What We Read This Week: Our Investigative News Roundup
By David Crook, DCReport Managing Editor
Miller’s Racism Revealed
In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch.
The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.
Hatewatch reviewed more than 900 previously private emails Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 4, 2015, to June 27, 2016. Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics in the emails. His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80% of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration. Hatewatch made multiple attempts to reach the White House for comment from Miller about the content of his emails but did not receive any reply.
The Grift Goes On
At least eight former Trump White House, the presidential transition and campaign officials were hired as outside contractors to the federal health department at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, according to documents newly obtained by Politico.
They were among at least 40 consultants who worked on a one-year, $2.25 million contract directed by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services administrator Seema Verma. The contractors were hired to burnish Verma’s personal brand and provide “strategic communications” support. They charged up to $380 per hour for work traditionally handled by dozens of career civil servants in CMS’ communications department. The arrangement allowed the Trump allies to cycle through the federal government’s opaque contracting system, charging hefty fees with little public oversight or accountability. Over a four-and-a-half month stretch from September 2018 to January, the contractors collectively billed at least $744,000. The Department of Health and Human Services halted the contract in April in the face of widespread criticism.
Trump Wants $500 Million for D.C. Hotel
In its effort to sell off the lease to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump Organization has put together a glossy investor brochure complete with pictures showcasing the hotel’s grandiose architecture, its central location and its spa’s Himalayan salt chamber. The hotel’s biggest selling point though, according to a copy of the brochure seen by CNN, is the one thing that the Trump family insists it didn’t take advantage of: profiting off foreign governments. “Tremendous upside potential exists for a new owner to fully capitalize on government-related business upon rebranding of the asset,” reads the 46-page investor pitch.
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Trump is hoping to get more than $500 million for the property, or about $2 million per room key (the sales price divided by the number of rooms) — which would be one of the highest prices ever paid for a hotel in Washington.