Trump likes to claim that, as president, he is exempt from federal conflict-of-interest law. But a government watchdog filed a lawsuit just days after the inauguration claiming that Trump is in violation of the Constitution.1
Trump owes nearly $1 billion in debt and has projects all over the world. The lawsuit from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) maintains that any payments to Trump from foreign entities violates the anti-bribery ‚Äúemoluments‚ÄĚ clause of the Constitution.2
A president using his power to enrich himself while indebted to foreign governments is not normal, and we cannot let Washington Democrats and the corporate media pretend it is. Sen. Warren has introduced a bill that would close federal law loopholes and force Trump to disclose and divest.3 We need to get behind her and make it clear that Donald Trump is putting America‚Äôs safety and security at risk in order to line his own pockets.
The director of the Office of Government Ethics described Donald Trump‚Äôs recently announced plan to hold on to his ownership of hundreds of businesses with billions in assets as ‚Äúmeaningless.‚ÄĚ4 While the CREW lawsuit proceeds, we need to stand with Sen. Warren and push to close the loopholes in federal conflict-of-interest rules that exempt the president and vice president from many restrictions. Sen. Warren‚Äôs new bill would make it clear that Trump has to follow the rules ‚Äď or else.5
The federal watchdog‚Äôs remarks on Trump‚Äôs plan has Republicans talking about investigating or defunding his office.6 It isn‚Äôt the first time. The very first act of the new Republican Congress was an attempt to gut a similar independent office covering Congress: the Office of Congressional Ethics. But under massive public pressure, Republicans changed course within 24 hours. This continuing scandal episode shows that Trump Republicans are desperate to make corruption easier ‚Äď and extremely vulnerable to public outrage on this exact issue.
Every modern president has voluntarily chosen to follow conflict-of-interest rules ‚Äď until now. Even though those rules exempt the president and vice president, past leaders of both parties have divested their financial interests or placed them in a blind trust.7 Trump merely intends to turn over day-to-day operations to his two sons while maintaining a financial stake in his business, which a bipartisan group of ethicists and good government groups has condemned.8
Sen. Warren‚Äôs new bill tackles Trump‚Äôs potential corruption on both fronts. It would close the loophole allowing the president, vice president and their families to avoid conflict-of-interest rules ‚Äď forcing Trump to disclose and fully divest his financial interests. It also emphasizes that the anti-bribery ‚Äúemoluments clause‚ÄĚ of the Constitution applies directly to situations like this, where the president‚Äôs wealth is dependent upon pleasing foreign dictators.9 This bill makes it absolutely clear that Trump‚Äôs business ties put America at risk, so we need to get behind it in a big way.
CREDO members know that Donald Trump‚Äôs rhetoric about ‚Äúdraining the swamp‚ÄĚ was just one more lie from a racist authoritarian desperate to gain power. As noted by Sen. Warren:
‚ÄúTrump is not ‚Äėdraining the swamp.‚Äô Nope, he‚Äôs inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he‚Äôs turning them loose on our government and our economy.‚ÄĚ10
But we need to make sure the gullible traditional corporate media outlets ‚Äď and any struggling Americans who wanted to believe that someone would end Wall Street‚Äôs stranglehold on our democracy ‚Äď realize the truth.
Let‚Äôs insist that Democrats resist Trump‚Äôs un-American agenda at every turn, put the spotlight on the way he is using government to enrich himself and his well-heeled friends and make sure Trump‚Äôs greed doesn't put our security and safety at risk.
Stand with Sen. Warren: Make Trump disclose and divest. Click below to sign the petition:
Thank you for speaking out,
Murshed Zaheed, Political Director
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- Kim Bellware and Cristian Farias, ‚Äú,‚ÄĚ The Huffington Post, Jan. 23, 2017.
- Office of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, ‚Äú,‚ÄĚ Dec. 15, 2016.
- Ben Brody and Caleb Melby, "," Bloomberg, Jan. 11, 2017.
- Office of Sen. Warren, ‚Äú.‚ÄĚ
- Steve Eder and Eric Lipton, "," The New York Times, Jan. 13, 2017.
- Jennifer Rubin, ‚Äú,‚ÄĚ The Washington Post, Dec. 11, 2016.
- Office of Sen. Warren, ‚Äú.‚ÄĚ
- Sen. Warren, ‚Äú,‚ÄĚ Nov. 17, 2016.