Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmm

Bob Dole is paid $20,000 a month to lobby for Taiwan. He admitted he 'may have' brokered Trump's call.

Former Sen. Bob Dole admitted Monday that he "may have had some influence" on the controversial phone call between President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. Public filings show that Dole is paid $20,000 a month to advance Taiwan's interests in Washington, BuzzFeed News reported Tuesday.

Trump's decision last week to accept the congratulatory phone call was a sharp break with diplomatic norms. American and Taiwanese leaders are last known to have spoken directly in 1979 as the United States does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent nation, separate from China.

BuzzFeed News found that none of the documents it reviewed between Dole's client, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), and his firm suggest that TECRO explicitly asked Dole to arrange the conversation between Trump and the Taiwanese president. But a March 17 letter from Dole to Taiwan's former top representative in Washington, Lyu-shun Shen, stated that "through close coordination with your staff, we are also prepared to undertake other special assignments on your behalf, provided that they are mutually agreed to by both parties."

The letter also includes Dole's assurance that "this year, we agree that our activities will continue to focus specially [sic] on assisting you with [your] agenda as it relates to the U.S. administration and Congress."