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CoronaVirus News Review In Brief: The News And Times: Biden, Putin Discuss Cyber Breach, Arms Control, In Phone Call posted at 10:56:51 UTC via Reuters: World News

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Biden, Putin Discuss Cyber Breach, Arms Control, In Phone Call posted at 10:56:51 UTC via Reuters: World News

Biden and Putin – GS – 1.27.21 | Trump and KGB – GS – 1.27.21

Trump impeachment trial vote sees too many GOP senators dooming the party  NBC News

6457000 “trump authoritarianism” – Google News

Iraq’s prime minister should be dismissed and prosecuted for his failures  Middle East Monitor

6457082 “organized crime and intelligence” – Google News

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from 8080365.png Comments on: Commentary: Biden is right to keep Christopher Wray as FBI director.

President Joe Biden has let it be known that he will retain Christopher A. Wray, one of President Donald Trump’s appointees, as director of the FBI. It’s a wise decision.

Biden could replace Wray, just as Trump named Wray to replace the fired James B. Comey. Congress in 1976 set a 10-year term for an FBI director, but it’s generally accepted that the president has the authority to dismiss a director before the end of that term.

Nevertheless, the 1976 law created two expectations: that no future FBI director would be able to become entrenched the way J. Edgar Hoover did in his nearly 48-year reign, and that directors would have a degree of independence from any given president. Some directors haven’t served the full 10 years, and in 2011 Congress acceded to a request by President Barack Obama that it pass legislation to allow a two-year extension of Robert S. Mueller III’s term as director.

Although it sometimes has been honored in the breach, the ideal of a 10-year term for the FBI director serves the important purpose of insulating the bureau from political pressure.

Unless a director is incompetent or has engaged in misconduct, he or she should be retained by a new president. Unlike some Trump appointees — including former Attorney General William Barr — Wray hasn’t been seen as a Trump crony. Some eyebrows were raised when Wray didn’t hold a news conference about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, but that discretion is understandable given reports that Trump had considered firing Wray.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., who was a House manager in Trump’s first impeachment trial, welcomed the news that Biden would keep Wray, saying the director had served with “great professionalism and integrity.”

Biden’s decision to retain Wray is consistent with his choice of Merrick Garland as his attorney general. Unlike some other candidates for the position, Garland, a sitting federal judge, hadn’t endorsed Biden’s candidacy. Both decisions send a signal that the new president is serious about not interfering in prosecutorial decisions, whether it involve investigations into his political opponents — including Trump — or persons close to him — including Biden’s son Hunter, who has acknowledged that his “tax affairs” are being investigated by the Justice Department.

That’s a welcome change from Trump, who complained that the Justice Department wasn’t investigating his political opponents and threatened to “get involved” if the department and the FBI didn’t “start doing their job and doing it right.” Biden recognizes that “doing it right” means not politicizing justice.

Michael McGough is the Los Angeles Times’ senior editorial writer, based in Washington, D.C.

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Experts say that former U.S. President Donald Trump may find it difficult to pay back the mountain of debt his empire owes over the next four years, with revenues of some of his key businesses plunging amid the coronavirus pandemic and his reputation bruised by two impeachments.

Financial statements released on January 20, the day Trump left office, show that he owes hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, and most of it needs to be paid back by 2025. Experts have told Newsweek that the pandemic has had a devastating financial impact on Trump Organization businesses—many of which are in tourism and real estate.

Trump’s reputation has also been sullied by the deadly attack on the Capitol building on January 6, which led to him being impeached by the House of Representatives for the second time. Since then, many leading financial institutions and banks have refused to lend to the former president. Among them are Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley.

On top of this, the New York City government and the PGA of America pulled out of business arrangements with the Trump Organization, hitting the former president’s income.

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The National Doral Golf Club outside of Miami, typically the biggest money maker of Trump’s golf properties, made $44.2 million in revenue in 2020—$33 million less than the previous year.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., once a popular place for officials and lobbyists to stay in the capital, saw its revenue to drop to $15.1 million in 2020, down more than 60 percent from the year before.

The Turnburry club, Trump’s famous golf club in Scotland, took in less than $10 million in 2020, 60 percent lower than the previous year. The family’s golf club in Aberdeen saw a similar fall in revenue.

However, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago holiday club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he now lives, saw revenue rise 10 percent to $24.2 million.

The presidential financial report, which is filed each year with federal ethics officials, does not tell the whole story. Although the statements only show revenue rather than profits, financial experts have said the picture doesn’t look good for the Trump Organization, which has not responded to Newsweek’s request for comment.

Phillip Braun, Clinical Professor of Finance at Northwestern University, believes that Trump’s sources of funding are running out.

“Trump has somewhere around $300 million in loans coming due in the next three years. Furthermore, Forbes estimates all his debts total close to $1 billion, just not all of it coming due in the next few years. With some of Trump’s banks cancelling their business relationship with Trump, it will be difficult for him to access credit markets in the future to refinance these loans,” he told Newsweek.

“Beyond his debt, we also need to take into account the losses that his businesses are suffering, due to the pandemic, loss of his brand value, and other factors. His most recent financial disclosure shows that his properties lost more than $120 million last year. That is an enormous cash drain on his businesses, and will be difficult for Trump to sustain in the future.”

Braun expects Trump to stop paying some of his loans to conserve money, causing some of his businesses to default on their outstanding debt. This will cause his lenders to either renegotiate the terms of his loans or take Trump to court.

“My expectation is that his banks will renegotiate his loans rather than go to court (which is what ultimately happened with his loans for the Trump Tower in Chicago). Given the long time frame for the resolution of lawsuits, the ultimate financial demise of Trump could be years away,” said Braun.

“It will be difficult for Trump to recover from this. When his loans come due, we can expect his current banks to try not to roll over his current debt into new loans. This will require Trump to search for new lines of credit. This will be hard for him to do. If he is able to raise new credit, that credit will be rated as junk debt and the interest rate on the debt will be very high (the current interest rate on CCC rated junk debt is just under 8 percent).”

Like Braun, John Pottow, a commercial law professor at the University of Michigan, believes the president could face a barrage of lawsuits that could eventually lead to personal bankruptcy.

“Absent the consent of the lenders, he has no option other than filing for bankruptcy,” Pottow told The Hill. “I mean, that’s just the way it works. If you owe someone money and you can’t pay it, then they can either forgive it or they can sue you.

“There’s a bunch of corporate actors who are running away from him, like Deutsche Bank, so I think the last thing they want to do is to refinance him,” Pottow added.

Jeffrey Harris, professor in the department of finance and real e

CoronaVirus News Review In Brief


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