Trump’s nightmare

Trump loses big: the emoluments case is going ahead.

This is the nightmare — or one of them — that Trump has long feared, namely litigation in which his business operations, perhaps even his tax returns, are laid bare. Norman Eisen, who is co-counsel with the District and Maryland, tells me, “It is another major crack in the dam that has so far been holding back accountability. [Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III] is closing in; [Michael] Cohen is about to cut a deal; and now we have taken another leap forward in being able to understand how Trump is profiting off the presidency, including possibly from Russia.” He adds, “‘Follow the money,’ the old adage goes, and we are going to do exactly that thanks to this decision.”

The decision, running over 50 pages, is an impressive, detailed analysis of the Constitution and 18th century language. This is a judge who did his homework. The ruling is the inevitable result of Trump’s decision to maintain ownership of his far-flung business operations and to continue to reap the benefits, foreign and domestic, resulting from his presidency.

Trump claims that “emoluments” means an exchange, like people stay in his hotel and he gives them Hawaii or something. The judge says nah.

Laurence Tribe, who along with Eisen has been making the emoluments argument in court and in the court of public opinion, says, “It’s an extremely significant ruling, the first federal judicial decision addressing — and endorsing — the theory we have been advancing on the Emoluments Clause ever since the start of the Trump administration.” On that, Trump would no doubt agree. You can be sure Trump will try to appeal the ruling.

And maybe he’ll explode with rage.

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