Quantcast
Connect with us

The founding fathers had the Trump family in mind when they wrote this part of the Constitution that deals with presidential grifting

Published

on

- Commentary
Terry H. Schwadron
Terry H. Schwadron

That pesky, annoying caboose of legal problems for Donald Trump continues to move through the federal courts, thanks to a decision last week.

While Trump faces attacks on his taxes, his business practices and ethics, and the findings of the Mueller Report, this challenge focuses on the idea that Trump continues to bank profits from his hotel business while serving in the White House, an alleged abridgment of the “emoluments” clause of the Constitution.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington denied a Justice Department request to dismiss the lawsuit, filed in 2017 by Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal and 200 other members of the House and Senate who claim Trump is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments through his hotels.

Two hundred members of the House and Senate claim Trump is violating the  Constitution by doing business with foreign governments through his hotels.

As summarized by Fortune Magazine, the judge’s ruling would allow the Democrats to start seeking financial records from the Trump Organization in a pre-trial exchange of information. The Justice Department can try to block that by appealing the ruling. Trump is already fighting congressional subpoenas for his tax information in court and has vowed to fight “all subpoenas.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Sullivan in September ruled the Democrats have legal standing to pursue their claim, and held off deciding on the merits. Last Tuesday’s 48-page decision gives a detailed explanation for siding with the Democrats in a fight they say is crucial for battling corruption by the Trump White House.

As part of the clash, Democrats using a broad definition of emoluments to cover profits from Trump’s businesses and Trump seeking a narrow meaning. Sullivan said the Democrats had the more convincing argument.

Eighteenth-Century Definition

Trump’s definition “disregards the ordinary meaning of the term as set forth in the vast majority of Founding-era dictionaries,” Sullivan said in his ruling. The judge also said Trump’s definition “is inconsistent with the text, structure, historical interpretation, adoption, and purpose of the clause; and is contrary to executive branch practice over the course of many years.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Democrats argued the word is broadly defined “as any profit, gain or advantage.” The president countered that an emolument would be, for example, a payment from a foreign government for an official action or a salary from a foreign power.

The clause says that certain federal officials, including the president, can’t accept an emolument from “any King, Prince, or foreign State” without “the Consent of the Congress.” The congressional Democrats are seeking an order compelling Trump to notify Congress when he’s offered an emolument, giving them the option to vote on whether he can accept it. Blumenthal has called the emoluments clauses the Constitution’s “premier anti-corruption provision.”

Needs Congressional Approval

Trump said he stepped down from running his $3 billion empire but retained his ownership interests, a decision the Democrats say violates the Foreign Emoluments clause because he’s getting payments from foreign governments without congressional approval.

ADVERTISEMENT

While the Democrats claimed they’re being denied the right to vote on the benefits, attorneys for the president say the matter should be resolved in Congress, not in court.

Meanwhile, Reuters has an interesting report about what appears to be another Emoluments Clause controversy. This one aims at how Trump has allowed at least seven foreign governments to rent luxury condominiums in New York’s Trump World Tower in 2017 without approval from Congress, according to documents and people familiar with the leases, a potential violation of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The Emoluments Clause controversies started out as debates among legal scholars regarding provisions of the Constitution that had not been interpreted by any court of record in the United States since the adoption of the Constitution itself. Over the past two years, though, the issue that the two clauses raise has given rise to litigation across the nation and allegations of self-dealing and what amounts to what some might call influence pedaling through Trump’s businesses in a form that has never been seen with any previous president.


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘He’s lost his mind’: Lindsey Graham’s latest defense of Trump’s racist attacks leaves Americans sick to their stomach

Published

on

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was dragged over the coals on Thursday morning for defending Donald Trump's increasingly racist attacks on Somalia-born Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) saying it was "love it or leave it" 1968 politics having nothing to do with race.

Speaking with reporters the morning after Trump incited rallygoers to chant "send her back" after he launched an ugly attack on the Democratic lawmakers, Graham said the president couldn't be a racist because he would never encourage the repatriation of a Somali immigrant if they were wearing a MAGA hat.

Graham's glib defense outraged Twitter users who had already thought the conservative senator had hit rock bottom when it came to defending the president.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Jeffrey Epstein denied bail — will stay in jail until sex trafficking trial

Published

on

A federal judge denied bail bail to Jeffrey Epstein after his arrest on sex-trafficking charges.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman heard arguments from prosecutors and Epstein's attorneys Monday but waited until Thursday to issue his ruling.

Prosecutors argued that Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, should remain jailed because he's a danger to the public and a flight risk, pointing to a phony passport listing a Saudi Arabia residence that was found in a safe at his New York home, along with cash and diamonds.

Defense lawyers insisted Epstein would not flee the country and asked for him to be released on house arrest at his Manhattan townhouse and equipped with GPS monitoring.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

The FBI believes Donald Trump and Hope Hicks discussed silencing Stormy Daniels with payments

Published

on

New court documents released from the Southern District of New York revealed that Hope Hicks and Donald Trump were both involved with the hush-money payments given to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

The information released were documents related to the search warrant for the campaign finance violations that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen pled guilty to. They were supposed to be fully unredacted, however, dozens of pages and names remain redacted.

"The government has effectively concluded its investigation of (1) who, besides Michael Cohen, was involved in and may be criminally liable for the two campaign finance violations to which Cohen pled guilty [redacted]; and (2) whether certain individuals, [redacted], made false statements gave false testimony or otherwise obstructed justice in connection with this investigation [redacted]," the documents revealed.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image