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Wed Dec 27, 2017, 10:19 AM

Why Trump Winning First Round in Legal Battle Over Emoluments Matters

Why Trump Winning First Round in Legal Battle Over Emoluments Matters


To a certain segment of the American population – those who have spent the past 336 days (but who's counting?) dreaming of the end of the Donald Trump presidency – the two words that have given them the most hope have been "Mueller" and "emoluments." Almost everyone knows that the Robert Mueller investigation is moving forward amid serious questions whether Donald Trump will fire him, so let's talk about what's happening with the emoluments issue.

Days after Trump became president, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a good government watchdog group, brought a lawsuit against the president claiming that his continuing to own his hotel chains around the world was an illegal emolument. Yesterday, crushing the hopes of those looking to topple Trump, a federal judge threw this lawsuit out of court.

So why in the world were people pinning their hopes on a word that almost no one even knew existed before the end of 2016? Because the Constitution contains a previously little noticed or used clause saying the following: "No person holding any office or profit of trust under [the United States] shall, without the consent of Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state." Put in plain English, the clause prohibits officers of the United States from accepting gifts or any other fee or item from foreign leaders. The clause's purpose is quite obvious – to prevent foreign leaders from holding undue influence over American officers.

What's this have to do with Donald Trump? Well, unless you've completely ignored everything about our president, you know that he has hotels all over the world. The theory of the lawsuit against him is that, now that he's President of the United States, foreign leaders will stay in those hotels over competitors as a way to curry favor with the president. Think about it this way: If you're the head of state of another country that needs to win President Trump over for your country's benefit and you need a hotel room for the night when you're traveling, would you choose a Trump hotel or one of his nearby competitors? CREW and a few competitor hotel owners claim in their lawsuit that the foreign dignitaries will choose the Trump hotel, thus both enriching the President and winning him over as a result. To the plaintiffs, Trump's continued ownership of these hotels while President is a violation of the Emoluments Clause and is a signal that he is being bought by foreign leaders.

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Reply Why Trump Winning First Round in Legal Battle Over Emoluments Matters (Original post)
Miles Archer Dec 2017 OP
tritsofme Dec 2017 #1

Response to Miles Archer (Original post)

Wed Dec 27, 2017, 12:18 PM

1. Anyone pining their hopes on this lawsuit was quite foolish.

It’s dismissal based on standing and the political question doctrine was the only outcome anyone should have expected.

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