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DOJ argues Congress can’t stop Trump Org from taking foreign payments — despite Constitution’s emoluments clause

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The so-called emoluments clause has been the center of a case that many legal scholars have been making that President Donald Trump is regularly violating the Constitution by continuing to accept payments from foreign governments via his businesses.

The Washington Post reports that an attorney from the Trump Department of Justice argued on Monday that the emoluments clause doesn’t actually prevent Trump from accepting payments from foreign governments, even though the clause specifically states that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

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“The only role that the Constitution gives Congress with respect to the foreign emoluments clause is to allow them,” DOJ attorney Hashim Mooppan argued before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

If Congress wants to prevent Trump from accepting such payments, Mooppan further argued, it would have to pass a law explicitly banning them.

Judge David S. Tatel, one of the three judges presiding over the hearing, expressed skepticism that Congress would have the information needed to write such a law since the president has refused to release his tax returns.

“How could Congress pass a law without knowing what the president is doing in respect to emoluments?” he asked.

Read the full report here.

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GOP senators are questioning allegiance to Trump as impeachment becomes a reality: Morning Joe panel

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According to members of MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel, Donald Trump may see more defections by previously supportive Republican senators now that the impeachment of the president has become a reality and their conduct will be scrutinized by voters back home.

Speaking with columnist David Ignatius, host Joe Scarborough noted that multiple Republican senators -- including several who are retiring -- are going soft on defending the president and may be inclined to allowing multiple witnesses who could damage the president.

"David Ignatius, you know, we've known Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) both of us, for a long time. and as they coming to the end of their careers," Scarborough began. "I would think [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell would be concerned that these gentlemen would vote their conscience and not just blindly follow Donald Trump and would vote to have a fair, open hearing and trial and get this new evidence that's coming in, that's come in since the House impeached."

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Furious Trump grilling aides on how impeachment is playing with voters: report

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According to a report in the New York Times, a furious Donald Trump spent Thursday afternoon huddled with close White House aides worrying how voters are reacting to his impeachment as it heads to a Senate trial.

Following an afternoon where he tweeted about how unfair the impeachment process has been ( “I JUST GOT IMPEACHED FOR MAKING A PERFECT PHONE CALL!” he wrote) -- and snapping at reporters -- the Times reports the president later bunkered down with staffers to discuss what to do next.

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The Trump administration misled the country by saying there were ‘no casualties’ from Iran attack: report

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After Iran targeted missiles at U.S. military personnel in Iraq in retaliation for the kill of a top general, the Trump administration declared that there were no casualties from attack, and — at least for the time being — it allowed the conflict to de-escalate.

But on Thursday night, a new report from Defense One revealed the initial claim that there were “no casualties” from the attack was false. It reported that 11 U.S. troops were injured in the attack and taken to hospitals to be treated for “traumatic brain injury.”

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