In the days ahead, there will likely be many questions raised about this GSA decision, such as why it was made by the contracting officer with a long relationship with the Trump Organization (rather than by a higher level officer) and why benefits delayed don’t qualify as a “benefit” under the lease. But there’s one very important question that no one should forget: does this decision, which directly benefits the President, violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause?
You are here
Articles & Commentary
It's not difficult to imagine the various ways in which the federal government may end up paying Trump's businesses. In fact, it's already happening.
The Senate and the American people both have a right to know whether Sessions will stand up to Trump and truly be the people’s lawyer, not the President’s. General promises aside, Sessions didn’t demonstrate this at his hearing, which means there’s no reason for anyone to think that he will be willing to say “no” to this President, even though - as Sessions himself has said - that’s exactly what an Attorney General sometimes needs to do.
For weeks, President-elect Donald Trump has been assuring the American people that it would be easy for him to resolve the constitutional and conflict-of-interest problems posed by his vast business holdings. But, at his press conference Wednesday, he revealed just how wrong those promises were. Simple or not, Trump’s long-awaited plan does nothing to address the imminent collision between his presidency and the Constitution.
Since Trump refuses to sell his vast business holdings, these types of conflicts and the possibility of widespread corruption will hound him throughout his presidency. To preserve the integrity of the office of the president, Trump should reconsider and take the steps necessary to ensure that he - and the people who work in his Administration - are truly working for the people’s interest and not the president’s.
With Donald Trump’s inauguration less than a month away, there’s been a lot of talk in Washington about two topics: first, the unprecedented conflicts of interest posed by the Trump presidency and, second, the individuals Trump is nominating to fill important government positions. But one thing there hasn’t been sufficient conversation about is the intersection of those two topics — the conflicts of interest posed by Trump naming the heads of agencies that are, or may be, investigating him and his businesses.
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the many conflicts of interest posed by a Trump presidency. And rightly so. After all, these conflicts are a constitutional crisis in the making: unless Donald Trump sells his business interests before January 20 (and he’s thus far shown no willingness to do so), he will be in violation of the Constitution on the very day he takes the oath to uphold it.
With Donald Trump positioned to profit immeasurably from the presidency, the American people are getting a lesson in advanced constitutional law, learning about a clause of the Constitution that many lawyers have never even heard of: the Emoluments Clause.
A case the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing Monday isn’t getting a lot of attention, but it should be. And the two people who should be paying the most attention are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
We should not limit the Supreme Court’s ability to perform its critical role in our democracy. We should instead make sure it is composed of Justices who will faithfully apply the law. That’s the Supreme Court’s job. And Republican Senators should let it do it.