Feb 07 2017

The Resistance: Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover

We are barely three weeks into the so-called presidency of Donald J. Trump and there is already talks of impeachment. Of course House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is trying to down play the chatter, once again shirking her constitutional responsibility.

“[There] are grounds for displeasure and unease in the public about the performance of this president who has acted in a way that is strategically incoherent, that is incompetent and that is reckless,” Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol. “And that is not grounds for impeachment.”

Pelosi was responding to recent comments from Rep. Maxine Waters, a fellow California Democrat, who said last week that she hopes Trump doesn’t survive his first term. Waters suggested the Democrats could help to catalyze an early exit.

“I hope he’s not there for four years,” she said in an interview on Cheddar, an online broadcasting network targeting millennials. “I hope that this man and who he is, the way that he has defined himself, the way that he is acting — I am hoping that we are able to reveal all of this.

“And my greatest desire is to lead him right into impeachment.”

Pelosi was more cautious, decrying Trump’s early actions while emphasizing that they don’t amount to the “high crimes and misdemeanors” described in the Constitution.

“When and if he breaks the law, that is when something like [impeachment] would come up,” she said. “But that’s not the subject of today.”

“When and if”????? Yo, Nancy, he already has. I guess she hasn’t read down to the Emoluments Clause of the constitution. It’s in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8, Nancy.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And 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.

In a Time Magazine article, two legal scholars, retired Justice of the Montana Supreme Court James C. Nelson and co-founder and president of Free Speech For People John Bonifaz, enumerate how Trump has already violated the clause and can be impeached now:

The Trump Organization does or has done business in Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uruguay. And, while serving as President, Trump, through his interest in the Trump Organization, will continue to receive monetary and other benefits from these foreign powers and their agents.

Examples of existing business arrangements that constitute violations of the foreign-emoluments clause include: China’s state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower, and the state-owned Bank of China is a major lender to Trump. Trump’s business partner in Trump Tower Century City in Manila, Philippines is Century Properties, which is run by Jose Antonio, who was just named special envoy to the United States by the president of the Philippines. Further, many Trump Organization projects abroad require foreign government permits and approvals, which amount to substantial financial benefits that also constitute foreign emoluments.

Presidents and public officers often utilize blind trusts so as not to violate the foreign-emoluments clause. A truly blind trust involves an arrangement wherein the public officer has no control whatsoever over the assets placed in the trust — that means no communications with, from or about the trust, and no knowledge of the specific assets held for his benefit in the trust. In the case of Trump’s ownership in the Trump Organization, this could be achieved only by a complete liquidation of the assets, with the proceeds to be invested by an independent Trustee, without Trump’s involvement or knowledge. Trump’s decision to continue the business of the Trump Organization, continue to maintain his substantial ownership of the organization and turn the management of it over to his children, is woefully inadequate in addressing the emoluments clause.

Worse, taking the position that the foreign-emoluments clause doesn’t even apply to him, Trump has stated that: “I can be President of the United States and run my business 100 percent, sign checks on my business.” And: “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.”

The article doesn’t mention that the president’s son, Eric, cost American tax payers nearly $100,000 for hotel rooms and secret service protection for a recent trip to Uruguay in early January for a Trump Organization promotional trip.

It was a high-profile jaunt out of the country for Eric, the fresh-faced executive of the Trump Organization who, like his father, pledged to keep the company separate from the presidency. Eric mingled with real estate brokers, dined at an open-air beachfront eatery and spoke to hundreds at an “ultra exclusive” Trump Tower Punta del Este evening party celebrating his visit.

The Uruguayan trip shows how the government is unavoidably entangled with the Trump company as a result of the president’s refusal to divest his ownership stake. In this case, government agencies are forced to pay to support business operations that ultimately help to enrich the president himself. Though the Trumps have pledged a division of business and government, they will nevertheless depend on the publicly funded protection granted to the first family as they travel the globe promoting their brand. [..]

{E}thical experts say that the steps Donald Trump announced to facilitate such a separation, including placing his business into a trust overseen by Eric, Donald Trump Jr. and a longtime company executive, are not enough to eliminate concerns about conflicts of interest.

“Having refused to sever his own personal financial interests, [the president] is now sending his emissaries, his sons, out to line his own pockets, and he’s subsidizing that activity with taxpayer dollars,” said Norm Eisen, a former Obama administration ethics adviser who is part of a lawsuit accusing Trump of violating a constitutional provision barring presidents from taking payments from foreign governments.

Nancy, you need to pay attention.