Monday, January 23, 2017

Constitutional Scholars To File A Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Over Constitutional Violations

Today lawyers for the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) will file a lawsuit to challenge what they call Donald Trump’s ongoing violation of an anti-corruption provision in the Constitution called the Emoluments Clause.

The team, which includes two leading experts on presidential ethics and two of the most prominent constitutional scholars in the nation, will accuse Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Although Trump announced at a press conference prior to his inauguration that he would take some steps to insulate himself from his company the legal dream team claim he hasn't done nearly enough. Norm Eisen, former chief ethics counsel to President Obama and Richard Painter, who held the same job under President George W. Bush, released a statement saying that these steps are wholly insufficient...

"Mr. Trump did not make a clean break with his business ownership interests as his predecessors for four decades have done; did not establish a blind trust or the equivalent as bipartisan experts and OGE called for; entrusted trust responsibility in his family and a current employee, rather than in an independent trustee; did not screen all “emoluments …of any kind whatever,” as required by the constitution, but only some revenues, and only from his hotels; and offered an inadequate and scantily-detailed ethics wall."

Eisen and Painter, who are both counsels on the lawsuit, will be joined by Laurence H. Tribe, a Harvard constitutional scholar, Erwin Chemerinsky, the dean of the law school at the University of California, Irvine, Mr. Deepak Gupta, a Supreme Court litigator and Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor who has been studying and writing about the Emoluments Clause for nearly a decade.

Many believe that the gold at the end of the rainbow for the legal team is to obtain a copy of Trump’s federal tax returns, which they are claiming is needed to properly assess what income or other payments or loans he is receiveing from foreign governments.

This case is just the beginning as Trump is facing a wave of litigation that is expected to be filed by several liberal advocacy groups.


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