Sections:

Article

Has President Trump already given grounds for his impeachment?... Travel ban from 'Muslim' countries only affects those nations where Trump has no businesses, but exempts those where he has his businesses... A violation of the 'emoluments clause'?...

Ivanka and Donald Trump posed at a Trump property in Dubai (United Arab Emerates) before Trump became President of the United States. Trump's refusal to release his income tax returns leaves many of his businesses out of the public eye, but a careful study of Trump's own promotions and the business press shows a correlation between the Muslim nations not subject to the ban on immigration issued by the President of the United States and nations, majority Muslim, where Trump has major business interests. These include Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, the UAW, and Indonesia. You can either be President of the United States of an international billionaire businessman, but you can't do both if your decisions as President assist your business profits to the detriment of U.S. foreign policy. And so, less than two weeks into his presidency, Donald Trump appears to be teetering on the edge of a part of the U.S. Constitution that defines, nearly as a traitor (during the Constitutional debates, that was one term used) a President who profits from foreign business while serving as President.

Chicago students in eight and tenth grades studying the U.S. Constitution for the main purpose of passing the Constitution Test are going to have to take a closer look at some of the clauses that are usually not studied. Under the so-called "emoluments clause," it is grounds for impeachment if the President of the United States profits from businesses in foreign countries he has favored in his official capacity. And the massively controversial announcement by President Donald Trump that he was banning the immigration of all people from some -- but not ALL -- "Muslim countries" may have begun the process of providing the grounds -- if the Congress has the courage to move forward with its Constitutional duties.

No sooner had the President announced the so-called "ban" on Muslim immigration to the USA on January 27, 2017, than a careful examination of the actual list of countries suffering from the ban showed that Donald Trump was acting to favor some countries -- some in fact which had produced or sheltered activists who had killed Americans -- while banning people from other countries (in some cases countries where no one had ever attacked an American). For example, Saudi Arabia is not on Trump's list of "banned" Muslim countries, but Saudi Arabia provided 12 of the 19 "Nine - eleven terrorists" who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The Trump organization and the White House have offered no explanation as of late January 28 of the apparent favoritism.

The issue is straightforward and almost unprecedented. The executive order Donald Trump signed on Friday, January 27, 2017, bars all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. But -- a huge BUT considering all the facts -- Trump has deliberately excluded from the lists several majority-Muslim nations where the Trump Organization is active. Yet those nations where Trump has properties have, as the Pot notes, "in some cases have also faced troublesome issues with terrorism."

Donald Trump with one of his major Indonesian business partners before Trump became President of the United States. Despite the fact that many international terrorists have based themselves in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, Trump's ban, edicted by the President of the United States on January 27, 2017, on "Islamic terrorists" does not include Indonesia. While not suggesting impeachment yet, the Washington Post on January 28, 2017, took notice of the hypocrisy of the Trump executive order. Trump's conflicts have also been reported in the press, and on January 27 a lawsuit was filed in New York demanding further disclosure of Trump's business interests following the executive order ordering the ban.

WASHINGTON POST STORY...

Countries where Trump does business are not hit by new travel restrictions, By Rosalind S. Helderman January 28, The Washington Post

The seven nations targeted for new visitation restrictions by President Trump on Friday all have something in common: They are places he does not appear to have any business interests.

The executive order he signed Friday bars all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Excluded from the lists are several majority-Muslim nations where the Trump Organization is active and which in some cases have also faced troublesome issues with terrorism.

According to the text of the order, the restriction applies to countries that have already been excluded from programs allowing people to travel to the United States without a visa because of concerns over terrorism. Hewing closely to nations already named as terrorism concerns elsewhere in law might have allowed the White House to avoid angering some more powerful and wealthy majority Muslim allies, such as Egypt.

But without divesting from his company, as bipartisan ethics ­experts had advised, Trump is now facing questions about whether he designed the new rules with his own business at least partly in mind.

“He needs to sell his businesses outside his family and place the assets in a blind trust, otherwise every decision he makes people are going to question if he’s making the decision in the interests of the American people or his own bottom line,” said Jordan Libowitz, the spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group. The group has filed a lawsuit arguing that Trump is already in violation of a constitutional provision barring federal officials from accepting payments from foreign officials.

Trump's executive order on refugees, explained Play Video1:47

President Trump signed an executive order halting all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days, among other provisions. Here's what the order says. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Earlier in the week, Norm Eisen, the group’s chairman and a former ethics adviser to Barack Obama, tweeted: “WARNING: Mr. Pres. your Muslim ban excludes countries where you have business interests. That is a ­CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION. See u in court.”

Stephanie Grisham, a White House spokeswoman, said, “The high-risk territories are based on Congressional statute and ­nothing else.”

Trump has said he has handed management of his real estate, licensing and merchandising business over to his adult sons to avoid the perception that he is making presidential decisions to boost his own business. But he has retained ownership of the ­company, meaning that if it thrives during his presidency, he will ­personally profit.

The new executive order points to the complications that are likely to arise from the arrangement.

[How Trump has made millions selling his name around the world]

Trump’s order makes no mention of Turkey, which has faced several terrorist attacks in recent months. On Wednesday, the State Department updated a travel warning for Americans visiting Turkey, noting that “an increase in anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against US citizens.”

Trump has licensed his name to two luxury towers in Istanbul. A Turkish company also manufactures a line of Trump-branded home furnishings. Trump’s most recent financial disclosure, filed in May when he was a presidential candidate, showed that he had earned as much as $6 million in the previous year from the deals.

“I have a little conflict of ­interest ’cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” he said in a December 2015 interview with Breitbart News. More ­recently, he has insisted that he has no ­conflicts because laws making conflicts illegal do not apply to the president.

Also untouched by Friday’s ­executive order is the United Arab Emirates, a powerful Muslim ally with whom the United States ­nevertheless has complicated ­relations. Trump has licensed his name to a Dubai golf resort, as well as a luxury home ­development and spa.

Trump has seemed particularly disinclined to divorce himself of interests in the project. Its ­developer, Hussain Sajwani, attended a New Year’s Eve party at Trump’s Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago, where a video showed Trump singling him out for praise, calling him and his family “the most beautiful people.”

Trump returned to the topic of his Dubai partnership again in mid-January at a news conference intended to demonstrate how he was separating from his business.

“Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East — Hussein, Damac, a friend of mine, great guy. And I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai — a number of deals and I turned it down,” Trump said then, referring to ­Sajwani’s development company.

LAWSUIT FILED DEMANDING FURTHER DISCLOSURE OF TRUMP FINANCIAL INTERESTS...

Teachout says emoluments suit could result in more financial disclosure for Trump, By JIMMY VIELKIND 01/27/17 01:27 PM EST

ALBANY — Zephyr Teachout, the former congressional and gubernatorial candidate, said Friday a lawsuit she filed along with other constitutional scholars could jog loose more details on President Donald Trump’s financial holdings.

Teachout — working with the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a group aligned with Democrats — this week filed a federal lawsuit accusing Trump of violating the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, which prevents federal officers from accepting gifts from foreign governments.

The suit claims payments to Trump’s properties and other business holdings fit the ban. Trump’s attorneys say the transactions in question are routine business, not gifts.

Teachout is an expert on the topic, and devoted part of her 2014 book, “Corruption in America,” to the roots of the Emoluments Clause: ornate, jewel encrusted snuff boxes given by King Louis XVI to ambassadors in his court, like Ben Franklin.

“The people of the country really deserve to know who has leverage over the president’s wealth and power. And I will say, this is a president who has shown particular sensitivity to anybody questioning his financial prowess or the strength of his companies,” Teachout said Friday on WCNY’s “The Capitol Pressroom.” “If they know that he’s sensitive about money — which they surely do … then that’s a huge leverage point, and I think it’s naïve to think that countries aren’t actively thinking about ways to directly or indirectly — and indirectly matters too — influence our trade policy.”

Teachout mentioned Chinese tenants in Trump Tower and diplomatic guests staying in Trump’s new hotel in Washington, D.C. She said she hoped the suit could jog disclosure of Trump’s tax returns, which he has consistently refused to release.

“Because he hasn’t released his tax returns, there are some that we know and some that we don’t,” Teachout said. “In the course of the lawsuit, we hope to learn more precisely where the payments are coming from.”

His point was that he was voluntarily turning aside new projects that could raise ethical questions. An attorney for the company announced at the same event that the Trump Organization will embark on no new foreign deals while Trump is in office. But the comment also served as a reminder that Trump’s business, included the personal relationships he forged with wealthy partners around the world, was still very much on his mind as he entered the presidency.

The executive order makes no mention of Saudi Arabia, home of 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Trump Organization had incorporated several limited liability companies in preparation for an attempt to build a hotel in Saudi Arabia, showing an interest in expansion in the country. The company canceled those incorporations in December, indicating that no project is moving forward.

Excluded as well is Indonesia, the world’s largest majority-Muslim nation, where there are two large Trump-branded resorts underway, built in partnership with powerful local interests.

“To be blunt, we really don’t know what to make of which motives are driving this president’s decisions,” said Kamal Essaheb, director of policy and advocacy for the National Immigration Law Center. “From what we could tell from his campaign and his actions since he became president, what seems to be first and foremost on his mind is his own self-interest and an obsession with his brand.”



Comments:

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at substancenews.net. We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 4 =