White House Ethics Counsel for George W. Bush and Barack Obama have joined with Harvard constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe. In a comprehensive report on the issues they warn that from the fits Donald Trump will receive from foreign governments benefits (emoluments) forbidden by the Constitution. That is separate from but related to the virtually inevitable corruption as foreign powers seek favor from Trump by patronizing and supporting his many overseas business interests.
Trump claims "the President cannot have a conflict of interest". That is because the ethics laws governing Cabinet officers exempt the President. But he is limited by the "emoluments clause", and he is subject to the criminal laws. The House of Representatives can impeach him for (undefined) "high crimes and misdemeanors". The pusillanimous GOP reps are unlikely to take that route. We should expect to see self-dealing on a scale never before seen as Trump's children manage the empire for him as he blunders through his responsibilities as the 45th President. - gwc
Reporters, Your Weekend Reading
by Josh Marshall // Talking Points Memo
Now in 2016, when there is overwhelming evidence that a foreign power has indeed meddled in our political system, adherence to the strict prohibition on foreign government presents and emoluments “of any kind whatever” is even more important for our national security and independence.
Never in American history has a president-elect presented more conflict of interest questions and foreign entanglements than Donald Trump. Given the vast and global scope of Trump’s business interests, many of which remain shrouded in secrecy, we cannot predict the full gamut of legal and constitutional challenges that lie ahead. But one violation, of constitutional magnitude, will run from the instant that Mr. Trump swears he will “faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” While holding office, Mr. Trump will receive—by virtue of his continued interest in the Trump Organization and his stake in hundreds of other entities—a steady stream of monetary and other benefits from foreign powers and their agents.******KEEP READING