segunda-feira, 31 de outubro de 2016


ON 10/31/16 AT 11:00 AM

Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records.

This behavior is of particular import given Trump’s frequent condemnations of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, for having deleted more than 30,000 emails from a server she used during her time as secretary of state. While Clinton and her lawyers have said all of those emails were personal, Trump has suggested repeatedly on the campaign trail that they were government documents Clinton was trying to hide and that destroying them constituted a crime. The allegation—which the FBI concluded was not supported by any evidence—is a crowd-pleaser at Trump rallies, often greeted by supporters chanting, “Lock her up!”
Trump’s use of deception and untruthful affidavits, as well as the hiding or improper destruction of documents, dates back to at least 1973, when the Republican nominee, his father and their real estate company battled the federal government over civil charges that they refused to rent apartments to African-Americans. The Trump strategy was simple: deny, impede and delay, while destroying documents the court had ordered them to hand over.

Shortly after the government filed its case in October, Trump attacked: He falsely declared to reporters that the feds had no evidence he and his father discriminated against minorities, but instead were attempting to force them to lease to welfare recipients who couldn’t pay their rent.

The family’s attempts to slow down the federal case were at times nonsensical. Trump submitted an affidavit contending that the government had engaged in some unspecified wrongdoing by releasing statements to the press on the day it brought the case without first having any “formal communications” with him; he contended that he’d learned of the complaint only while listening to his car radio that morning. But Trump’s sworn statement was a lie. Court records show that the government had filed its complaint at 10 a.m. and phoned him almost immediately afterward. The government later notified the media with a press release.

Prosecutors responded to Trump’s affidavit by showing he had fudged his claim by using the term “formal communication”—an acknowledgment, they said, that he had received what only he would characterize as an informal notification—which they described as an intentional effort to mislead the court and the public. But the allegation slowed the case; it required government lawyers to appear in court to shoot down Trump’s false charge.

The Trumps had more delaying tactics. Trump announced in a press conference that his family and their company were bringing a $100 million countersuit against the government for libel; anonymous tenants and community leaders, he said, had been calling and writing letters expressing shock at the government’s “outrageous lies.” Once again, motions, replies and hearings followed. Once again, the court threw out the Trump allegations.

For months, the Trumps ignored the government’s discovery demands, even though court procedure in a civil or criminal case requires each side to produce relevant documents in a timely manner. This allows for the plaintiffs or prosecutors to develop more evidence in support of their claims, as well as for the defense to gather proof to fight the case against them. When litigation is filed or even contemplated, scrupulous lawyers and corporations immediately impose document-retention programs or require that any shredding or disposing of records be halted. Courts have handed down severe sanctions or even criminal charges of obstruction of justice against executives and companies that destroyed records because they knew they were going to be sued.

Yet when the government filed its standard discovery requests, the Trumps reacted as though seeking that information was outrageous. They argued in court that prosecutors had no case and wanted to riffle through corporate files on a fishing expedition. Once again, this led to more delays, more replies, more hearings...and another specious argument thrown out of court.

Six months after the original filing, the case was nowhere because the Trumps had repeatedly ignored the deadlines to produce records and answers to questions, known as interrogatories. When a government attorney finally telephoned a Trump lawyer to find out why, he was told the Trumps had not even begun preparing their answers and had no plans to do so. The Trumps also postponed and blocked depositions, refused to provide a description of their records, as required, and would not turn over any documents.

Finally, under subpoena, Trump appeared for a short deposition. When asked about the missing documents, he made a shocking admission: The Trumps had been destroying their corporate records for the previous six months and had no document-retention program. They had conducted no inspections to determine which files might have been sought in the discovery requests or might otherwise be related to the case. Instead, in order to “save space,” Trump testified, officials with his company had been tossing documents into the shredder and garbage.

The government dashed to court, seeking sanctions against the Trumps. Prosecutors asked the judge to allow them to search through the corporate files or simply declare the Trumps in default and enter a judgment against them. The judge opted to allow the government access to the company offices so they could find the records themselves.

In three letters and three phone calls, the government notified the Trumps that this inspection would take place on June 12, 1974. When they arrived at the Trump offices, Trump was there, but he and everyone else were “surprised” that prosecutors had come and refused to allow them access to documents without their defense lawyers present. A prosecutor called those lawyers, but they were not in their offices. The frustrated prosecutors then gave up and headed back to court.

The Trump strategy was simple: deny, impede and delay, while destroying documents the court had ordered them to hand over.

They were then hit with a new delaying tactic. The Trumps submitted a filing based on statements by Trump that radically misrepresented what had occurred that day. He claimed a prosecutor, Donna Goldstein, had arrived at the company without notifying the Trumps’ counsel, refused to telephone their lawyer and demanded access to Trump’s office. The prosecutor—accompanied, the Trumps claimed, by five “stormtroopers”—then banged on doors throughout the office, insisting she and her team be allowed to “swarm haphazardly through all the Trump files and to totally disrupt their daily business routine.”

At the same time, in a move that caused another huge delay, the Trumps claimed that Goldstein had been threatening Trump employees who were potential witnesses. In several instances, the employees signed affidavits stating they had been subjected to abuse by Goldstein, then denied it when they were forced to testify. Even one of the government’s key witnesses, Thomas Miranda—who told the government the Trumps instructed managers to flag applications from minorities and that he was afraid the family would physically harm him—suddenly announced that prosecutors had threatened him and that he had never provided any evidence against the Trumps.

These allegations of misconduct, which demanded sanctions against the government for abusing its power, required more hearings. Once again, the Trump claims went nowhere.

In June 1975, more than 18 months after the government filed the case and with the Trumps still withholding potentially relevant records, the two sides struck a settlement. The agreement—which, like all civil settlements, did not contain an admission of guilt—compelled the Trumps to comply with federal housing regulations against discrimination, adopt specific policies to advance that goal, to notify the community that apartments would be rented to anyone, regardless of race, and meet other requirements.

The Trumps ignored these requirements and still refused to rent apartments to minorities, something the government proved by sending African-Americans and non-Hispanic Caucasians to pose as applicants. The government brought another complaint against the Trumps in 1978, who then agreed to a new settlement.

In that case, the government had the financial wherewithal to fight back against abuses of the courts and the discovery process by the Trump family. But many private litigants, who have to spend their own money and hire their own lawyers, have been ground down by Trump’s litigation-as-warfare-without-rules approach.

Courts are loath to impose sanctions when litigants fail to comply with discovery demands; in order to hurry cases along, judges frequently issue new orders setting deadlines and requirements on parties that fail to produce documents. But Trump and his companies did get sanctioned for lying about the existence of a crucial document to avoid losing a suit.

In 2009, a group of plaintiffs claimed Trump duped them into buying apartments in a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, development by portraying it as one of his projects. The fine print of the dense and legalistic purchase contracts, however, revealed that Trump had agreed only to license his name to the developers, and when the project hit financial snags, he walked away from it.

In their initial disclosures in 2011, Trump and his company said they had no insurance to cover any of their liability in this case. That was important because an insurance policy lets the plaintiffs calculate how much money a defendant can pay in a settlement without suffering any direct financial consequences. In other words, that insurance lets the plaintiff know how aggressively to pursue a settlement, knowing the defendant will have some losses covered by the policy.

At the time, a settlement in the then-prominent case could have been disastrous for Trump; he faced an array of similar lawsuits because he had licensed his name to developers around the world for projects that later collapsed. In each case, Trump had marketed the developments as his own, a claim contradicted by the sales contracts. A settlement in any of these cases might have encouraged other people who had lost deposits in a Trump-marketed development to file lawsuits against him.

Two years after denying that Trump had insurance that could have been used to settle the Fort Lauderdale litigation, one of his lawyers made a startling admission: Trump and his company had been insured all along for up to $5 million. But no more—the policy had recently “dried up,” the lawyer said. Stunned, the apartment buyers filed a motion seeking sanctions against Trump and his company, arguing that the case “may very well have settled long ago had the plaintiffs been provided with the policy in a timely manner,” according to a court filing.

Alan Garten, General Counsel at the Trump Organization for the past decade, said that at the time of the original disclosure, the company’s lawyers did not believe that the policy covered any potential liability in the lawsuit, which he said was an error on his part. “This solely fell on me, and if anyone is to blame for that, it’s me,’’ he said. “It was completely an innocent oversight. And it was my innocent oversight.’’ Garten said the other cases in this article preceded his time at the company and he did not know the facts surrounding them. In the Ft. Lauderdale case, Federal Judge Kathleen Williams ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered Trump to pay limited legal fees for failing to disclose the policy, then held in reserve the possibility of imposing additional sanctions. The case subsequently settled.

Perhaps the worst legal case involving Trump and his companies hiding and destroying emails and other records involved real estate developer Cordish Cos., which, through an affiliate called Power Plant Entertainment LLC, built two American Indian casinos in Florida. In January 2005, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts sued in a state court almost immediately after the opening of the casinos, which both operate under the Hard Rock brand. In his lawsuit, Trump claimed that the companies had unlawfully conspired with one of his former associates to cheat him out of the deal; he argued that the projects should be turned over to him.

Negotiations with the tribe and construction of the casinos had taken many years, raising the possibility that the state’s four-year statute of limitations had passed before Trump finally got around to filing his lawsuit. If Power Plant could prove Trump knew in early 2000 that his former associate was working on the Hard Rock deal, the case would be thrown out of court. The clock here for the statute of limitations starts ticking down when plaintiffs learn they have been swindled.

Trump claimed he learned about the deal in January 2001, about the time of the groundbreaking and more than three years before he filed suit. However, the defendants contended he had been informed of the projects in 1999. Trump offered no evidence in support of his contention except his word, so the opposing lawyers filed extensive discovery demands, seeking emails, computer files, calendars and other records that might prove he knew about the casino deal before 2000.

A full year into the case, Trump and his company, Trump Hotels, had produced only a single box of documents, many of which were not relevant—and no emails, digital files, phone records, calendars or even documents Trump lawyers had promised to turn over. Interrogatories were still unanswered. Lawyers for Power Plant obtained a court order compelling Trump and his company to comply with the discovery demands and hand over the relevant information and documents.

In a March 2006 response, Trump’s lawyers argued that the emails and other electronic documents had not been produced because the company didn’t have them. They claimed it had no servers until 2001—the year Trump claimed he had learned of the Power Plant project. They also claimed Trump Hotels had no policy regarding retaining documents until 2003. In other words, they hadn’t turned over any emails because no emails had been saved on a Trump server.

Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld reacted with near disbelief. “I don't have the patience for this,” he said. “This has been going on too long to have to listen—and I don't mean to be disrespectful—to this double-talk. There has to be an attitude adjustment from the plaintiff.”

Streitfeld ordered Trump executives to file sworn statements attesting to how their email systems had worked from 1996 onward. In response, Trump Hotels filed an affidavit from one of its information technology managers stating that it had had no servers prior to 2001.

That was false and by deposing numerous IT specialists with two Trump companies—the Trump Organization and Trump Hotels—lawyers for Power Plant gradually chipped away at it. Finally, during a deposition nine months after he had signed the deceptive affidavit, the same Trump executive admitted his assertions in it were untrue. In fact, an IBM Domino server for emails and other files had been installed in 1999, the same year witnesses for Power Plant contended that Trump had learned of the casino deal. Prior to that, as early as 1997, the Trump corporations used servers off-site operated by a company called Jersey Cape, according to sworn testimony by one of the Trump IT experts; the following year, the Trump Organization and Trump Hotels moved to another email provider, Technology 21.

These startling revelations changed nothing, however, because there was no trove of documents. The Trump records had been destroyed. Despite knowing back in 2001 that Trump might want to file a lawsuit, his companies had deleted emails and other records without checking if they might be evidence in his case. Beginning around 2003, the company wiped clear the data from everyone’s computers every year. Lawyers for Trump Hotels had never sent out the usual communication issued during litigation instructing employees to stop destroying records that might be related to this case. The deletions continued, and backup tapes were reused—thus erasing the data they held. Power Plant lawyers also discovered that after the lawsuit was filed, Trump Hotels disposed of a key witness’s computer without preserving the data on it.

Data from everyone’s computers at Trump’s company was wiped clear every year.

In subsequent filings, Power Plant maintained that Trump Hotels had intentionally deceived the court in its March 2006 filing when it claimed it had located no emails relevant to the case because, at that point, it had not yet conducted any searches of its computer system. Trump Hotels executives did not instruct their IT department to examine backup computer tapes until 2007, and even then the job wasn’t done, depositions show. And when computer specialists finally attempted to electronically locate any relevant documents that had survived the flurry of deletions, the procedures were absurdly inadequate. While looking for relevant documents, the technology team was told to use only two search terms—the name of the tribe and the last name of the former Trump associate. So even if there was an email that stated, “Donald Trump learned the full details of the Hard Rock casino deal in Florida in 1999,” it would not have been found by this search.

With all this proof that Trump Hotels had ignored every court order and filed false documents, Power Plant asked the judge either to impose sanctions or allow its own expert to search for relevant digital records. Trump Hotels argued it had done nothing improper, although its lawyers acknowledged having made some mistakes. Still, Streitfeld ordered Trump Hotels to make its servers and computer systems available for inspection by a computer forensics consulting firm. That review showed there was no digital data in the computers, servers or backup tapes prior to January 2001—the very month Trump claimed to have learned of the Florida casino deal.

With the likelihood of sanctions growing, Trump Hotels dropped the suit a few months later, in part because of the company’s financial troubles. A company involved in the Power Plant case agreed to purchase one of Trump’s struggling casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and included as part of the deal a requirement that the litigation be ended.

This review of Trump’s many decades of abusing the judicial system, ignoring judges, disregarding rules, destroying documents and lying about it is not simply a sordid history lesson. Rather, it helps explain his behavior since he declared his candidacy. He promised to turn over his tax returns and his health records—just as he promised to comply with document discovery requirements in so many lawsuits—then reneged. As a result, he has left a sparse evidentiary trail that can be used to assess his wealth, his qualifications for the presidency or even his fitness. Should voters choose him to be the next U.S. president, he will enter the Oval Office as a mystery, a man who has repeatedly flouted the rules. He has solemnly told the country to trust him while refusing to produce any records to prove whether he speaks the truth or has utter contempt for it.

domingo, 30 de outubro de 2016

Esquerda e direita fecham cerco ao presidente da Caixa no Parlamento

Esquerda e direita fecham cerco ao presidente da Caixa no Parlamento

MARGARIDA GOMES e DAVID DINIS 30/10/2016 – 07:30

Com o PS em completo silêncio, o PSD propõe uma lei nova, só para forçar administradores da CDG a mostrar património. Bloco quer esperar pelo TC, mas está disponível para uma solução destas.

PSD, BE, CDS e PCP concordam que “ninguém está acima da lei” e, por isso, não aceitam a decisão do presidente da CGD, António Domingues, de a nova administração do banco do Estado não apresentar a declaração de património no Tribunal Constitucional (TC). E, desta vez, pode haver mesmo um consenso que obrigue o novo presidente da Caixa a fazer aquilo que não quer - e a que o Governo o desobrigou.

Percebendo que a divergência sobre os salários dos administradores já bloqueou antes um acordo no Parlamento sobre a Caixa, o PSD decidiu ontem desdobrar o projecto de lei que visa acabar com a excepção “escandalosa” para os administradores da CGD, autonomizando o ponto que diz respeito à transparência para chamar os votos do PCP e Bloco, sem que isso tenha outra implicação - só mesmo tornar claras as “obrigações declarativas” de António Domingues. De fora desta proposta fica, por exemplo, uma outra sobre os salários da CGD. Seria, portanto, uma lei autónoma, apenas com três artigos (um dos quais sobre a entrada em vigor, obrigando a aplicar o diploma já a esta administração). O Bloco, sabe o PÚBLICO, prefere não discutir já a proposta, para não dar argumentos a Domingues na resposta que irá dar ao TC. Mas admite que esta via possa ser utilizada depois de haver uma decisão final do Tribunal Constitucional.

“A forma mais expedita de resolver esse assunto é autonomizar a parte relativa à transparência, que fazia parte do nosso projecto, e suscitar junto dos partidos uma aproximação para que se resolva de uma vez por todas uma situação escandalosa. Nós desdobraremos a nossa iniciativa em duas, para que não haja nenhum alibi por parte dos partidos”, justificou ontem o líder do grupo parlamentar do PSD, Luís Montenegro. “Ninguém perceberia no país que o presidente da Caixa fosse diferente do Presidente da República, do presidente da Assembleia da República, do primeiro-ministro, dos deputados”.

Oposição mais próxima
Pedro Filipe Soares, líder da bancada parlamentar do BE, anunciou ontem, no encerramento das jornadas parlamentares, que o partido vai apresentar, em sede discussão na especialidade do Orçamento do Estado (OE), uma iniciativa semelhante, mas que terá mais dificuldade em passar: é que o Bloco quer, também no OE e de uma assentada, resolver o problema das declarações de rendimento, mas também “que os salários dos gestores públicos, incluindo os da CGD, não sejam superiores ao salário do primeiro-ministro”.

Colocando as duas propostas na mesma norma, o Bloco terá menos probabilidades de fazer passar a proposta (face à oposição do PSD e CDS em ver os ordenados na banca reduzidos ao nível do do primeiro-ministro). Mais fácil será o inverso, confirmou o PÚBLICO: que BE e PCP aceitem o princípio que o PSD agora introduz, visto que não tem implicações para além de obrigar António Domingues a um recuo.

A líder do CDS estará de acordo. Ontem, Assunção Cristas acusou o Governo de ter aprovado legislação que teve o “efeito colateral de isentar destas obrigações de transparência" a administração da CGD. Os centristas vão apresentar também, em sede de discussão do OE, um projecto que garanta a obrigatoriedade de apresentação de rendimentos e Assunção Cristas afirma estar “certa de que no Parlamento haverá um consenso alargado” para aprovar a iniciativa.

Quanto ao PCP, também fará pressão no mesmo sentido. O deputado e líder da bancada do PCP, João Oliveira, admitiu ontem ao PÚBLICO que o partido pode vir a apresentar um novo projecto, depois de ter visto o seu primeiro chumbado (sobre salários e inclusão da Caixa no estatuto de gestor público). “Tomamos a dianteira nesta questão e não excluímos a possibilidade de apresentarmos uma outra proposta, para que essa discussão possa ser feita com perspectiva de se encontrar uma solução para o problema”, declarou o deputado.

PS em silêncio total

O PÚBLICO fez ontem várias diligências no sentido de perceber qual é a posição do PS, mas ninguém da direcção do partido se mostrou disponível para falar.

A verdade é que António Costa já se tentou afastar da polémica, antecipando uma troca de argumentos entre António Domingues e o Tribunal Constitucional. O TC deve, nos próximos dias, enviar para o novo presidente da Caixa uma intimação para apresentar uma declaração de património. Domingues já tem uma nota de resposta pronta, alegando que estará dispensado (dada a exclusão da Caixa do estatuto do gestor público, feita pelo Governo e promulgada pelo Presidente). O tira-teimas far-se-à à volta da interpretação de outra lei, sobre o controlo público de riqueza dos titulares de cargos públicos, que se mantém em vigor e poderá aplicar-se ainda aos administradores do banco público.

Resta saber se, no Parlamento, uma das propostas ontem anunciadas recolhe a maioria dos votos dos partidos. E também ver como votará o PS nestes casos.

FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe / Clinton email inquiry: FBI gets search warrant as agency head accused of 'partisan' actions / Donald Trump just one point behind Hillary Clinton in latest national poll

FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe
Laptop may contain thousands of messages sent to or from Mrs. Clinton’s private server

Updated Oct. 30, 2016 7:59 p.m. ET

The surprise disclosure that agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation are taking a new look at Hillary Clinton’s email use lays bare, just days before the election, tensions inside the bureau and the Justice Department over how to investigate the Democratic presidential nominee.

Investigators found 650,000 emails on a laptop used by former Rep. Anthony Weiner and his estranged wife Huma Abedin, a close Clinton aide, and underlying metadata suggests thousands of those messages could have been sent to or from the private server that Mrs. Clinton used while she was secretary of state, according to people familiar with the matter.

It will take weeks, at a minimum, to determine whether those messages are work-related from the time Ms. Abedin served with Mrs. Clinton at the State Department; how many are duplicates of emails already reviewed by the FBI; and whether they include either classified information or important new evidence in the Clinton email probe.

Officials had to await a court order to begin reviewing the emails—which they received over the weekend, according to a person familiar with the matter—because they were uncovered in an unrelated probe of Mr. Weiner.

The new investigative effort, disclosed by FBI Director James Comey on Friday, shows a bureau at times in sharp internal disagreement over matters related to the Clintons, and how to handle those matters fairly and carefully in the middle of a national election campaign. Even as the probe of Mrs. Clinton’s email use wound down in July, internal disagreements within the bureau and the Justice Department surrounding the Clintons’ family philanthropy heated up, according to people familiar with the matter.

The latest development began in early October when New York-based FBI officials notified Andrew McCabe, the bureau’s second-in-command, that while investigating Mr. Weiner for possibly sending sexually charged messages to a teenage minor, they had recovered a laptop. Many of the 650,000 emails on the computer, they said, were from the accounts of Ms. Abedin, according to people familiar with the matter.

Those emails stretched back years, these people said, and were on a laptop that hadn’t previously come up in the Clinton email probe. Ms. Abedin said in late August that the couple were separating.

The FBI had searched the computer while looking for child pornography, people familiar with the matter said, but the warrant they used didn’t give them authority to search for matters related to Mrs. Clinton’s email arrangement at the State Department. Mr. Weiner has denied sending explicit or indecent messages to the minor.

In their initial review of the laptop, the metadata showed many messages, apparently in the thousands, that were either sent to or from the private email server at Mrs. Clinton’s home that had been the focus of so much investigative effort for the FBI. Senior FBI officials decided to let the Weiner investigators proceed with a closer examination of the metadata on the computer, and report back to them.

At a meeting early last week of senior Justice Department and FBI officials, a member of the department’s senior national-security staff asked for an update on the Weiner laptop, the people familiar with the matter said. At that point, officials realized that no one had acted to obtain a warrant, these people said.

Mr. McCabe then instructed the email investigators to talk to the Weiner investigators and see whether the laptop’s contents could be relevant to the Clinton email probe, these people said. After the investigators spoke, the agents agreed it was potentially relevant.

Mr. Comey was given an update, decided to go forward with the case and notified Congress on Friday, with explosive results. Senior Justice Department officials had warned the FBI that telling Congress would violate policies against overt actions that could affect an election, and some within the FBI have been unhappy at Mr. Comey’s repeated public statements on the probe, going back to his press conference on the subject in July.

The back-and-forth reflects how the bureau is probing several matters related, directly or indirectly, to Mrs. Clinton and her inner circle.

New details show that senior law-enforcement officials repeatedly voiced skepticism of the strength of the evidence in a bureau investigation of the Clinton Foundation, sought to condense what was at times a sprawling cross-country effort, and, according to some people familiar with the matter, told agents to limit their pursuit of the case. The probe of the foundation began more than a year ago to determine whether financial crimes or influence peddling occurred related to the charity.

Some investigators grew frustrated, viewing FBI leadership as uninterested in probing the charity, these people said. Others involved disagreed sharply, defending FBI bosses and saying Mr. McCabe in particular was caught between an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case.

It isn’t unusual for field agents to favor a more aggressive approach than supervisors and prosecutors think is merited. But the internal debates about the Clinton Foundation show the high stakes when such disagreements occur surrounding someone who is running for president.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, received $467,500 in campaign funds in late 2015 from the political-action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of the Clintons and, until he was elected governor in November 2013, a Clinton Foundation board member.

Mr. McAuliffe had supported Dr. McCabe in the hopes she and a handful of other Democrats might help win a majority in the state Senate. Dr. McCabe lost her race last November, and Democrats failed to win their majority.

A spokesman for the governor has said that “any insinuation that his support was tied to anything other than his desire to elect candidates who would help pass his agenda is ridiculous.”

Dr. McCabe told the Journal, “Once I decided to run, my husband had no formal role in my campaign other than to be” supportive.

In February of this year, Mr. McCabe ascended from the No. 3 position at the FBI to the deputy director post. When he assumed that role, officials say, he started overseeing the probe into Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server for government work when she was secretary of state.

FBI officials have said Mr. McCabe had no role in the Clinton email probe until he became deputy director, and by then his wife’s campaign was over.

But other Clinton-related investigations were under way within the FBI, and they have been the subject of internal debate for months, according to people familiar with the matter.

Early this year, four FBI field offices—New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Little Rock, Ark.—were collecting information about the Clinton Foundation to see if there was evidence of financial crimes or influence-peddling, according to people familiar with the matter.

Los Angeles agents had picked up information about the Clinton Foundation from an unrelated public-corruption case and had issued some subpoenas for bank records related to the foundation, these people said.

The Washington field office was probing financial relationships involving Mr. McAuliffe before he became a Clinton Foundation board member, these people said. Mr. McAuliffe has denied any wrongdoing, and his lawyer has said the probe is focused on whether he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity.

Clinton Foundation officials have long denied any wrongdoing, saying it is a well-run charity that has done immense good.

The FBI field office in New York had done the most work on the Clinton Foundation case and received help from the FBI field office in Little Rock, the people familiar with the matter said.

In February, FBI officials made a presentation to the Justice Department, according to these people. By all accounts, the meeting didn’t go well.

Some said that is because the FBI didn’t present compelling evidence to justify more aggressive pursuit of the Clinton Foundation, and that the career anticorruption prosecutors in the room simply believed it wasn’t a very strong case. Others said that from the start, the Justice Department officials were stern, icy and dismissive of the case.

“That was one of the weirdest meetings I’ve ever been to,” one participant told others afterward, according to people familiar with the matter.

Anticorruption prosecutors at the Justice Department told the FBI at the meeting they wouldn’t authorize more aggressive investigative techniques, such as subpoenas, formal witness interviews, or grand-jury activity. But the FBI officials believed they were well within their authority to pursue the leads and methods already under way, these people said.

About a week after Mr. Comey’s July announcement that he was recommending against any prosecution in the Clinton email case, the FBI sought to refocus the Clinton Foundation probe, with Mr. McCabe deciding the FBI’s New York office would take the lead, with assistance from Little Rock.

The Washington field office, FBI officials decided, would focus on a separate matter involving Mr. McAuliffe. Mr. McCabe had decided earlier in the spring that he would continue to recuse himself from that probe, given the governor’s contributions to his wife’s former political campaign.

Within the FBI, the decision was viewed with skepticism by some, who felt the probe would be stronger if the foundation and McAuliffe matters were combined. Others, particularly Justice Department anticorruption prosecutors, felt that both probes were weak, based largely on publicly available information, and had found little that would merit expanded investigative authority.

According to a person familiar with the probes, on Aug. 12, a senior Justice Department official called Mr. McCabe to voice his displeasure at finding that New York FBI agents were still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season. Mr. McCabe said agents still had the authority to pursue the issue as long as they didn’t use overt methods requiring Justice Department approvals.

The Justice Department official was “very pissed off,” according to one person close to Mr. McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant. Others said the Justice Department was simply trying to make sure FBI agents were following longstanding policy not to make overt investigative moves that could be seen as trying to influence an election. Those rules discourage investigators from making any such moves before a primary or general election, and, at a minimum, checking with anticorruption prosecutors before doing so.

“Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” Mr. McCabe asked, according to people familiar with the conversation. After a pause, the official replied, “Of course not,” these people said.

For Mr. McCabe’s defenders, the exchange showed how he was stuck between an FBI office eager to pour more resources into a case and Justice Department prosecutors who didn’t think much of the case, one person said. Those people said that following the call, Mr. McCabe reiterated past instructions to FBI agents that they were to keep pursuing the work within the authority they had.

Others further down the FBI chain of command, however, said agents were given a much starker instruction on the case: “Stand down.” When agents questioned why they weren’t allowed to take more aggressive steps, they said they were told the order had come from the deputy director—Mr. McCabe.

Others familiar with the matter deny Mr. McCabe or any other senior FBI official gave such a stand-down instruction.

For agents who already felt uneasy about FBI leadership’s handling of the Clinton Foundation case, the moment only deepened their concerns, these people said. For those who felt the probe hadn’t yet found significant evidence of criminal conduct, the leadership’s approach was the right response.

In September, agents on the foundation case asked to see the emails contained on nongovernment laptops that had been searched as part of the Clinton email case, but that request was rejected by prosecutors at the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn. Those emails were given to the FBI based on grants of partial immunity and limited-use agreements, meaning agents could only use them for the purpose of investigating possible mishandling of classified information.

Some FBI agents were dissatisfied with that answer, and asked for permission to make a similar request to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. McCabe, these people said, told them no and added that they couldn’t “go prosecutor-shopping.”

Not long after that discussion, FBI agents informed the bureau’s leaders about the Weiner laptop, prompting Mr. Comey’s disclosure to Congress and setting off the furor that promises to consume the final days of a tumultuous campaign.

Clinton email inquiry: FBI gets search warrant as agency head accused of 'partisan' actions
Senate minority leader says Comey may have broken the law
Comey charged with withholding information about Russian email hacks
Will Clinton lose the election because of the FBI email investigation?

Alan Yuhas and Molly Redden
Sunday 30 October 2016 22.59 GMT

The FBI has acquired a warrant to investigate emails found on the laptop of a former aide to Hillary Clinton as part of its investigation into the Democratic presidential nominee’s use of a private email server.

The move came as senior Senate Democrats made an extraordinary attack on the head of the FBI, James Comey, on Sunday over the new investigation, with Senate minority leader Harry Reid warning he may have broken the law.

In a scathing letter, Reid wrote: “Your actions in recent months have demonstrated a disturbing double standard for the treatment of sensitive information, with what appears to be a clear intent to aid one political party over another.

“My office has determined that these actions may violate the Hatch Act, which bars FBI officials from using their official authority to influence an election. Through your partisan action, you may have broken the law.”

The Hatch Act limits the political activity of federal employees, for instance barring them from seeking public office or using their authority “or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election”.

The former attorney general Eric Holder joined dozens of former federal prosecutors in signing a letter critical of Comey.

The letter obtained Sunday by the Associated Press said Comey broke from justice department policy when he alerted Congress to the new discovery of emails potentially related to the Clinton email investigation.

That policy is meant to prevent the appearance of prosecutors affecting the electoral process.

The former prosecutors said in the letter that Comey’s disclosure had “invited considerable, uninformed public speculation” about the significance of the emails.

In a brief letter to congressional leaders on Friday, 11 days before the election, Comey said he did not yet know whether the newly discovered emails were pertinent or significant. The Trump campaign, trailing in national polls, seized on the news, which the candidate himself said was indicative of a scandal “bigger than Watergate”.

On Sunday, Reid went on, without citing evidence, to accuse Comey of withholding information about the FBI’s investigation into hacks on Democratic organizations, allegedly by Russian security services, and possible links with various former advisers to Donald Trump. In August, Reid wrote to Comey to express concern over alleged links between Trump associates, Russian sources and the hacks.

“There is no danger to American interests from releasing it,” Reid said. “And yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.

“By contrast, as soon as you came into possession of the slightest innuendo related to Secretary Clinton, you rushed to publicize it in the most negative light possible.”

Four other senior Senate Democrats – Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, Ben Cardin and Thomas Carper – have written to Comey since he announced the review, demanding a full briefing on the new emails by Monday.

The emails belong to Huma Abedin, a longtime Clinton aide, and were found during an investigation into Abedin’s estranged husband, Anthony Weiner, over allegations that he sent sexual messages to an underage girl. On Sunday, anonymous officials told the Associated Press that FBI investigators had known for weeks that they might find pertinent emails on his device, but that Comey was not briefed until Thursday.

On Sunday the Wall Street Journal reported that there are about 650,000 emails to search, including possibly thousands sent to or from Clinton’s private server. In July, Comey announced that the FBI had found no intentional or criminal wrongdoing in Clinton’s use of a private server while secretary of state, although he called her practices “extremely careless”.

Comey’s letter was reportedly sent against the advice of top justice department officials, including attorney general Loretta Lynch, and he admitted in a leaked memo to FBI staff that it was a break from policy and precedent to announce a review.

FBI directors have historically shied from public attention. Even J Edgar Hoover, the controversial and ambitious first head of the agency, studiously protected his own reputation.

Comey served as deputy attorney general under George W Bush and was appointed to head the FBI by Barack Obama. He was a Republican for most of his career, though he told Congress in July that he is no longer registered with the party.

Earlier on Sunday, top officials in Clinton and Trump’s campaigns dueled over the new review. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, and Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, assailed Comey for defying convention with so few details so close to election day. Both called on Comey to release more information about the content of the emails.

“This was an unprecedented action,” Podesta told CNN, echoing what has become the Clinton campaign’s official defense. “The justice department has had a longstanding tradition of not interfering with elections.”

Podesta called Comey’s letter “long on innuendo and short on facts”.“We’re calling on Mr Comey to come forward and explain what’s at issue here,” he said. “It may not even be about her server. It may not be about her at all.” He added that Comey had “said himself, in his letter to the hill, that these emails may not be significant”.

Trump, speaking on Friday, gleefully responds to new FBI probe into Clinton emails
Speaking in Las Vegas, Trump accused Clinton of bribing Lynch with the promise of reappointment and said she “set up an illegal server for the obvious purpose of shielding her criminal conduct from public disclosure and exposure”.

He also joked: “We never thought we were going to say thank you to Anthony Weiner.”

His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told CNN Comey had done the right thing by announcing the review.

“Had he sat on the information,” she said, “one could argue that he also would have been interfering with the election, by not disclosing to the public that yet again, for the second time this year, Hillary Clinton is under FBI investigation for something of her own doing.

“She is unfit to be president based on her constant flouting of the law.”

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, echoed the businessman’s accusation of corruption in less explicit terms and mentioned Lynch’s controversial meeting with Bill Clinton at a Phoenix airport this summer, which Lynch herself said “cast a shadow” over the investigation.

The effect of the news on polling, in which according to Clinton leads by four points nationally, was not yet clear.

Clinton broached the letter on Friday, calling Comey’s behavior “strange”, “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling”. “It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information just days before an election,” she said.

Her running mate said on Sunday he expected Comey to reach the same conclusion – that Clinton’s actions were not criminal – in light of these new emails.

“This is a distraction,” Kaine told ABC. Like Reid, Kaine suggested that Comey had acted outside the bounds of his office, saying the letter was “in violation of normal justice department protocol, and it involves talking about an ongoing investigation, which also violated protocol.

“It’s just extremely puzzling why you would break these two protocols,” he said, “when you haven’t even seen the emails yourself.”

Reid ended his letter with a personal rebuke of the FBI director. “Please keep in mind that I have been a supporter of yours in the past,” he wrote, noting that he had fought to secure Comey’s confirmation through Republican filibusters, “because I believed you to be a principled public servant”.

“With the deepest regret, I now see that I was wrong.”

Donald Trump just one point behind Hillary Clinton in latest national poll
Scott Clement, Emily Gushkin

Republicans' growing unity behind their presidential nominee, Donald Trump, has helped pull him just 1 percentage point behind Hillary Clinton and has placed GOP leaders who resist him in a vulnerable position

A majority of all likely voters say they are unmoved by the FBI's announcement Friday that it may review additional emails from Clinton's time as secretary of state, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Tracking Poll.

Just more than 6 in 10 voters say the news will make no difference in their vote, while just more than 3 in 10 say it makes them less likely to support her; 2 percent say they are more likely to back her as a result.

The issue may do more to reinforce preferences of voters opposed to Clinton than swing undecided voters. Roughly two-thirds of those who say the issue makes them less likely to support Clinton are Republicans or Republican-leaning independents (68 percent), while 17 percent lean Democratic and 9 percent are independents who lean toward neither party.

When asked about House Speaker Paul D. Ryan's decision not to campaign for Trump in the final weeks before the election, two-thirds of Republican-leaning likely voters disapprove of the Wisconsin Republican's move (66 percent), including nearly half who disapprove “strongly” (48 percent). Barely 1 in 5 approve of Ryan's decision (21 percent).

The Post-ABC Tracking Poll continues to find a very tight race, with Clinton at 46 percent and Trump at 45 percent among likely voters in interviews from Tuesday through Friday. The two major-party nominees for president are followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson, at 4 percent, and the Green Party's Jill Stein, at 2 percent. The result is similar to a 47-to-45 Clinton-Trump margin in the previous wave released Saturday, though it is smaller than what was found in other surveys this week. When likely voters are asked to choose between Clinton and Trump alone, Clinton stands at 49 percent, and Trump is at 46 percent, a statistically insignificant margin.

Greater Republican unity has buoyed Trump's rising support, which has wavered throughout the year. Trump's 87 percent support among self-identified Republicans, ticking up from 83 percent last week, nearly matches Clinton's 88 percent support among Democrats. Independents also have moved sharply in Trump's direction, from favoring Clinton by eight points one week ago to backing Trump by 19 points.

Clinton maintains clear edge on qualifications, but not on empathy

Clinton is still widely seen as more qualified for the presidency, leading that measure by an 18-point margin, 54 to 36 percent. She has held a clear advantage over Trump in qualifications throughout the campaign.

But Trump receives more unified backing among those who see him as better qualified. Fully 99 percent of this group supports him, compared with Clinton's 84 percent support among those who see her as better qualified. Seven percent of this group supports Trump, while 4 percent are for Johnson and 2 percent are for Stein.

Clinton also lost a once-large advantage on empathy, a trait on which voters now split 46 percent for her and 43 percent for Trump when asked which candidate understands the problems of people like them. Clinton had led Trump by an eight-point margin on this measure in early September among likely voters and by a 20-point margin among all adults in August.

Clinton has a narrow eight-point edge over Trump on which candidate has stronger moral character, 46 to 38 percent. A sizable 13 percent said that neither candidate possesses this trait. A larger share of Trump supporters than Clinton supporters say that neither candidate has strong moral character (12 percent vs. 2 percent).

Republicans' reactions to Ryan

Ryan's decision not to campaign for Trump this fall has proved unpopular among his fellow partisans. This comes as Ryan's status as House speaker is in peril because of Republican infighting.

Rejection of Ryan's stance swells to 75 percent among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents who identify as “very conservative” compared with smaller majorities of “somewhat conservative” Republicans (63 percent) and those who are moderate or liberal (56 percent).

Ryan's stand against Trump is being handled differently by several other prominent Republicans. For one, Rep. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) has said that even though he could not endorse Trump or his actions, he still plans to vote for the Republican nominee.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a popular Republican in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, has spoken out against Trump, a move that was widely popular with independents and Democrats in the state, but Republicans were split on whether they approved of the decision.

This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone Oct. 25 to 28 among a random national sample of 1,781 adults, including landline and cellphone respondents. Overall results have a margin-of-sampling error of plus-or-minus-2.5 points; the error margin is plus-or-minus-three points among the sample of 1,160 likely voters. Sampling, data collection and tabulation are by Abt-SRBI of New York.

Copyright: Washington Post

Encontrar casa é um achado

Encontrar casa é um achado
30/10/2016 – 07:09

Nas zonas mais centrais de Lisboa e Porto há muitas obras em curso, mas poucas entram no mercado de arrendamento permanente. Fala-se em “achado” quando aparece uma casa a um preço razoável.

Durante mais de quatro meses, Tatiana Moutinho procurou casa na Baixa do Porto. Desceu e subiu ruas atenta à possibilidade de existir um ou outro anúncio à janela. Folheou jornais. Dissecou plataformas online. “Ou é para turistas ou está a cair”, suspira a cientista. “Tudo o que vi com condições era... era para arrendar uma semana ou 15 dias ou um mês.”

Quando a investigadora em Biologia Celular e Molecular se mudou para a Baixa do Porto, em 2009, tantos amigos abriram a boca de espanto. Alguns até lhe disseram que “estava louca”. “Ninguém queria morar na Baixa. Não era atractivo.” O centro histórico degradara-se e esvaziara, muito por falta de política concertada de reabilitação, especulação imobiliária, incúria de proprietários, rendas excessivamente baixas. E o resto da Baixa não era muito diferente. “Quase ninguém vivia aqui. Quase só havia pessoas velhinhas em casas tão velhinhas como elas.”

Instalou-se num apartamento remodelado, de 120 metros quadrados, num prédio de dois andares, junto ao Instituto de Registos e Notariado, a uns metros da Estação da Trindade. Despontava ainda a vida nocturna. De repente, com o advento das companhias áreas de baixo custo, a instabilidade do Norte de África, o crescente interesse da imprensa internacional, explodiu o turismo.

No final do ano passado, o senhorio, o amigo que lhe arrendara o apartamento por 600 euros quando se mudara para Lisboa, pediu a Tatiana que procurasse outra morada. Ele fora trabalhar para o Dubai e separara-se da mulher. Precisava de um sítio para ficar com a filha sempre que viesse a Portugal. Quando não estivesse, arrendá-lo-ia a turistas. Tatiana viu-se aflita. Não era só a escassez da oferta. “O preço de um apartamento de cem metros quadrados tinha subido para 900 euros!”

Os relatos sobre dificuldades em encontrar habitação permanente para arrendar proliferaram. Uma nova palavra entrou no uso corrente: gentrificação, derivado do inglês gentrification, que decorre do francês genterise, que significa “de origem gentil, nobre”, e remete para um processo de reestruturação urbana com troca de populações com baixos rendimentos por populações com rendimentos mais elevados, o que, pelo menos em Lisboa e no Porto, está muito associado à explosão do turismo.

Nas zonas mais centrais de Lisboa e Porto, tantas obras em curso. Ainda em Setembro, o presidente da Porto Vivo — Sociedade de Reabilitação Urbana, Álvaro Santos, disse que “estão a decorrer, em simultâneo, cerca de 200 obras de reabilitação”, grande parte feitas por privados. As obras, no centro da cidade, duplicaram de 2013 para 2014 e tornaram a duplicar de 2014 para 2015. Este ano, os números são “semelhantes a 2015”. “Temos um peso do turismo muito grande”, reconheceu.

Poucos edifícios requalificados são direccionados para habitação permanente. Multiplicaram-se hostels, comércio fast food ou franchising e comércio com apelo “gourmet” ou “artesanal”. No site do Registo Nacional de Alojamento Local, existem 34.038 imóveis destinados a esse fim — 6233 no concelho de Lisboa e 2224 no concelho do Porto. Os números aumentam várias centenas de mês para mês. Muitos estão disponíveis para arrendamento de curta duração através de plataformas internacionais de reserva como o Airbnb, o Wimdu ou o 9Flats.

Multiplicaram-se hostels, comércio fast food ou ”franchising” e comércio com apelo “gourmet” ou “artesanal”

“Os turistas são bem-vindos, mas os residentes permanentes são a estrutura de uma cidade”, enfatiza o arquitecto João Rapagão, que dá aulas na Universidade Lusíada do Porto. “Turistas em excesso são como eucaliptos. Crescem e reflorestam depressa, mas secam tudo à volta. Um Porto oco!”

Exemplar daquilo que Rapagão considera um “delírio” é a Casa Oriental, junto à Torre dos Clérigos, no Porto. Outrora uma mercearia, transformou-se numa loja “very typical” e até trocou o bacalhau seco que costumava ter pendurado na fachada por bacalhau sintético.

O geógrafo Álvaro Domingues vê “alguma paixão e algum exagero” no discurso público. “Quando dizemos Porto ou Lisboa, não nos estamos a referir ao respectivo município, mas a áreas específicas, aos centros mais antigos. E os centros antigos não são habitualmente espaços de residência.”

No entender deste professor da Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto, devia haver “uma espécie de fórum permanente” em cada cidade. Os cidadãos juntavam-se de 15 em 15 dias num café ou num teatro para discutir a partir do concreto. “Fala-se muito de fundos de pensões internacionais, de grandes especuladores nacionais. No outro extremo estão milhares de particulares”, indica. “Há muitas ideias e muito contraditórias sobre o que se está a passar. E o que se está a passar vem de um tempo muito próximo em que, por exemplo, o Porto antigo tinha batido no fundo e só se falava em ruína e abandono. De repente, não podemos cair no inverso, adoptar um discurso quase xenófobo sobre o turismo, pensando que isto vai ficar um parque temático.”

Turismo no Porto: "Não podemos cair no inverso, adoptar um discurso quase xenófobo sobre o turismo", resume o geógrafo Álvaro Domingues 

O turismo está, como diz o ministro da Economia, Manuel Caldeira Cabral, a ter “um crescimento asiático”. É o sector que agita a economia em tempo de estagnação, mas também tem “efeitos nefastos invisíveis”, resume Daniela Alves Ribeiro, do Habita — Colectivo pelo Direito à Habitação e à Cidade. Correm histórias de idosos pressionados a sair — e nem todas trágicas (alguns aceitam indemnizações que lhes permitem trocar um apartamento num prédio degradado, sem elevador, por um apartamento confortável). E histórias de jovens que, de repente, ficam sem lugar.

Ofertas que desaparecem num ápice
Diana Leão Costa partilhava um apartamento com duas amigas na Rua de São Bento da Vitória, bem no centro do Porto. De súbito, uma das raparigas saiu e a senhoria colocou o quarto no Airbnb. Perderam privacidade. “O meu espaço deixou de ser o apartamento e passou a ser o quarto. Não ia fazer uma festa ou dar um jantar com amigos”, exemplifica. “A comida que tinha no frigorífico e nos armários era mexida, desaparecia.”

A arquitecta, de 34 anos, esforçou-se para sair o mais depressa possível dali. “É interessante para quem tem um apartamento alugá-lo a turistas, mas quem quer morar na Baixa deixa de ter opção. Já era difícil arranjar casas para arrendar em condições. Agora, é cada vez mais raro encontrá-las e quando se encontra têm um preço absurdo. Há pessoas idosas que já não conhecem ninguém no prédio.”

imóveis destinados a alojamento local, 6233 no concelho de Lisboa e 2224 no concelho do Porto
Diana saiu pelo próprio pé, mas outros, como Mariana Reis, sentem-se expulsos. “Não tinha contrato. Estava num apartamento subalugado por uma pessoa da minha idade”, recorda aquela designer, de 25 anos. “Morávamos num T4 e ele, de um dia para outro, mandou uma mensagem à minha colega a dizer que estava mal de dinheiro e a perguntar quando podíamos sair, que ia pôr o apartamento no regime de Airbnb”, conta. “Era um domingo e ele perguntou: achas que podem sair na próxima terça-feira? Ridículo!”

Aquilo aconteceu-lhe no início ou a meio de Junho. No final do mês, Mariana não tinha encontrado alternativa. Instalou-se em casa do namorado, que partilha um apartamento com um amigo, na Baixa do Porto. Ainda lá está. Procurou Julho, Agosto, Setembro. Deixou de procurar. “Íamos procurar uma coisa só para nós mas desistimos.”

Qualquer oferta desaparece num ápice. A Tatiana Moutinho e à filha valeu o “boca a boca”. Falaram-lhe numa mulher que comprara um apartamento, pensando que o filho iria estudar no Porto, mas o rapaz, afinal, entrara numa universidade em Lisboa. “Um achado! Um T3 com garagem, na Rua da Boavista, por 650 euros!”

Se cheira a mofo, não é saudável
Em Lisboa, os preços são ainda mais altos e a zona crítica bem maior. João, o marido de Filipa Gouveia, viu o anúncio no portal OLX 17 minutos depois de ter sido publicado. “A senhora pôs o anúncio sem fotografias, recebeu logo 15 contactos e apagou-o”, diz a cozinheira, de 33 anos.

Viviam com os pais de João, na freguesia da Ajuda, em Lisboa. Desde que tiveram uma filha, no ano passado, isso tornou-se mais difícil. “A minha filha precisa de espaço para andar. Quero que se sinta livre para abrir portas, fechar portas, ir do quarto para a cozinha, tirar as panelas dos armários. E quero sentir-me livre para ralhar com ela e para deixá-la chorar”, diz ela.

Paula Marques, vereadora da Habitação e do Desenvolvimento Local na CML: Não é "aceitável” que um proprietário pague mais impostos por fazer arrendamento de longa duração do que alojamento local 

Procuravam casa desde Fevereiro. Tinham de ficar perto dos pais de João, para lhes prestar assistência. E a curta distância da creche, em Linda-a-Velha. Filipa leva a filha, de carro, antes de ir para o trabalho, em Cascais. E João ia buscá-la no carro dos pais, regressado do trabalho, no centro de Lisboa. Saindo de casa dos pais, só teria a moto. Iria buscar a filha a pé ou de autocarro. Procuraram na freguesia de Algés, Linda-a-Velha e Cruz-Quebrada/Dafundo, em Oeiras. E na freguesia de Carnaxide e Queijas, também em Oeiras. “Vimos para aí dez casas. Não há oferta. E as casas que vimos antes desta não serviam”, conta Filipa. Não é só os preços. “É estar a subir as escadas para o apartamento e ver janelas partidas no prédio. É cheirar a mofo. Se cheira a mofo, não é saudável.”

Encontraram um T2, num prédio pequeno, sem elevador, por 600 euros, a 850 metros da creche, a poucos minutos de carro dos pais de João. A zona é bem servida de transportes públicos. Nas imediações, centro de saúde, escola, parque infantil. “Tem o que é preciso para uma família.” Mudaram-se a meio de Outubro. “Termos o nosso espaço, finalmente”, suspira Filipa. Já tinha “vergonha” de dizer que morava em casa dos sogros. “Estava tão cansada de pequenas coisas!” E quer sentir-se livre para receber amigos e familiares para jantar ou para passar uns dias.

Lisboa perdia, com aquela mudança, mais um jovem casal com uma criança. Paula Marques, vereadora da Habitação na Câmara de Lisboa, acha que “diabolizar o turismo não é a via”. “Havendo um desequilíbrio, acho que a política pública se deve desenvolver no sentido de trazer o equilíbrio”, declarou ainda há dias ao PÚBLICO. Não lhe parece “aceitável” que um proprietário pague mais impostos por fazer arrendamento de longa duração do que turístico. E considera que é preciso usar o património municipal como “instrumento”.

Para já, o Programa Renda Convencionada, que disponibiliza fogos municipais para arrendar abaixo do preço do mercado, é uma gota no oceano. Na última edição houve 844 candidatos para dez habitações. A Câmara de Lisboa quer disponibilizar cinco mil a sete mil fogos. Para isso, avançará com prédios e terrenos. Caberá a privados reabilitar ou construir e cobrar rendas fixadas pela autarquia.

O chão a tremer
O Porto também ensaia a sua tentativa de reequilibrar o mercado de arrendamento. A Sociedade de Reabilitação Urbana está a procurar atrair residentes para a zona do Morro da Sé. E, nos próximos dois anos, a Câmara do Porto quer instalar 130 famílias em 57 casas e 17 prédios municipais com rendas sociais.

Quem dera a Maria Gil morar numa dessas casas de renda social. Está com os quatro filhos numa sobreloja. Mesmo por baixo, há um bar. Para um lado e para outro, outros bares. Acontece sentirem o chão tremer. “Há dias em que para entrar é preciso contornar as pessoas”, conta Vicente, um dos gémeos de 15 anos.

Há três anos que Maria procura casa. Admite que ser cigana pode ter influência, mas julga que o preconceito, que pode levar senhorios a torcer o nariz, pesa menos do que as limitações orçamentais. Não pode pagar mais de 350 euros de renda por mês. “Os preços têm crescido muito”, lastima. “Casas que estavam a 400 euros, sem obras, estão agora a 600. Estou a falar de Cedofeita. Estão a recuperar casas que serviam para famílias e a transformá-las em T0 ou T1 kitchenette.”

Quem a vê, sempre sorridente, nem imagina, mas sofre de fibromialgia, uma doença crónica capaz de provocar dor intensa, e está desempregada há muito. Saiu demasiado cedo da escola. Já desempenhou muitas tarefas, já vestiu muitas peles, sobretudo a de vendedora. Agora, quer fazer revalidação de competências.

Maria Gil com três filhos menores procura casa há três anos

Aos 44 anos, com três filhos ainda menores, candidatou-se a habitação social. “Enviaram-me uma carta a dizer que neste momento não é possível responder ao meu pedido, só se a minha situação se agravar. Agravar como?! Só se cortar as pernas! Recorri ao provedor.”

Não gostaria de sair do centro. Foi ali que os filhos dela cresceram. Foi ali que criaram laços de amizade e vizinhança. Estão habituados a ir a pé para todo o lado. Participam na vida cultural da cidade. Misturam-se com pessoas de estratos diversos.

“Gosto muito de viver na Baixa”, diz Salvador, de 15 anos. “Faz parte de mim. Temos transportes, lojas, centro de saúde, hospitais, polícia”, enuncia. “Temos tudo”, resume Vicente. “Aceito uma mudança de casa, não de sítio”, torna Salvador. “Claro que temos de aceitar, se tiver de ser, mas gostávamos de continuar aqui”, esclarece Vicente. “Basicamente, por causa dos turistas, estão a tirar-nos o que é nosso”, remata Mariana, de dez anos. Muito ouve ela falar em gentrificação. Há pouco, anunciou à mãe que estava “uma chuva gourmet”. Uma chuva gourmet? “Sim, uma chuva fina.”