With four weeks to go before Donald Trump is inaugurated as President of the United States, many on the left have moved on to Plan D to stop him from getting into the White House.
He's not president for four and a half weeks. Next idea?
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) December 20, 2016
They started with extended protests that didn’t really have an effect on the results but made them feel better while they collected their thoughts. Then, they tried discrediting the election results over Russian hacking with the hope that if they could make the narrative stick, someone would step in and call for a redo or something. Stage three was for them to call in the
clowns celebrities in an attempt to coax electors and bring Trump below the necessary 270 electoral votes. Now that this officially imploded yesterday, we’re already seeing the next and hopefully final stage of their attack: impeachment.
It’s not that this route is new for the Democrats; there has been buzz about it ever since Trump started sidestepping the question of his involvement with his various business interests and in turn their involvement with foreign interests. Much has been written about the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that prevents officials from accepting any form of compensation or favors from foreign entities without permission from Congress.
Since the electoral college made Trump’s victory official, this old topic is being immediately revived. We’re going to see more headlines that mention impeachment, such as this attempt at Constitutional commentary by Vanity Fair:
Most presidents don’t get to say, “Hey, we’re going to address this potentially unconstitutional conflict in a press conference on December 15,” as Trump did on Twitter, and then cancel that press conference. His advisers noted that pulling together a Cabinet has taken up more time than anticipated, so Trump needed a few more weeks to figure it all out. Thoughtfulness and not rushing through vital decisions is a good thing, of course. Avoiding a tough call for a few weeks, potentially after he is already in office, is a disaster for the U.S. democratic system and for the American people, who deserve to know if their president is going to use his office to pressure diplomats to frequent his hotels or change ethics laws to suit his whims.
The article is a standard liberal commentary that uses emotions more than facts. The sad part is that there are actual issues with his business dealings that should concern people on both sides of the political aisle, but thus far the left has failed to make a valid case. The right hasn’t even attempted to address it, Newt Gingrich notwithstanding.
NY Mag took a stab at it in pretty much the same manner as Vanity Fair. They took their commentary up (down?) a notch by misinterpreting the clause altogether in reference to a paper published by Brookings Institute:
In short, the Emoluments Clause covers just about any situation in which a public official profits in any way from a foreign state or such a state’s “agents and instrumentalities.” This broadness is by design: The authors argue that the entire point of the Emoluments Clause is for it to be read broadly (contra Tillman’s interpretation). The framers didn’t want there to be situations where the public or Congress would have to decide, on a case-by-case basis, whether a given instance in which the president or another powerful official profiting from a foreign entity was, in fact, bribery or favor-currying. That’s no way to run a government: As long as such questions exist, they corrode the system and sap public confidence in government.
That’s simply not true. The framers absolutely wanted it decided by Congress on a case-by-case basis. The clause was broad to prevent it from happening, knowing that every gift received would put a politician in jeopardy of impeachment. It acts as a wide shield. Anything that attempts to break through that shield must be scrutinized by Congress. That’s the fail-safe.
There are three choices. Trump can completely divest himself. Congress can give him permission to not divest himself. Congress can consider impeachment. Option three isn’t going to happen. Option two would look corrupt and jeopardize control of both chambers of Congress in 2018 and 2020. It would seem that the best way to move forward is for Trump to completely separate himself from his business operations. It’s not just to avoid complications. Doing so would help ease the minds of those of us who want to see him completely focus on being President.