Tag Archives: emoluments clause

G7 going to meet at Camp David after all … imagine that

How about that? Donald Trump once sought to bring the leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations to his glitzy resort in south Florida, only to run into a firestorm of criticism from those who accused him of seeking to profit personally from the presidency.

He withdrew the suggestion that the G7 summit occur at Doral Country Club.

So, where did he agree to play host to the summit? Camp David, Md., where presidents have taken foreign leaders for decades.

It’s a publicly owned place in the Catoctin Mountains near Washington, D.C. It’s known to possess a sort of quaint elegance quality. There’s plenty of room for the heads of these nations and their staffs to stay. Camp David has plenty of meeting-room space. Heads of state and government can get away to confer privately if they wish.

So, why didn’t the president settle on Camp David in the first place? He instead decided to make an issue out of being the host for the annual summit of the world’s wealthiest nations. Remember how he said that Doral was the best place in the entire United States to host this event? Of course it was a ludicrous assertion.

He has decided to welcome the G7 nations to a perfectly fine location. Camp David already has seen plenty of newsworthy events during its time as the official presidential retreat. Let there be more news to be made when the G7 nations’ leaders gather next year.

Memo to Mick: POTUS is no longer in the ‘hospitality’ business

Mick Mulvaney shoved both feet into his pie hole while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

The show’s host, Chris Wallace, was questioning the acting White House chief of staff about Donald Trump’s lame-brain notion of bringing the G7 summit of industrialized nations to his Trump Doral National Country Club.

Mulvaney then sought to persuade Wallace that Trump “still sees himself as being in the hospitality business.” Wallace replied that Trump is “the president of the United States.”

Mulvaney answered that is Trump’s “background.”

Holy cow, man! In what world is Trump’s chief shill, the chief of staff, living?

Donald Trump sought for a brief period of time to violate openly the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the Article I provision that prevents presidents from profiting during their time in office. Trump would have profited handsomely by hosting the G7 summit. He got a huge amount of resistance from Congress; then he backed away from his idiotic notion.

Trump’s idiocy has nothing to do with his believing he is still in the “hospitality” business. It has everything to do with his ignorance of the office to which he was elected.

Mick Mulvaney mirrors his boss’s ignorance. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about .

Where are the ‘strict constructionists’?

I am bewildered.

Donald Trump took time today to belittle the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution, contained in the very first article of our nation’s governing document. He called it “phony.”

By bewilderment rests with the shocking non-response, the stone-cold silence among the president’s staunchest defenders  who in other arguments have argued on behalf of what they say should be a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. They are the “strict constructionists” who accept the founders’ work as the law of the land. There can be little if any deviation from what they wrote, these Trump defenders would contend.

Why, though, are they silent on the president’s denigrating of the founders’ words? The Emoluments Clause was written to prevent presidents from profiting during their time in office. They should accept no gifts or favors from “kings, princes or foreign governments.”

Yet there was the president, granting his own business — Trump Doral National Country Club — an expensive government contract to play host to the 2020 G7 summit of industrialized nations. Would he have profited from this event? Well … yeah. Bigly!

OK, he pulled it back after Republicans and Democrats alike condemned the decision to bring the G7 to Doral.

But then the president today blamed the media and Democrats for the pushback that erupted. That’s when he called the Emoluments Clause “phony.”

I have been waiting all day to hear from leading conservative politicians in Congress condemn the president in stark terms for his denigration of the constitutional provision. It is no phony document. It is real. It is vital. It is intended to prevent presidential corruption — although that last item clearly has taken deep and serious root in our executive branch of government.

The only “phony” aspect of this entire discussion, in my view, is linked to the idiocy that continues to pour out of the mouth of the president.

This individual is a disgrace.

Mr. POTUS, there’s nothing ‘phony’ about the Emoluments Clause

Pay attention to me, please, Mr. President.

Your White House rant today about the “phony Emoluments Clause” compels to defend what the nation’s founders had in mind when they wrote that item into the U.S. Constitution.

They intended to prohibit the president from profiting during his time in office. Your initial decision to host the G7 summit of industrialized nations at your glitzy Trump Doral National Country Club was in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause.

You see, you cannot award yourself a government contract, which is what you sought to do. You cannot direct government business onto your privately owned, for-profit property, where foreign governments are going to pour millions of dollars into your pocket.

Good grief, Mr. President! There can be no clearer violation of the Emoluments Clause than that.

And yet your blaming of the media and Democrats and your insistence that President Obama somehow profited from a book deal while he was in office steers the discussion away from your own responsibility to do right by the office you occupy. While I’m at it, I need to wonder out loud whether you’ll ever get over your “hate affair” with your immediate predecessor.

And just to be clear, Barack Obama signed his book deal after he left office. It’s a non-starter, Mr. President.

We have a big country out there, Mr. President. It is endowed richly with many fine resorts to play host to the G7 summit. None of them has a single thing to do with your business interests.

Why in the name of presidential due diligence can’t you get your “fine-tuned” White House staff to find a spot that would serve as a fitting venue for this event next year? Moreover, why can’t you just do the right thing without making a mess out of it?

The Emoluments Clause isn’t “phony,” Mr. President. It is real and it is a legitimate hedge against presidential corruption … which I am certain is why you’re in such trouble at this moment.

Trump shows his ignorance one more astonishing time

Wow! That was a wild 72 hours in the world of Donald J. “King of Hospitality” Trump.

He announced plans, via Twitter, to play host to the G7 summit of industrialized nations at his Doral Country Club in south Florida, a decision that clearly violates the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution.

Then he announces, again via Twitter, that he’s changed his mind. He won’t host the summit there. He’ll look for another suitable location.

Does that make it all better now? Is the president clear of impeachable offenses? Uhh, no. He’s not.

The Emoluments Clause bans the president from benefiting from his public office. Hosting the G7 summit at Doral would have lined his pockets considerably, given that he never divested himself of his many business interests after becoming president. There are the other matters still to be considered, though, regarding probable impeachment by the House of Representatives. We’ll get to those another time.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney went on Fox News this morning to say Trump was “surprised” at the pushback. No surprise there. Trump’s ignorance of constitutional matters is well-known and well-chronicled.

Mulvaney said Trump still considers himself in the “hospitality business” and wants to put on the best show possible for the foreign dignitaries. But he’s the president of the United States, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace reminded him. Mulvaney said hospitality is part of Trump’s “background.” Yeah. Let’s move on.

The United States of America is full of resorts that could play host to this event. Here’s a thought: How about Camp David, the official presidential retreat tucked in the Maryland mountains not far from the D.C. hustle and bustle? Sure, Trump has said he considers Camp David to be a dump. However, it has been the site of many important gatherings.

What’s more, it is a publicly owned site reserved for presidents to relax and, yes, to welcome foreign dignitaries. It also has not a single thing to do with Donald Trump’s business empire.

Trump got the pushback he deserved when he made his initial Doral decision. No, it wasn’t, as he said on Twitter, the result of what he described as “Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.”

It was based on Donald Trump’s utter incompetence and his expressed belief that he can do whatever the hell he wants, even if it flouts the U.S. Constitution.

POTUS provides impetus to proceed now with impeachment

Donald J. Trump’s profound arrogance has given the House of Representatives all the evidence it now needs to determine that the president of the United States has committed an impeachable act.

He has committed an unconstitutional act. How?

By awarding himself a massive government contract that will bring the leaders of the seven leading industrial nations of the world to his posh resort in south Florida. Yep, Doral National Country Club is going to play host to the G7 summit of nations next spring.

Donald Trump has declared Doral to be the most fitting resort in the United States to host this event. He has violated the Emoluments Clause to the U.S. Constitution, the one that says the president cannot profit from his public office.

Trump will profit bigly by playing host to the G7 summit.

There is no more need, in my mind, for the House to look much further — if at all — for reasons to impeach the president. He has delivered a big reason all by himself.

I haven’t mentioned — until right now — what White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney declared, that the president withheld arms to Ukraine for political purposes. He then scolded the media to “Get over it.”

That, too, is an impeachable offense. It also violates the Constitution.

However, this awarding of the government contract to his own business simply crosses the biggest red line possible.

Donald Trump needs to be impeached. He needs to be thrown out of office after a Senate trial.

My question remains: How in the name of no man being above the law can Republicans in Congress and across the land ignore what is occurring in real time before all our eyes?

‘Emoluments’ have become a matter of interpretation

Donald Trump has violated his oath of office. I stand by that assertion and will continue to stand by it for as long as I am able to stand by anything.

But I have received a fair question from someone who commented on a recent blog post. The question, in part, asks this:

“[N]o Person holding any office of Profit or Trust under [the United States] 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.”

If this is the part of the Constitution that he has allegedly violated, then I guess the theory is that he was seeking a present from the President of the Ukraine in the form of an investigation into Burisma and the Bidens.

The blog reader asks for a blog post that explains what Donald Trump has done to call for his impeachment.

I believe the Emoluments Clause is a tangential element in the argument that he has violated his oath.

My greatest concern is the “favor” he sought from Ukrainian President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy. The Ukrainian president said in that July 25 phone call that he appreciated the help coming from the United States in the form of weapons Ukraine is using against Russia-backed rebels. Then the next thing that came from Trump referred to a favor he wanted “though” in exchange for the funds already appropriated by Congress. He said he wanted Ukraine to investigate allegations that Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, profited from a business relationship that Hunter Biden had with a Ukrainian businessman.

Therein lies the violation, in my view.

You see, the president withheld money approved by Congress to aid a U.S. ally in its fight against a U.S. foe, Russia. Therefore, he put our national security at risk. Thus, he violated the oath he took to protect and defend the Constitution and to protect Americans against foreign adversaries.

Congressional Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry that appears headed toward a certain impeachment of the president. I don’t know what the inquiry will reveal. There will might be something to allegations that the president is actually profiting from his office, with foreign governments spending money at the glitzy resorts he still owns.

First things first. The inquiry needs to come to grips with this patently frightening notion that the president of the United States is stiffing an ally, benefiting an adversary and in the process putting Americans in jeopardy.

If it were up to me, I would call that an impeachable offense.

Is there any sense of propriety in the White House?

This is rich beyond belief.

The president of the United States apparently sees nothing wrong with the attorney general of the United States booking a spendy family party at a hotel the president owns.

Donald Trump and William Barr appeared made for each other.

The AG booked a party for Dec. 8 that will cost about $30,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Barr will pay for the party out of his own pocket.

But, my goodness, this appears to violate that knotty issue called the Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution. The president is not supposed to profit financially while in office. Yet the attorney general is going to have a big family party at a Trump property, giving the president a healthy chunk of change.

There are ethics concerns about the wazoo, man.

According to FoxNews.com: “Career ethics officials were consulted and they determined that ethics rules did not prohibit him from hosting his annual party at the Trump hotel,” the DOJ official told The Post.

Of course the Justice Department wouldn’t see anything wrong it! Barr runs the department; Trump nominated Barr to become the nation’s top law enforcement official. Barr has been acting as Trump’s personal lawyer more than the nation’s top legal eagle.

Others do see a problem … as if it matters one damn bit to the attorney general, let alone the president.

Trump shows his self-punishment gluttony

Donald Trump surely must be a glutton for punishment.

He has left the G7 meeting in France and now wants to play host to the next summit of the world’s economic powers at his Florida resort at Doral.

Can you say “Emoluments Clause,” anyone? Anyone?

That’s the part of the U.S. Constitution that makes it illegal for presidents of the United States to profit from their public service. You know, taking gifts from the foreign heads of state, kings, princes and potentates. That kind of thing.

So why is Trump pitching this idea of playing host to G7 powers at his glitzy estates? He still owns the place. He is still earning a substantial living from it. He didn’t divest his financial interests after taking office as president.

I don’t get this one single bit.

Trump kept delivering impromptu infomercials to his fellow G7 participants.

Then there’s this: He wants Russian strongman Vladimir Putin to attend the next G7 summit. Yep, Russia. The country got booted out of the G7 because of its aggression against Ukraine. The member nations made the call.

Yet the dictator’s BFF, Donald Trump, wants to give him a pass. Bring him back, says Trump. Let’s make the G7 the G8, even though Russia is a third-rate economic power.

Trump is inviting more trouble for himself.


Tax returns: the gift that keeps on giving

Tax returns have, um, returned to the top of our awareness.

Not my tax returns. Or yours. I refer to the president of the United States.

You’ll recall when Donald Trump stiffed 40 years of political tradition by refusing to release his returns for public scrutiny. He said dubiously that he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service. That was more than two years ago! He still hasn’t released them. He is showing not a single indication that he’ll do so voluntarily.

Presidential candidates of both parties since 1976 have released their tax returns in the spirit of full transparency. Trump talks about being transparent, then hides his returns.

They’re increasing in relevance to what has developed. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, likely knows what is in those returns. He likely knows about whether the president has invested in “Russia matters.” He likely knows whether the president has benefited materially from his office, which could be in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the part that says presidents cannot accept money from foreign governments.

We’ll know in due course whether Mueller has those returns. We’ll know also in due course whether the special counsel has anything incriminating regarding those returns.

The idea that Trump has refused to release those returns because of an IRS audit falls apart on two levels. First, he’s never produced any evidence that the IRS is even auditing his tax returns. Second, the IRS — which doesn’t comment on individual audits — has made it clear that an audit does not preclude any public figure from making those returns public.

My direct plea to the special counsel is this: Make those returns available to those of us who want to know the truth behind our president’s financial dealings.