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Sunday, October 22, 2017

Trump's ethics critics get their day in court

Julia Horowitz 
Originally published October 17, 2017

Ethics experts have been pressing President Trump in the media for months. On Wednesday, they'll finally get their day in court.

At the center of a federal lawsuit in New York is the U.S. Constitution's Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bars the president from accepting gifts from foreign governments without permission from Congress.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a watchdog group, will lay out its case before Judge George Daniels. Lawyers for the Justice Department have asked the judge to dismiss the case.

The obscure provision of the Constitution is an issue because Trump refused to sell his business holdings before the inauguration. Instead, he placed his assets in a trust and handed the reins of the Trump Organization to his two oldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric.

The terms of the trust make it so Trump can technically withdraw cash payments from his businesses any time he wants. He can also dissolve the trust when he leaves office -- so if his businesses do well, he'll ultimately profit.

CREW claims that because government leaders and entities frequent his hotels, clubs and restaurants, Trump is in breach of the Emoluments Clause. The fear is that international officials will try to curry favor with Trump by patronizing his properties.

The article is here.