Corruption is corruption

NPR reports on that lawsuit.

A team of ethics experts and legal scholars filed a lawsuit in federal court this morning that says President Donald Trump’s overseas businesses violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars presidents from taking money from foreign governments.

The group says it is asking the court “to stop Trump from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments” with ties to Trump interests. The lawsuit states that:

“These violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause pose a grave threat to the United States and its citizens. As the Framers were aware, private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders, and entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious threat to the Republic.”

But we’re supposed to trust that Trump is above all that. Yes, certainly, because obviously the greed for more money has never motivated him before so why would it start now? Obviously he’s one of the more public-spirited people in the world, so all these paltry millions in profits won’t influence him in the slightest.

The suit on the other hand gives illustrations of how they could.

For example, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is owned by the Chinese government, is a tenant at Trump Tower in New York, and its lease is due to expire during Trump’s term, the suit says. This could mean that the Chinese government will be in negotiations with the Trump Organization to renew the lease.

Another tenant is the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, which is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, the lawsuit notes.

The suit also says that Trump collects royalties from his TV show The Apprentice and its various spinoffs, many of which air on broadcast networks owned or controlled by foreign governments.

It also cites numerous examples of Trump properties in Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Scotland that require various government permits and exemptions.

“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,” according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which is part of the suit.

Except that we will, really, because of what we already know about him. We know he will indeed also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman, because that’s all there is to him. He’s an empty bag of vanity and greed, with no trace whatever of disinterested commitment to serve all the people.

The legal scholars and former White House ethics officials filing the lawsuit include Richard Painter, ethics adviser to President George W. Bush; Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine; and Supreme Court litigator Deepak Gupta.

Former Obama administration ethics adviser Norman Eisen told Morning Edition recently that Trump’s business ties violate the emoluments clause in numerous ways:

“We need travel no further than a few blocks from the White House, the Trump Hotel. There’s been controversy now about whether or not they’re pressuring governments to leave other hotels in Washington and come to their hotel.

“Whether those allegations are proven or not, there can be no question that the Trump Hotel in D.C. is aggressively seeking business from foreign governments. Once Mr. Trump takes the oath of office, that will be a violation of the Constitution.”

It remains to be seen how the lawsuit will be received, because the courts have never ruled on how the emoluments clause relates to the president. Trump’s lawyers have already indicated they will oppose the suit.

This is so fucking degrading. It makes Teapot Dome look altruistic in comparison.

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