Verify: Yes Trump Has Never Taken A Presidential Paycheck
WASHINGTON The magic of Verify starts with our viewers. We fact-check your questions about the viral things you read on social media.
After a recent segment, verifying that taxpayers do indeed, foot the bill for the president to travel to his own campaign rallies, lots of viewers messaged the team saying: “So what? President Trump has never taken a salary in office.”
Well, we hear you, and that is 100 percent true.
Under 3 U.S. Code § 102, the president’s annual salary is $400,000.
For the past two years, Trump has donated his salary to government agencies, during a televised press briefing with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
After taxes, each agency took home a check for $78,333 dollars and some change:
National Park Service- received 1Q 2017 paycheck on April 3, 2017
Department of Education- received 2Q 2017 paycheck on July 26, 2017
Department of Health and Human Services- received 3Q 2017 paycheck on November 30, 2017
Department of Transportation- received 4Q 2017 paycheck on February 13, 2018
Department of Veterans Affairs- received 1Q 2018 paycheck on May 17, 2018
Small Business Administration- received 2Q 2018 paycheck on October 3, 2018
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – received Q3 2018 paycheck on January 25, 2019.
Trump has not yet announced where his last paycheck of 2018 will go.
He is not the first president to donate some or all of his salary to charity.
Is Trump Keeping His Promise To Donate Presidential Salary
The Constitution, however, requires that the president receive a salary, and that it not be reduced during his term. Federal law mandates the president receive a $400,000 annual salary, paid out once a month.
Trump aides have previously said Trump would donate his salary to the Treasury Department or a charity.
MSNBC requested details and documentation about any salary donations from the White House, the Treasury Department and the Office of Personnel Management, which all declined to say whether Trump has donated any of his salary to date.
Last month, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the website Politifact that Trump “will be giving” his salary “back to Treasury or donating.” The site noted the White House “declined to answer several inquiries into whether Trump has gotten a paycheck already.”
Under the law, Trump would receive his first monthly paycheck for $33,333 in February, and another $33,333 on March 20.
Salary donations are not the only area where Trump’s pledges to donate revenue are lacking transparency.
During the transition, Trump also unveiled a plan to “donate all profits from foreign governments’ patronage of his hotels and similar businesses” to the Treasury Department. The plan was released by Trump’s private law firm, Morgan Lewis, but no system or accounting has been released for how or when such donations will be processed or disclosed.
Trump Boasted That He Was Foregoing A Lot Of Money
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A new report has raised questions about whether former President Donald Trump really donated his salary toward the end of his time in office, as he repeatedly did earlier in his term. Mr Trump pledged to make the donations during his campaign, in an effort to demonstrate his supposed vast wealth and that he couldnt be bought off as a politician.
Like clockwork, Mr Trump made a spectacle of donating his salary, including cutting a check emblazoned with his bold-lettered signature. In February 2018, then-Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao accepted the check in the White House briefing room. In March of the same year, Mr Trump boasted of the donations, calling it a lot of money.
But as The Washington Post reported on Friday, its unclear whether the money kept flowing at the end of the Trump administration.
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A Documentary Filmmaker Has Emerged As A Potentially Key Jan 6 Witness
Alex Holder, a British documentary filmmaker who had extensive access to President Donald J. Trump and his family ahead of and after the 2020 election, has emerged late in the Houses investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol as a new and potentially important witness.
Mr. Holder testified behind closed doors on Thursday morning before the House committee investigating Mr. Trumps efforts to subvert the results of the election he lost. His deposition took place ahead of a separate public hearing by the committee on Thursday about Mr. Trumps effort to install a loyalist to run the Justice Department in the closing weeks of his administration.
Mr. Holders footage some 11 hours of it with the Trump family discussing the campaign and the election for a planned documentary called Unprecedented was subpoenaed by the committee ahead of the interview.
Precisely what the footage shows is still unclear. But Mr. Holder interviewed Mr. Trump once before the Jan. 6 riot and twice after Jan. 6, meaning he potentially can speak to Mr. Trumps state of mind and whether he made clear he knew he had lost the election.
In an interview with The New York Times after his testimony, Mr. Holder said the committees investigators asked very specific questions about his footage and his experience with the Trump family. But he declined to provide a detailed account of what the committees questions had focused on.
Our Rating: Partly False
We rate the claim that Barack Obama donated none of his presidential salary as FALSE while President Donald Trump donates all his salary and that Michelle Obama had a staff of 24 while Melania Trump has a staff of four as PARTLY FALSE because some of it was not supported by our research. Its true that the current president donates his salary, but Obama donated about $2.5 million to charities while in office. Michelle Obamas staff was about 25, but Melania Trumps is about 11.
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A Major Chunk Of Trump’s Salary Is Unaccounted For
The Washington Post points out that if, in fact, the missing salary which comes to $220,000 for July through December of 2020 and the first 20 days of 2021 was donated, Donald Trump would have publicly announced the donation, which he did during the first three and a half months of his term in office.
For instance, we know that his first-quarter salary went to the National Park Service and that his second-quarter salary went to the Department of Education. Subsequent paychecks were directed to other recipients like the Department of Health and Human Services the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Homeland Security . But both Forbes and The Washington Post say the trail goes cold after the July 2020 donation to the National Parks Service.
Even if Trump was handing off his salary, he could not say he wasn’t making any money during his time in office. Until the pandemic struck, the Trump Organization was making money at Trump-branded hotels including the property in Washington DC, and on office buildings like New York’s Trump Tower .
In Photos: The Spectacle Of The Jan 6 Hearings Looms Over Washington
Inside the Capitol, television crews, reporters and photographers lay at the ready. Journalists lingered in the Cannon House Office Buildings halls for hours, ready to sprint, iPhones outstretched, after members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack. Photographers pointed their lenses through cracks in doors, hoping to catch a rare unorchestrated moment.
The hearings themselves were stage-managed in part by a veteran television executive, hired to capture the attention of Americans weary from two impeachment trials and countless breaking news banners. But outside the building, Washington seemed unfazed. Masses of color-coordinated schoolchildren trudged from monument to monument, oscillating between wonder and boredom.
Washington has had its share of political spectacles over the years, but this one felt both enthralling and a little disappointing. The people who were always paying attention were engulfed in coverage, but the other side simply changed the channel.
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How Many More Hearings Will There Be
The House is scheduled to leave for a recess on Friday and return in the second week of July. The Jan. 6 committee plans to hold two more hearings that week, which may take into account any new evidence that emerges from video footage obtained by a documentary filmmaker, Alex Holder.
Mr. Holder has given the committee video that includes several hours of interviews with Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and some of Mr. Trumps adult children, which Mr. Holder filmed inside the White House in the weeks after the election.
Trump Has Been Receiving Presidential Pension Since January: Report
Former President Trump has been receiving a presidential pension since he left office in January, Business Insider reported Tuesday
A spokesperson for the General Services Administration confirmed to Insider that Trump has been paid $65,000 in presidential pension payments through May 14.
Former presidents are entitled to receive pensions after their terms under the Former Presidents Act, which Congress passed in 1958 largely in response to former President Trumans financial troubles after leaving office in 1953.
According to Insider, former presidents are paid the equivalent of Cabinet secretaries salaries.
Trump, who publicly boasted about his financial earnings from his businesses throughout his presidency, donated his presidential salary to federal agencies.
He donated his 2020 salary to the Department of Health and Human Services to help with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to Insider.
Its unclear whether Trump has kept the pension or donated it.
The Hill has reached out to Trumps office for comment.
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Steven Engel: A Trusted Justice Department Official Who Threatened To Resign
Steven A. Engel is one of the three Justice Department officials who fought to stop President Donald J. Trump from installing a loyalist who would use his powers to help undo the results of the 2020 election.
During an Oval Office meeting that ran more than three hours long on Jan. 3, 2021, Mr. Engel helped to persuade Mr. Trump that it would be wrong to fire the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, because he was unwilling to falsely tell the American public that the Justice Department had found evidence of election fraud.
Mr. Trump intended to replace Mr. Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a Justice Department official who wanted to send a letter to Georgia election officials falsely stating that the department had concerns about the states results. Mr. Engel, who was the assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, and other officials said that they would resign en masse if Mr. Trump went through with his plan to oust Mr. Rosen.
Mr. Engel was a key voice in the debate, in part because Mr. Trump saw him as a trusted, loyal and long-serving official.
During the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Engel had worked as a lawyer in the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department arm that provides legal advice to the administration and sometimes creates the legal justification for controversial decisions.
Soon after his inauguration, Mr. Trump nominated Mr. Engel to lead that office, where he worked on several opinions that helped the president.
Federal Law Bars Donations To Most Federal Agencies
Federal regulations bar many government agencies from accepting donations unless approved by Congress. If Congress does not approve them, the money goes to the Treasury Department’s general fund.
While gifts to the United States do not require statutory authority, gifts to an individual federal agency stand on a different footing,” the law says. “The rule is that a government agency may not accept for its own use gifts of money or other property in the absence of specific statutory authority … As the Comptroller General said in that decision, hen the Congress has considered desirable the receipt of donations . . . it has generally made specific provision therefor . . . . Thus, acceptance of a gift of money or other property by an agency lacking statutory authority to do so is an improper augmentation. If an agency does not have statutory authority to accept donations of money, it must turn the money in to the Treasury as miscellaneous receipts.
Despite these regulations White House spokesman Judd Deere confirmed to USA TODAY that all of the federal agencies to which Trump has donated have received the money.
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It Was The Most Blatant Attempt To Use The Justice Department For Political Ends At Least Since Watergate
Mr. Trump aggressively pursued a plan to install as acting attorney general a little-known Justice Department official, Jeffrey Clark, who was prepared to take actions to reverse the election results. As they fought to head off the move, a group of White House lawyers and the leadership of the Justice Department feared that the plan was so ill-conceived and dishonest that it would have spiraled the country into a constitutional crisis if it had succeeded.
The president came so close to appointing Mr. Clark that the White House had already begun referring to him as the acting attorney general in call logs from Jan. 3, 2021. Later that day, Mr. Trump had a dramatic Oval Office showdown with top Justice Department officials and White House lawyers, who told Mr. Trump that there would be a graveyard at the Justice Department if he appointed Mr. Clark because so many top officials would resign.
In the meeting, Mr. Trump chastised the acting attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, for refusing to do more to help him find election fraud. Only after hours of argument partly about the lack of substance behind Mr. Trumps claims of election fraud but also about the political ramifications for him if he took action that led to the exodus of top Justice Department officials did Mr. Trump relent and back off his plan to replace Mr. Rosen with Mr. Clark.
The Panel Provided New Evidence That Gop Members Of Congress Sought Pardons
At least half a dozen Republican members of Congress sought pre-emptive pardons from President Donald J. Trump as he fought to remain in office after his defeat in the 2020 election, witnesses have told the House Jan. 6 committee, the panel disclosed on Thursday.
Mr. Trump had hinted at a blanket pardon for the Jan. 6 thing for anybody, Mr. Trumps former head of presidential personnel, Johnny McEntee, testified.
Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, appeared to ask for a broad pardon, not limited to his role in Mr. Trumps effort to reverse the outcome of the election. Mr. Gaetz even invoked the pardoned former President Richard M. Nixon as he did so, Eric Herschmann, a White House lawyer for Mr. Trump, testified.
He mentioned Nixon, and I said, Nixons pardon was never nearly that broad, Mr. Herschmann recounted.
Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama sent an email seeking a pre-emptive pardon for all 147 members of Congress who objected to the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.s Electoral College win.
A former adviser to Mark Meadows, Cassidy Hutchinson, testified that Mr. Gaetz, Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas, Representative Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona all expressed interest in pardons.
Mr. Gaetz did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Eastman appeared before the committee and invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination repeatedly.
Luke Broadwater contributed reporting.
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