Raise your hand if you’re surprised that someone has already found a way to sue President Trump.
Anybody? Hello? (taps microphone) Is this thing on?
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is the group behind the legal action.
They’re filing a suit alleging that the president is violating a constitutional ban on accepting payments from foreign governments.
What? He’s taking bribes?
The ridiculous reason why he’s being sued.
A group of “prominent scholars” has taken umbrage that a hotelier and real estate mogul has foreign guests staying at his hotels and leasing apartments and offices in buildings he owns.
How very shocking.
Now, maybe it’s just me thinking this, but wouldn’t it look worse if he gave free rooms or office space to people with ties to foreign governments?
From the New York Times:
A team of prominent constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers intends to file a lawsuit Monday morning alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business operations to accept payments from foreign governments.
The lawsuit is among a barrage of legal actions against the Trump administration that have been initiated or are being planned by major liberal advocacy organizations. Such suits are among the few outlets they have to challenge the administration now that Republicans are in control of the government…
“The framers of the Constitution were students of history,” said Deepak Gupta, one of the lawyers behind the suit. “And they understood that one way a republic could fail is if foreign powers could corrupt our elected leaders.”
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Organization had already thought of this.
But Trump had already covered his bases with regard to this. The Trump Organization had agreed to donate any profit from guests who had ties with foreign governments to the US Treasury.
According to the BBC, President Trump’s son Eric described the move as “harassment for political gain.”
Eric Trump, who is an executive vice-president of the Trump Organization, said the company had taken greater steps than the law required to avoid legal exposure…
He said it had agreed to donate any hotel profits that come from foreign government guests to the US treasury.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) said it would file the lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court on Monday morning…
Mr Trump’s lawyers argue that the clause is intended only to stop federal officials from accepting a special consideration or gift from a foreign power and does not apply to payments such as a bill for a hotel room.
We can expect this to be the first of many lawsuits that the new president will face from the disgruntled people who just can’t move on from the fact that their preferred candidate is not sitting in the Oval Office.
The CREW homepage states:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is bringing a federal lawsuit to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments. The lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of New York when the court opens at 9 AM on Monday.
The foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution prohibits Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, including foreign government-owned businesses, without the approval of Congress.
“We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said. “He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action.”
Since Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.
While we’re on the topic of conflicts of interest…
First, this is pretty laughable when you consider that the candidate they all wanted to be in office. Hillary Clinton had her charitable organization, the Clinton Foundation, accused of taking money from the poorest country on earth after a devastating earthquake, receiving massive “donations” from foreign governments when she was Secretary of State, and paying for her daughter’s three million dollar wedding out of charitable donations.
It’s notable that one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit, Norman L. Eisen, served as an ethics lawyer for the Obama administration and also as US Ambassador to the Czech Republic for several years during the Obama years.