An unlikely supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump’s energy policies spoke out this week, and it’s really appropriate in this mad mad word of alternative facts and logic be damned, that it’s someone Trump had vowed to take down.
When asked by the BBC’s Lyse Doucet why he wasn’t worried when President Trump said he wanted the U.S. to have complete energy independence from its foes and the oil cartels, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falih calmly replied, “Well, we’re not the foes.” When Doucet pointed out, “But you are the oil cartel” he said he looked forward to working with the Energy Secretary.
When pressed that there must be some concern for a country that was singled out by Trump during the election campaign as one that would find imports to the U.S. blocked, not a feather was ruffled. It is perhaps unsurprising given how much business was done in that country by the new President before he was sworn in.
“President Trump has policies which are good for the oil industry and I think we have to acknowledge it,” he had earlier said. “We want the same thing.” In fact, they want the same thing so much that al-Falih says that they may invest more than the billions of dollars already in the U.S. refining and distribution industry, encouraged by the “pro-industry, pro-oil and gas policies of the Trump administration.”
One of the country’s foremost nonprofit legal advocacy groups for whistleblowers has taken up the cause of former JPMorgan Chase broker Johnny Burris who was fired after refusing to put his elderly clients into the bank’s own high-priced products.
The Government Accountability Project, which has represented Edward Snowden and other prominent tipsters, filed an appeal of a Department of Labor decision to uphold the bank’s termination of Burris in 2013. That same decision, issued last month, also found that the bank did retaliate against Burris, who’s now an RIA based in Surprise, Arizona.
JPMorgan drew the largest SEC fine of 2015, $307 million, for inappropriately pushing its own products, three years after Burris provided the commission with more than a thousand pages of documents and secret recordings supporting his allegations. Burris also accuses several of his managers of lying under oath or omitting material facts during a FINRA arbitration case.
If you measure President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest by the amount of money at stake, or the variety of dicey interactions with government regulators, one dwarfs any other: his relationship with Deutsche Bank.
In recent weeks, Deutsche Bank has scrambled to reach agreements with American regulators over a host of alleged misdeeds. But because the president has not sold his company, the bank remains a central arena for potential conflicts between his family’s business interests and the actions of officials in his administration.
“Deutsche poses the biggest conflict that we know about in terms of dollar amounts and the scale of legal exposures,” says Brandon Garrett, a University of Virginia law professor and author of “Too Big To Fail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations.” In trying to clear up its outstanding regulatory troubles, the bank “may have tried to do its best to avoid the appearance of impropriety but it may be impossible for them to do so.”
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But despite this rapidly growing controversy, Cordray appears to be conducting business as usual.
In a short and brief comment to CNBC’S Ylan Mui on Wednesday on his way to Capitol Hill, Cordray said, “I’m just focused on doing my job, which is protecting consumers. The rest of it is above my pay grade.”
Cordray made similar comments to these back at the end of January in an interview with The Wall Street Journal at a financial regulation event.
“It’s important to keep in mind that we are a law enforcement agency,” Cordray said in the interview. “That’s an important part of what we do, and it…has to be kept separate from partisan politics.”
A new memo about future plans reportedly from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, reveals an even more aggressive version of the Financial CHOICE Act, the Republican-led effort to repeal and replace Dodd-Frank, with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau facing some of the most drastic changes, according to an article in CNBC by Ylan Mui.
The article stated that the memo shows Hensarling is strengthening his attack on the CFPB and scaling back regulations on bank living wills and stress tests in new legislation, which is expected to be introduced soon.