Never heard of the foreign-emoluments clause? It’s part of Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. It’s clause number 8. It states, in the related part: “… no 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.”
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 still receive money and who knows what other benefits from these foreign powers and their agents.
EXAMPLES OF VIOLATION
Examples of existing business arrangements that violate the foreign-emoluments clause include:
- China’s state-owned Industrial and Commercial Bank of China is the largest tenant in Trump Tower;
- 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, 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 need foreign government approvals and permits, which amount to considerable financial benefits that also constitute foreign emoluments.
Trump takes 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.”
To address this unmatched corruption in the Oval Office and this threat to our Constitution and our democracy, Congress must move now with an impeachment investigation of President Trump. More than 797,357 people from across the country have already called for this, joining a new campaign launched moments after President Trump took the Oath of Office. The President’s possible conflicts of interest have become increasingly apparent.
In the meantime, instead of starting to “make America great again,” the 45th President should read the Constitution and “make the President honest again.” After all, he swore to uphold the Constitution.
The nation is now witnessing a massive corruption of the presidency, far worse than Watergate. Indeed, Nixon White House Counsel John Dean has told reporters: “I don’t think Richard Nixon even comes close to the level of corruption we already know about Trump.” Given the opportunity of ten full weeks between the election and the inauguration to divest his business interests, Mr. Trump chose instead to announce, just nine days before inauguration, a wholly inadequate plan to step away from operations, but not ownership or income streams, of the Trump Organization. Instead, he has chosen to profit from the presidency at public expense, in violation of the United States Constitution. The violations, the corruption, and the threat to our republic are here now.
There should also be an investigate whether President Trump is violating the the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act). The STOCK Act is one of the few federal ethics statutes that specifically includes the President. Among other provisions, it prohibits the President from (1) using nonpublic information for private profit, and from (2) intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.
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