The least Trump can do is stop violating the Constitution by accepting secret money from foreign governments


#1

Wow. It’s not getting better, folks.


#2

He’s just going to double down, too, whenever it’s brought up…


#3

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/01/23/511183740/ethics-experts-to-file-lawsuit-saying-trumps-overseas-interests-violate-constitu


#4

ETA: From @ChickieD’s link:

“No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an emolument,” Trump lawyer Sheri Dillon told a news conference earlier this month.

Yeah, I think that’s because no one would have though when the Constitution was written that a president would be hosting foreign leaders at a hotel that they owned.


#5

I think the real issue here is that Trump can’t divest.

Trump in all likelihood has massive debts which he acquired when buying his real estate, and most of his ‘wealth’ is tied up in infrastructure such as hotels, golf courses and casinos. If Trump were to have decided to divest properly, he’d have needed to sell everything urgently. But then, he’d not be able to realise the best price for his assets. In fact, it’d be a fire sale - everything must go by 20th Jan. Trump has made plenty of enemies, he’s got a lot of things to sell, and he doesn’t have a group of rich friends who would agree to buy him out for a reasonable price. He’d be screwed over because everyone would know that he needed to sell urgently, and he’d be left holding all the debt, and bankrupted.

I’d like to see the court order him to divest or resign as president, to see whether this is true. I suspect the best the court can actually do is to order the confiscation of all monies paid to the Trump organisation by representatives of foreign governments.


#6

The court may not have a choice in what it orders - may already be prescribed.

Your analysis on the assets is bang on - he’s in a tight corner.


#7

Godspeed, Ms. Teachout & your fellow attorneys.


#8

And, they probably would have considered it an “emolument” if they had known, because emoluments weren’t limited to quid pro quo cash payments, but also included business dealings with foreign governments.


#9

I suspect what will happen is that a court will say that the only remedy for violating the emolument clause is impeachment, and that that is up to congress to judge. The DC hotel lease is more promising ground because it is based on contract law, and explicitly says that an elected official may not benefit from the lease. That I think he’ll be ordered to divest - if someone can convince a court that they have standing to sue. If not, it seems unlikely anyone inside the executive branch will be able to force that.


#10

The judiciary will be incapable of allowing a judgment to go unfulfilled.

Something gonna go “pop”!


#11

If Trump were to have decided to divest properly, he’d have needed to sell everything urgently.

The thing is, no matter how dire a situation he’d be in if he divested and allowed his ass to show, his descendants would come out ahead, and they wouldn’t even have to stop being raging dickheads.

But no. He’s a billzyunair. Stop asking!


#12

There was a good analysis of this by a linguist on NPR where he said they were diminishing it. Yeah, one hotel bill, no biggie. Hosting your entire delegation and throwing a big event at the swanky hotel - more than a couple hundred bucks.


#13

Well exactly, my understanding is that the founders (at least some of them) thought that corporations were threats to national sovereignty and opposed their existence. I hardly think they’d be interested in distinctions about how payments were being made and how many hands they passed through.

This would sounds like it’s both a fair-enough interpretation of the law and a nice safe way to stay out of the issue.

They are definitely trying to make it seem much smaller than it is. Trump has business interests all over the world that could affect his judgment as president. I just found the appeal to the writers of the constitution absurd. As someone who doesn’t hold the founding fathers in any special regard (being non-American and not thinking the American constitution has really stood the test of time), I think it’s basically rewriting history to think they wouldn’t care if the president owned a hotel that served foreign clients. I’m sure at least a couple of them would have absolutely hit the roof over that.


#14

I think it’s even simpler: any indication of bribery is unconstitutional.


#15

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