Former Obama White House ethics lawyer Norm Eisen is warning that Donald Trump will be in violation of the Constitution on day one of his administration if his does not divest himself of his business interests.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 11, 2016
EISEN, FORMER OBAMA CHIEF ETHICS LAWYER: Donald Trust — Trump must divest, George, because of his web of domestic and international business relationships that create a conflict of interest for him.
He’s moved to admit that there is a conflict of interest now and he needs to do something.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even though the law does not — says the president does not come under the conflict of interest laws?
EISEN: George, “The Constitution” has something called The Emoluments Clause. That’s just a fancy, 18th century word for no foreign government payments. And Donald Trump is collecting foreign government payments and other benefits throughout his business.
It is a direct violation of “The Constitution” and unless he divests, not just operations, he must divest from all business interests or he will be in violation of “The Constitution” from day one.
Eisen is not alone in this belief. A bipartisan group of ethics lawyers has urged the president-elect to be as ethical as Bill Clinton was in divesting his business interests when assuming office. The Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote that Trump should liquidate his business interests.
There is also the matter of the Constitution. Article 1 Sec. 9 Clause 8 states, “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
If Trump keeps his fingers in his business interests, his presidency will be in violation of the Constitution the moment that he assumes office. Trump’s business conflicts could be grounds for impeachment, but his refusal to follow basic ethical practices is a real and significant threat to the Constitution.
Donald Trump won’t only be assuming the presidency, but his choices represent a threat to the world’s shining light of democracy.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association