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Roland99's Journal
Roland99's Journal
October 1, 2019

How tRump destroyed the integrity of the office of POTUS and endangered our foreign policy

The Realist Case for Impeachment
The U.S. president needs the public’s trust to conduct foreign policy. Donald Trump has forfeited it.


But as my colleague Jack Goldsmith recently argued, one area where presidents deserve a great deal of confidentiality is their private, one-on-one dealings with foreign leaders. In a dangerous world, we have to permit presidents (or their appointed representatives) to conduct candid conversations with adversaries or allies about highly sensitive topics—including issues involving war and peace—without worrying that the content of their conversations will end up on the front page of the New York Times.

But granting any president this level of trust—again, on the grounds that such latitude is necessary to preserve national security in a dangerous world—critically depends on a minimal level of presidential integrity. Americans must be confident that a president’s dealings with foreign powers are intended to advance the broad national interest and not their own private ends. We can disagree with how a president is handling relations with another country or another world leader, but we have to be confident—not just hopeful but confident—that they are doing what they think is best for the country and are not just out for themselves.

Trump has been flaunting his disregard for this principle since day one of his presidency. He refused to divest himself of his real estate business and has openly advertised on its behalf at least 70 times since taking the oath of office. He has spent part of at least 378 days of his presidency at one of his properties (usually a golf resort), costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Foreign governments seeking to curry favor with the president have spent millions of dollars at Trump properties since his inauguration, while his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. burn up more money on Secret Service protection while they fly around doing Trump Organization business.

Foreign governments have been quick to discern this part of the president’s agenda. As the memo reconstructing details of Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reveals, foreign leaders understand that flattering Trump and slipping the Trump Organization a few bucks is one way to get on his good side. So Zelensky is quick to tell Trump that he stayed at the Trump Tower when he was in New York, hoping this bit of kiss-up will win the president’s favor. All it did, of course, was line Trump’s pockets a bit more

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