said.

Clinton proposes raising revenue by $1.4 trillion over the next decade. Almost all of that burden falls on the top 1 percent of taxpayers, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 1 percent’s after-tax income would fall by an average of 7 percent. Trump, by contrast, would cut taxes by $6.2 trillion over the next 10 years, with the top 1 percent getting almost half that benefit and a 13.5 percent boost to their after-tax income.

Advisers to the wealthy are ready to take evasive action if Democrats make big gains.

“We have to be quick enough to pull the trigger after Nov. 8,” said Alan Kufeld, a CPA and tax partner at PKF O’Connor Davies LLP, who says most of his clients have a net worth of $25 million to $1 billion. “You have to have a plan that is very fluid.”

The rich tend to have more financial flexibility than other taxpayers. If taxes look like they’re going up, they have a few cards they can play. One common tactic is being smart about when to receive income and when to recognize losses and take deductions. To cut the taxes you owe next April 15, for example, you can try delaying income to future years while taking as many deductions and losses as you can this year.

“If you’re going to sell something, sell it next year so you have an extra year to pay the tax,” said Richard Rampell, a CPA and principal at MBAF in Palm Beach, Florida.

But a big win by Democrats could turn that conventional strategy on its head, Rampell said. Instead of trying to minimize this year’s tax bill, you might try to take as much income as possible in 2016 – for example, by selling a winning stock – rather than risk paying higher taxes on that money in 2017 or 2018.

There’s a huge question mark hanging over all these tax matters. When would any tax increase be implemented? Ordinarily, a tax bill passed in 2017 would go into effect in 2018, giving the wealthy plenty of time to prepare. The biggest fear is a tax increase passed in 2017 that’s retroactive to the beginning of the year, said Michael Kassab, chief investment officer at Calamos Wealth Management.

It’s happened before. In 1993, a tax bill passed at the beginning of Bill Clinton’s administration affected earnings that same year. If it happens again, the wealthy may have only the last several weeks of 2016 to get ready for higher taxes.

“There really is no way to know,” said Brittney Saks, a partner at PwC based in Chicago. “It’s that uncertainty that’s making people uncomfortable.”

If Clinton gets her plan through, taxes would get both more complicated and harder to avoid. She has proposed new rates on capital gains, so that taxpayers pay higher rates if they hold an investment for less than six years. She’d also give people less flexibility to lower their tax bills with common strategies. For example, she would limit the ability of the wealthy to itemize deductions, with the exception of charitable deductions. She’d also require a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent on incomes over $1 million — the Buffett Rule, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a Clinton supporter, who declared it isn’t right that his secretary should pay a higher tax rate than he does.

Municipal bonds should remain a tried-and-true method for wealthy investors to lower their tax burden. While munis tend to yield less than other bonds, their income generally isn’t taxed. If capital gains tax rates go up, Heider said, investors might also think about investments they can buy and hold for longer periods of time, such as real estate.

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Trump Melts Down As Only Trump Can Claiming Every Single Poll Is Fake

Donald Trump is claiming that every credible scientific poll is a fake invented by Democrats to suppress the Republican vote.

Trump recycled a favorite myth of the conservative media. The Democrats are inventing polls stories can be traced back years. They were first floated in 2008 when Obama was running against McCain. The idea that the polls are a Democratic conspiracy reached new heights in 2012 that culminated with conservatives trying to “unskew” the polls.

In 2016, Trump has gone a step beyond. He is losing by so much that he can’t unskew the polls, so Trump is attempting to delegitimize the polls. Trump is literally losing in every credible, non-tracking scientific poll conducted by objective media.

Democrats don’t need to make up fake polls. Donald Trump is doing a fine job of losing in all of the polls that count.

The Republican nominee signaled his belief that all the polls are fake by claiming on Sunday that he thinks that he is really leading Hillary Clinton with women voters.

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Trump’s Endorsements Are The Only Thing Rigged

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump frequently touts his support among law enforcement and military figures.

On Monday, he told News4Jax that the United States military “conceptually” endorsed him and that “virtually every police department” in the country backed his bid for the presidency. During last week’s third debate, Trump said his hardline stance on immigration and pledge to build a border wall had earned him an endorsement from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

But none of that is true.

Federal agencies are barred by law from endorsing candidates in political elections. Under the Hatch Act, only the president, vice president and high-ranking administration officials are allowed to dip their toe in partisan waters.

The Department of Defense, meanwhile, has its own set of guidelines that tightly restricts any active duty military or civilian personnel from publicly choosing political sides.

The same applies to Trump’s repeated claims about ICE, the agency tasked with deporting undocumented immigrants. Trump has doubled down during campaign rallies and onstage at debates by saying that ICE endorsed him.

But the agency has not endorsed any candidate, nor is it able to. Instead the union representing ICE employees, National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council, gave the Republican nominee its backing. And it represents just a quarter of the more than 20,000 employees that work at the agency.

Trump did receive an endorsement from more than 88 retired military figures last month. His list of supporters included top military brass and Medal of Honor recipients, including Maj. Gen. Sidney Shachnow, a former Army beret and Holocaust survivor, and Vietnam veteran Rear Admiral Charles Williams.

However, Trump’s support from military quarters pales in comparison to what some Republican predecessors received when they ran for the Oval Office.

Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee who lost in 2012, received a sweeping endorsement from 500 retired generals and admirals. The veterans banded together to release a full-page ad in the Washington Times highlighting their support.

Trump has also overstated his standing with local police departments. He has picked up endorsements from the federal police union, the Fraternal Order of Police.

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On Nov. 9, Let’s Forget Donald Trump Happened

With Donald Trump’s chances of winning the White House narrowing, it’s not too soon to ask: If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in November, what attitude should Democrats and Republicans alike take toward Trump voters? It will be tempting to excoriate or patronize them, or to woo them to your cause. But all of these approaches would be mistaken. A much better strategy — for both parties — is to engage in selective memory, and to treat Trump voters as though the whole sorry episode of his candidacy never occurred.

That may seem counterintuitive, especially because there’s no doubt that Trump’s candidacy shows the system needs fixing. But it’s based on the solid intuition that Trump voters, many of them alienated already from mainstream party politics, will only be further alienated by anything that associates them with a candidate whose brand was victory and who delivered defeat.

Even assuming a convincing Clinton win, many, many Americans are going to vote for Trump on Nov. 8. They will do so for various reasons, and I don’t want to make the mistake of assuming that those reasons can be captured in a few sentences.

What can be said definitively about Trump voters is that they will have judged that, whatever his flaws and demerits, he was a better pick than Clinton. That doesn’t necessarily mean all Trump voters will have thought Trump should be president; if the polls are sufficiently lopsided on Election Day, it will be logically possible to vote for him as a protest.

But it does mean at a minimum that the voter wanted to communicate that Trump’s vision is preferable to Clinton’s.

This brute fact about what Trump voters must be trying to say could lead to some potentially dangerous responses from those who don’t vote for Trump. One characteristic risk would be moral outrage. Democrats might be tempted to say that anyone who voted for Trump has bad morals and belongs in the much-discussed “basket of deplorables.” The Republican version of moral outrage against Trump voters would be to say that the candidate’s words (and maybe conduct) around sexual morality made him undeserving of election, and that anyone who voted for him must share his morals.

But moral outrage would be a moral mistake. Plenty of Democrats who don’t care for Bill Clinton’s personal sexual conduct voted for him — twice. Lest we forget, it’s a credible (if today highly unpopular) view that a candidate’s sexual morality is irrelevant to his or her qualifications for the presidency. That view may be wrong, but it isn’t inherently morally outrageous.

As for condemning a Trump voter morally for endorsing a candidate who has called for immoral policies toward Latinos and Muslims, this, too, assumes that Trump voters necessarily share his views. Of course, some may applaud the things Trump has said. But it’s also morally permissible to vote for someone who has expressed moral views with which you strongly disagree. Otherwise, it would have been immoral for some Democrats to vote for Barack Obama when he still opposed gay marriage. Put another way, voting always means picking and choosing between candidates who don’t share all of the voter’s views.

Patronizing Trump voters would also be a mistake — practically, rather than morally. The risk of condescension is especially great given polls that suggest Trump is doing better with white voters who don’t have a college degree than other Republican candidates have done. It will be tempting to think — as some have already argued — that Trump voters have been hoodwinked by a skilled salesman.

Democrats and Republicans alike would do well to remember that whites without college degrees have been especially vulnerable to the reduction in manufacturing jobs in recent decades. Their historically high support for Trump can be explained by the sense that Trump is drawing attention to their political and economic concerns. That’s a perfectly justifiable reason to vote for someone, no matter what you might think about the rest of his policies or his character.

That leads to the final temptation, namely to try to win over Trump voters either by crafting policies aimed at saving the white lower-middle class or by using Trump-like dog-whistle politics that scapegoat immigrants and minorities. The former is at least an admirable goal — but only provided it can be accomplished realistically, without doing much more harm than good, for example by adopting extreme protectionism and starting a trade war with China. The latter isn’t even admirable — and worse, it won’t work, at least not at the national level.

The alternative is to treat Trump voters as though they were ordinary, rational voters choosing among policy options available to them. That will require pretending retrospectively that this election wasn’t somehow special or distinctive, and that Trump wasn’t a uniquely dangerous candidate.

That would be a noble lie, well worth it to help Trump voters feel more connected to a polity that will (hypothetically) have rejected their candidate. The last thing the U.S. needs is for large numbers of citizens to feel that they’ve been morally repudiated for supporting Trump. The country doesn’t need more cultural condescension toward white people who didn’t go to college. And it doesn’t need pandering to those who voted for Trump, either.

Come Election Day, we should vote as though this election matters more than others. Fundamental political structures and morality really are at stake. And on Nov. 9, we should go back to pretending it never happened, and that in the words of Sinclair Lewis, it can’t happen here.

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GOP Voters May Not Show Up for Donald Trump

Last week, John Podhoretz noted that Donald Trump’s new claim that the election will be “rigged” against him isn’t new at all, because Trump contends everything is rigged. From the economy, to the nation’s immigration system, to America’s trade deals with foreign powers, to political polling; all are beset by traitors colluding to rob him and his avid supporters of their due. It’s a seductive narrative for a subsection of voters who are inclined to believe a vast conspiracy is the cause of their lot, and it indicates that Donald Trump will be harping on his poisonous theme long after November 8. But that’s the long game. What will be the effects of Trump’s “rigged” talk over the next two weeks? The indications are that this purely self-destructive notion does Trump no immediate good, and may end up taking a lot of Republicans down with him.

For months now, Trump has explicitly asserted that the only way the GOP nominee could lose Pennsylvania—a state that hasn’t gone red in a presidential race in 28 years—is if voter fraud pushes Hillary Clinton over the top. Recently, that rhetoric has taken on a more menacing tone. “We’re going to watch Pennsylvania—go down to certain areas and watch and study—[and] make sure other people don’t come in and vote five times,” Trump said in October, urging his followers to act as poll watchers in what are clearly references to Democrat-voting minority districts in urban areas. “And when [I] say ‘watch,’ you know what I’m talking about, right?” Trump winked to his followers in Ohio. Surely, many of them do, but how many? Anecdotally, indications are that the cohort that will follow his directive is non-existent.

“There’s a real disconnect between the intensity of the buzz at the national level and anything we’ve seen on the ground,” said Al Schmidt, GOP vice chairman of the Philadelphia election board, in an interview with the New York Times. “We haven’t received a single call from somebody outside Philadelphia looking to be a poll watcher.” A local Ohio Republican official confirmed that interest in registering to monitor activity at polling places was on par with what they had seen in 2012.

Perhaps Trump supporters don’t know (because he has not said) that poll monitoring requires prior registration. Maybe Election Day will be characterized by roving gangs of red-hat-wearing, truncheon-bearing hoodlums descending on minority polling places. That’s the fear expressed by many a hysterical Democrat. The more likely reality is that Trump’s talk of the vote being rigged has had the understandable effect of depressing Republicans. Why would you go out of your way to participate in an election that is already lost to your party and your candidate? Republicans have long feared that Trump would leave the GOP with a gaping hole where its base voters should have been on Election Day. That fear is becoming a reality.

A new ABC News survey released on Sunday showed that the GOP is losing its interest in the election. Last week’s ABC News/Washington Post poll found a dramatic 12-point drop in enthusiasm to vote among Trump-backing Republicans who supported a different candidate in the primary. “Intended participation now has followed,” read Langer Research’s dispatch. “The share of registered Republicans who are likely to vote is down 7 points since mid-October.”

That poll also found that the vast majority of voters believe Trump should accept the results of the election if he loses. 34 percent of self-described Republicans disapprove of Trump’s effort to preemptively delegitimize the election’s results. Another 23 percent of Republicans agree with the majority who say he’s just making excuses for his inevitable loss.

As the bottom has fallen out of Republican confidence, so has the floor under longtime GOP officeholders begun to buckle. The Cook Political Report now lists Republican fixtures in the Congress like John Mica, Darrell Issa, and Scott Garrett in the endangered column. Their races are tossups and, if the GOP doesn’t show up in November, they could lose. That’s especially true for Issa and other California Republicans, who are combatting GOP ennui resulting from the lack of a Republican in the state’s race for U.S. Senate. Both New York Times and FiveThirtyEight forecasters predict the GOP will lose control of the Senate despite the fact that raw polling averages show the race for the upper chamber is a tossup at best.

Voters do not vastly prefer Democrats to Republicans in the “generic congressional ballot” question, and the GOP might be able to generally outperform Donald Trump at the polls. If the GOP’s base voters stay home, however, the result could be a Democratic wave election.

The cratering of GOP support would only serve Trump’s long game. His ego may not survive a national landslide loss in which Republican congressional majorities survive. Trump’s claims of a rigged election may be baseless, but they are not purposeless. Whether intentional or not, the outcome of Trump’s “rigged” talk will bury the GOP along with his presidential campaign.

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Donald Trump Is Killing Ivanka’s Business As Women Boycott Her Brand

Cosmopolitan showcases Coulter’s tweets, but the hashtag “has earned an estimated 1 million impressions on Twitter, according to her analytics report.” The campaign has quickly gone beyond her 14,000 Twitter followers and Ivanka might need to take her name off of her line if her business is to survive.

Thanks to Trump’s sexual assault accusations, Coulter launched the hashtag #GrabYourWallet — a take on Trump’s “grab them by the p*ssy” remark as a call to action for women to “vote with their wallet.” While Ivanka recently claimed she’s “just a daughter” not a surrogate,” she’s been at her father’s side campaigning frequently. In a Cosmopolitan interview, Coulter explained that many women have given Ivanka a pass because it’s difficult to be objective about one’s parents. But when the “Access Hollywood” tape came out, all bets were off. “I think [women] took particular offense,” Coulter said, “as I did, to the fact that Ivanka tries to make feminism a part of her brand but is standing by, as an official campaign surrogate, a guy who is an alleged serial sexual assaulter of women. The disconnect was too big. And they were ready to speak up about it and flex their consumer power about it.”

It seems Trump’s business spiral isn’t isolated to the Donald. And Ivanka Trump might soon need to take her name off of her fashion line now, as well. According to Yahoo Fashion, women are not only boycotting Ivanka’s brand, they’re also avoiding the stores that sell it.

Mr. Trump’s campaign has brought a heightened scrutiny on his business dealings as well as the businesses of his children. But, even as Ivanka has pushed paid family leave, her own employees have called out her hypocrisy — saying that they had to fight Ivanka Trump to gain it for themselves. While Mr. Trump’s campaign attacks the US government and politicians on both sides of the aisle for trade laws, both Trump and Ivanka take advantage of cheap labor in China. Ivanka’s fashion line, like Trump’s menswear, is manufactured by Chinese workers instead of workers in the United States — where her father claims “we don’t make anything anymore.”

Now, some women are turning away from Ivanka, thanks to her father’s attacks on women and women’s rights. Yahoo talked to brand and digital strategy Shannon Coulter, who recently called on Americans to boycott Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories. The company is estimated to be worth $100 million — but not for long if these women have something to say about it.

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Donald Trump Made ‘Apprentice’ Staff Work Through Hurricane Sandy Chaos

While the film crew was off and the city was recovering, Trump was tweeting away. “Hurricane is good luck for Obama again- he will buy the election by handing out billions of dollars,” Trump tweeted that day. He later added a note of generosity about his ongoing crusade to prove that President Obama was not born in the United States.

“Because of the hurricane, I am extending my 5 million dollar offer for President Obama’s favorite charity until 12PM on Thursday.”

That’s right: Trump also used the storm as an opportunity to further fuel the birther conspiracy theories against President Obama. Meanwhile, the crew that was dealing with the damage of the hurricane was expected to be on set by 9 a.m. on Oct. 31. The city’s subway system was still suspended at that time, making it borderline impossible to travel from one part of New York to the other.

“You know the world is crazy when New York gets hit by a hurricane— and Florida doesn’t,” Trump tweeted on Nov. 1.

But not crazy enough to stop the show from going on. On Oct. 30, 2012, in the midst of the fracas, Trump tweeted that his “fans shouldn’t worry. We have adjusted the filming schedule of the upcoming 13th season of @CelebApprentice appropriately due to the storm.”

The Trump campaign and publicists for Apprentice executive producer Mark Burnett did not immediately respond to requests for comment on this story.

As one staffer put it, the task of shooting was much easier for Trump who simply had to take the elevator down from his apartment for shots that were to take place in the “boardroom”—the show’s primary set.

A slight reprieve came for a number of people on set the day after the storm.

According to emails obtained by The Daily Beast, members of the film crew—but not other staffers—were charitably given a day off on Oct. 30:

When asked about Trump’s alleged humanitarian aid, a member of the Apprentice crew quickly responded: “Ha. Ya no pretty sure he did not do that.”

Trump’s claims of borderline heroism during the chaos of Hurricane Sandy are undermined by the fact that multiple members of his TV show’s staff have told The Daily Beast that he wanted them to continue work in Trump Tower while practically the entire city was at a standstill.

“We had to work straight through it,” one staffer said. “The city was shut down, no traffic lights, etc. I would bike from bk [Brooklyn] to [Trump] Tower,” he said of his first days back at work during the storm’s aftermath.

“When I was working on the show we basically had to work during Hurricane Sandy which was completely absurd,” another staffer said. “The executive producers for the show pushed everyone to work during Hurricane Sandy. They actually bragged about how there were 20-30 productions at that time that had shut down except The Apprentice production.”

According to emails obtained by The Daily Beast sent from production on the show, the crew was expected to show up on Oct. 26, at which point a preemptive state of emergency had already been declared.

While Donald Trump was publicly bragging about being a humanitarian savior in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the mogul was privately forcing employees of his reality-TV show The Apprentice to return to work in the days directly following the storm, multiple former staffers tell The Daily Beast.

“We all had to come in right after Sandy,” a former staffer said. “We were in his building, and we fought with [a] manager, who said, ‘It’s not from me, it’s from [Donald Trump] himself’… Ivanka [Trump] did very nicely [come down] and thank us for coming in,” the ex-staffer said. “She really was very nice but we were all [thinking], ‘Well, it was easy for you Trumps to simply come downstairs, why are we here?’”

The Apprentice alum, who called Trump’s reality series a total “dictatorship” with Trump at the helm, described a scene in which mid-level staffers were instructed to brave the storm’s aftermath and devastation and reconvene at Trump’s Manhattan building on Tuesday, Oct. 30, a day after the storm hit. Hurricane Sandy, the most destructive storm to hit New York in decades, had shut down most of the city. (The fourth anniversary of the storm will occur next weekend.)

None of that seemed to stop Trump and his senior producers’ drive to keep working. Emails reviewed by The Daily Beast show that some of the staff had in fact worked the day after the storm hit, including having to contact local businesses that were, obviously, in no mood to answer on the immediate day of recovery.

“There was an internal email that [had] gone out for the crew—Hurricane Sandy hit, and we were all made to come into [Trump Tower] the day after the storm,” recounted the former Apprentice staffer, who requested anonymity due to extensive non-disclosure agreements signed by those involved in the production. “I was personally really pissed off… Everyone said Trump was fully aware.”

Even though the film crew and celebrity apprentices were given the day off, staffers on the production office floor—“more than a dozen people with nothing to do, it was really stupid,” as the staffer described—were ordered to take taxis to Trump Tower. “This was not safe, it was a mess… we were all fucking pissed off,” the source said.

Approached by a livid team, a manager clarified that this was “some fucking Trump bullshit.”

“We all worked the day after,” another former employee told The Daily Beast. “The whole city was shut down. It was really irresponsible and selfish… Like, no one was under the illusion that we were making fine art here, that it had to be pushed that hard. It was crazy. Business in the city had basically shut down.”

“This was all Trump,” another Apprentice alumnus said. “If he had wanted us to not brave the aftermath and come to his dumb tower, he could’ve done that. It was clear to everyone he… was saying the show must go on. It was un-freakin’-believable.”

The devastation of the storm in Manhattan was immediate, with power being cut in Lower Manhattan, a crane dangling over a street in Midtown and multiple collapsed buildings. Several thousand people were evacuated due to the eventual crane collapse and at least 53 people died in the storm.

Meanwhile during and after the hurricane, Trump was publicly taking credit for giving storm refugees shelter in Trump Tower, something that he was required to do by law. What’s more, there’s little to no evidence that this major act of supposed charity even occurred.

“We are taking care of hundreds of people in the Trump Tower atrium—they are seeking refuge. Free coffee and food,” he tweeted the day the hurricane made landfall, Oct. 29.

Within 24 hours, the number of people Trump claimed to shelter had increased tenfold. “The Trump Tower atrium is such a great place & kept thousands of people warm & safe during the storm—thanks, staff!” he wrote at 12:45 p.m. on Oct 30.

According to the website for Trump Tower New York, the hotel’s atrium is large enough to hold up to 350 guests for a cocktail party. Packing thousands of people into the fancy lobby would have led to refugee-camp-like conditions—and perhaps garnered a bit of media coverage. But the only photo The Daily Beast could find of Trump Tower sheltering guests during Hurricane Sandy was a screengrab that Business Insider posted from The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

Besides that, there was no other documentary evidence that Trump Tower had “thousands” of people on the night the hurricane hit. Neither the Trump Organization nor Trump’s presidential campaign responded to requests for more information on any efforts Trump put into helping Hurricane Sandy survivors.

As New York City called for a state of emergency during Hurricane Sandy, which left 53 people dead, Donald Trump forced staff to come to Trump Tower to shoot The Apprentice a few floors below his apartment—in between tweets challenging the president to produce his birth certificate.

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Trump Place Residents Want Their Building’s Name CHANGED

A movement is afoot in a couple of the Trump Place buildings on Riverside Boulevard below 72nd Street to have the name of their buildings changed. Donald Trump’s company developed some of those buildings and then sold them to various other companies; Trump International Realty continues to manage 200, 220, and 240 Riverside Boulevard, according to the website Brick Underground.

Brick Underground got ahold of a letter being passed around at 220 Riverside Boulevard asking tenants to weigh in on a possible name change. It says that 57 homeowners and 24 renters signed a petition asking for the removal. We’ve posted it below.

Brick quoted one tenant who is behind the push for a name-change.

“It’s embarassing to live in the building,” the woman said. “I’ve had lots of friends make comments about it. My kids are so disgusted with Donald Trump that they find it viscerally uncomfortable to live in a building that has his name on it.” She says many of her neighbors feel the same way and want to rid the property of its association with Trump as soon as possible.

The letter points out that the building at 220 is named “Trump Place”, but 240 is called “The Heritage” despite having the same management.

But changing the name could cost a pretty penny.

“[We heard] it would cost between $200,000 and $1 million to replace the name, which would cut into the capital fund of the building,” she explains. “So does it make financial sense as a protest to remove a name when there could be other capital expenses that the building could incur, and how exactly would the building even assess that?”

Residents of 160 Riverside Boulevard are also petitioning Equity Residential to change the name of their building. That online petition had 272 signatures as of Sunday, Oct. 23. Neither the Trump nor Equity Residential reps responded to Brick.

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Ex-Trump Aides Tied To Firm That Tried To Expand Russia’s Spying Efforts

Two of Donald Trump’s closest former aides have ties to a firm that tried to help the Russian government spy on its own people, sources told The Post.

Former Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and ex-“core’’ aide Rick Gates have financial links to EyeLock, which lobbied Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s government in a bid to expand the country’s domestic spying program, sources said.

The Russians wanted to use “iris-reading’’ technology in their subways to scan riders’ eyes and ferret out those on “watch lists,’’ sources said.

The company planned to help Russia hide the iris-scanning machines throughout Moscow’s stations, sources said. Just one scanner could have secretly read and collected biometric data from as many as 50 people per minute.

The company didn’t win the contract. But its ties to Trump and Putin through the two men raises troubling questions over potential conflicts of interest, critic say.

“This is quite an unusual business relationship for senior presidential campaign staff members to have with a foreign government,” a former White House official told The Post.

“It raises a lot of questions about national security and what should have been publicly disclosed to get a better handle on ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”

Trump has tried to downplay any potential issues involving his own business empire and the Russian government by insisting, among other things, “I don’t know Putin.’’

But his two aides were unable to distance themselves. Manafort resigned from the campaign in August amid growing heat over his ties to Ukraine’s pro-Russian government. Gates hung on a bit longer — till last month — before he also stepped down.

Through Manafort’s consulting company, David Manafort & Freeman, the pair had helped elect Viktor Yanukovich, Ukraine’s pro-Putin president.

The US Justice Department is now investigating whether the consulting company illegally used the US financial system to aid Yanukovich and his regime, according to reports.

As for EyeLock LCC, Manafort was a major early investor, four sources close to the company said.

Gates was hired by EyeLock as an independent contractor to build business in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sources said. Gates has also worked for Manafort’s political consulting company in Ukraine.

Manafort invested as much as $1 million and owned about 10 percent of EyeLock as early as 2006, multiple sources said. His stake was diluted to less than 1 percent after EyeLock was acquired last year by Voxx International, according to a shareholder close to Manafort.

EyeLock’s push to get into the Moscow metro system was no different than working with the Federal Security Service, or FSB, the successor of the Soviet Union’s KGB, analysts told The Post.

“Really, the FSB is everywhere,” Steven L. Hall, who ran intelligence operations for the Central Intelligence Agency in Eurasia and Latin America for 30 years before retiring in 2015, told The Post. “If the Russian metro officials suspected anything difficult or problematic they would call the FSB.

“It would not surprise me, as a former intelligence officer, that the Russians are looking to have that capability,” he said.

While other countries use similar “iris-reading’’ technology at customs checkpoints, Russia wanted to covertly install it throughout its subway system in order to track those walking through, including everyone from US diplomats to journalists and tourists, sources said.

“They had some people on a naughty list, a black list, and they wanted to track these people,” a former executive told The Post. “It was more surveillance, hit a black-list database, send up an alert.”

While neither Manafort nor Gates were directly involved in the day-to-day operations at EyeLock, they were both aware of its plans to enter the Russian market, sources said.

In an interview before he left the Trump campaign, Gates said he was only involved in helping EyeLock procure US government contracts and had no involvement with Russia. He didn’t return a follow-up voice mail asking about his involvement in the Middle East.

Manafort didn’t return calls and an e-mail seeking comment. EyeLock, through a rep, denied that Manafort ever had any direct involvement or operational role with the company’s business.

“There is an entity which holds a minority interest in EyeLock LLC,” the company said through a spokesman, John Dillard. “The Company understands that Mr. Manafort has (or had) a .03% indirect interest in EyeLock LLC through that entity. The notion that small, indirect interest would give Mr. Manafort a financial incentive to attempt to act on behalf of EyeLock is preposterous.”

Investing in and working for a company that does business with Putin’s Russia is legal, and it appears that EyeLock didn’t run afoul of any sanctions.

Trump’s campaign said it was unaware of Manafort and Gates’ ties to EyeLock.

“Mr. Trump and the campaign have absolutely no knowledge of this, and these individuals are no longer with the campaign,’’ Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, told The Post.

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