A reminder that underneath all the questions about Russia and tax returns and white nationalists and take-your-pick, the heart of the Trump-Pence administration remains a big ol’ grift.
Dozens of House and Senate Democrats plan to sue President Donald Trump in the coming weeks, claiming he is breaking the law by refusing to relinquish ownership of his sprawling real-estate empire while it continues to profit from business with foreign governments.
The lawsuit follows months of threats from Democratic lawmakers that Trump, by refusing to sell off his companies or place them in a blind trust, is in ongoing violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause — which prohibits the president from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments — and might face consequences.
Whether or not anything comes of it in the Republican-controlled Congress—hint: they don’t give a damn—the fact remains that Donald Trump is not allowed to accept cash from foreign governments by the U.S. Constitution itself and yet he’s doing it anyway. He attempted to dodge this inherent lawbreaking by claiming his business would be tracking those payments and donating them away again; as soon as anyone bothered to check up on that, however, the company said that no, they were not in fact doing that because it would be a horrible bother. So he is violating the Constitution, and in the absence of any single individual Republican lawmaker finding some integrity squirreled away in a closet the rest of America is reduced to filing suit against the sitting president in an attempt to compel him to stop.
This would be a different lawsuit from the one that has already been filed by several businesses who say they’re being hurt by competing Trump companies’ grifts. As for the question of legal standing:
“Members of Congress we say have standing because the emoluments clause says without the permission of Congress, you can’t accept any gift, etc., etc., from a foreign state,” Nadler said. “We are injured by being denied our right to vote on this, that’s our standing.”
Again, there’s no legitimate reason for Republicans to be turning a blind eye to these grifts. They’re doing that purely because they consider the party agenda they want Trump to sign to be more important than whether he’s broken any laws. Since we’re in the middle of living it, it’s difficult to wrap the national psyche around just how deplorable a notion that is. When this is all finally over, though, there are going to be a lot of new names added to the history books—and what the books have to say about each of them won’t be kind.