CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday hammered House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz over Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest, at one point reminding the Republican leader that his responsibility is to serve as a check-and-balance for the president.
Chaffetz responded to a question about conflicts inherent in the president’s sprawling business empire by insisting, “the president is exempt from conflicts of interest, so it’s kind of a non-issue,” adding Trump has promised to “wall … off” his business interests while president.
“What about the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution,” Blitzer asked, referring to a clause some Constitutional scholars interpret to mean Trump is forbidden from taking any money from a foreign state.
“I know it’s surprising and frustrating to Democrats, but the president is exempt from these conflicts of interest,” Chaffetz repeated.
“But he’s not exempt from the emoluments clause, is he?” Blitzer pressed.
Chaffetz argued he refused to go on a “fishing expedition that the Democrats want us to go into,” adding the public understood what they were getting into when the “overwhelmingly” elected Trump into office.
“You’re the chairman of this Oversight Committee that’s looking at the executive branch of the U.S. government,” Blitzer reminded Chaffetz, adding “the President of the United States potentially could be in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”
“I just don’t see it like that Wolf,” Chaffetz replied. “I just don’t.”
Chaffetz argued that he never “did this type of investigation on Barack Obama, I never did it on Hillary Clinton,” adding there’s “nothing to suggest that [Trump] is profiteering in an unordinary way from the fact that he’s President of the United States.”
The House Oversight Committee chairman said he would probe any conflict that “rises to the surface.”
“I’m just not going to go on a fishing expedition,” he said before explaining what he believes to be the driving force behind concerns about Trump’s potential conflicts-of-interest.
“It’s Democrats with their heads exploding wanting to see this because they cant believe that Donald Trump is actually president of the United States,” Chaffetz opined, adding, “I know what their motivation is.”
“I think we’re going to leave it on that note,” Blitzer replied. “But I just want to point out that your committee is designed to be a sort of check and balance on the executive branch. The Oversight Committee, that’s what it’s called.”
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Trump’s path to re-election ‘smashed to splinters’ as his only achievement is swallowed up by the pandemic: report
In a piece for Politico, Ben White writes that Donald Trump was going into November's election with only one achievement under his belt -- a healthy economy -- and now he has nothing left to run if he wants to be re-elected.
With all of the gains made in the stock market long gone due to the coronavirus pandemic and the collapse of oil prices, White claims that the president's campaign strategy lies in tatters.
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Lawmakers in South Dakota are investigating whether or not Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer (R) was drunk during a meeting earlier this week -- a meeting that dealt with new legislation regarding the coronavirus outbreak, the Rapid City Journal reports.
Another South Dakota Republican, Brock Greenfield, is also under investigation for his conduct during the meeting.
"Langer and Greenfield oversaw the Senate proceedings from a conference room in the Capitol as lawmakers convened through teleconference to decide on a series of emergency bills for the coronavirus outbreak," the Journal reports. "As the Senate prepared to adjourn Tuesday morning, Sen. Phil Jensen, a Rapid City Republican, said he had heard Langer was intoxicated and had interrupted meetings in the House and Senate. He then attempted to move to create a disciplinary committee."
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The Guardian reports that the German government claims that "200,000 N95 masks made by the manufacturer 3M were diverted to the U.S. as they were being transferred between planes in Thailand."
Andreas Geisel, the interior minister for Berlin state, said that the American seizure of masks that were set to go to Germany was "an act of modern piracy" and warned that continuing to take such actions could create chaos across the globe.