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Trump v MD & DC AGs - Emoluments Sept update

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Posted on September 09 2018

Previous discussion surrounding the unusual GSA appointment, whereby the Presidential Transition informed the GSA that (then) president-elect Trump’s desire to name a GSA head within hours of his January 20, 2017 Inauguration, found here.

March 2018 Attorney General (AG) of Maryland (MD) and District of Columbia (DC) files a complaint citing Trump has/had violated the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments in our Constitution. Irrespective of the merits of the MD & DC AG’s Complaint this one truth: Donald Trump never sought nor received approval from Congress, entry found here.

Summons officially served, found here.

MD & DC AG second amended complaint found here.

 

The following twitter thread will bring you up to speed for today’s discussion and update, make sure to read The Whole twitter thread and corresponding tweets, and yes of course I linked to Open Source documents.

 

 

No one is above the law...

...including 🇷🇺Trump 🇷🇺

Like many Americans, sometimes I really wonder; can our democracy really withstand the unrelenting assault of common decency and strict adherence to our Nation’s laws? America tends to be the “shining city on the hill” yet in the age of Trump, one has to think is our “light” dimmed by a president and his administration that not only acts but states they are “above our laws and constitution”. Yes, I know that’s a provocative position. The unfortunate reality is Court Filing after Court Filing that I read there’s one resounding and crystal clear message:

 

Donald J Trump believes he is above our laws and our Constitution.

One thing to keep in mind as we continue our discussion of Donald Trump’s and Emoluments is during his January 11, 2017 Press Conference, Trump did what any ZZZ list reality “TV Star” did, hold a “bigly” presser and then use your attorney as a human shield. Sorry Donald, I think it’s safe to assume a majority of Americans know you are a pathological liar and you lie about your lies.

🇷🇺January 11th Presser🇷🇺

 

I’m NOT setting up a blind trust, at all 

 

For my docket and document wonks: 

 

MD DC AG v Donald J Trump Case 8:17-cv-01596-PJM

Document No: 129ANSWER to 95 Amended Complaint by the President in his official capacity by Donald J. Trump.

Which was filed by our Department of Justice (DOJ) in the late evening of September 5, 2018. And yes,  I am aware Trump is being sued in his “official” and “personal” capacity. Yet every time I read one of Trump’s filings it actually makes me pretty upset that OUR tax dollars are being wasted on answering various complaints.

 If you take a look at the docket for this particular complaint you will see that a vast majority of the responses come from our DOJ. This is actually affirmed by the docket itself, specifically by document no: 109, “NOTICE of Appearance by William S. Consovoy on behalf of Donald J. Trump in his individual capacity” which was filed on April 24, 2018. Again it is not lost on me that Trump is in fact abusing the power of his office. I triple checked the docket for this Emoluments case, Trump’s Attorney representing him in is “individual capacity” had only file two motions whereas the DOJ has filed dozens of motions on behalf of Trump...

Moving along to Document No 129, I took the liberty of highlighting and pulling out the Trump responses that, well should be scrutinized. Keep in mind that this 62 page filing was submitted by the DOJ (again NOT Trump’s Private Attorney).

On page 2, Trump’s response:

 

Plaintiffs seek to bring this action against the President in both his official and individual capacities. The remainder of this paragraph consists of legal conclusions and legal arguments, to which no response is required, but to the extent a response may be deemed required, the allegations are denied, except to state that the Defendant lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of the factual basis for the allegations... (emphasis added)

 

The Plaintiffs go on to explain why the Framers of the Constitution and our Government included the Emoluments Clauses, this was to ensure that our President was “free” from any undo influence both foreign and domestic. Again none of us know if Donald Trump has any conflicts because he refuses to release his taxes. And the fact the OUR DOJ appears to have blurred the line, effectively jumping over the rubicon of acting as Trump’s very own personal laws firm...it boggles the mind and should “shock the moral consciousness” this is NOT how the DOJ should be used. They should not be arguing on behalf of the president in this Emoluments Complaint.  For example what  is our DOJ doing arguing about Trump’s DC hotel? 

Moreover, except with respect to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., this paragraph consists of allegations concerning claims that were dismissed by the Court’s March 28, 2018 Order, and accordingly, no response to those allegations is required. (emphasis added)

 

But on page 8, thus far is the most flagrant and inappropriate filing/position by the DOJ...this is why the lack of filing by Trump’s private/outside counsel is deeply problematic. For the life of me, I do not understand why the Mainstream Media hasn’t read or reported on this particular filing. In its most naked form this is what is wrong with the Trump presidency and his administration. The mere fact that Congress has (repeatedly) abdicated it’s Constitutional Authority to check and balance the “executive” is in a word: infuriating. This is literally what our DOJ wrote on behalf of Donald Trump, it’s such a gross abuse of power/office:

 

Except with respect to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the allegations in the second and third sentences of Paragraph 13 concern claims dismissed by the Court’s March 28, 2018 Order. Accordingly, no response to those allegations is required. Otherwise, the second and third sentences of Paragraph 13 consist of legal conclusions and legal arguments, to which no response is required, but to the extent a response may be deemed required, are denied, except to state that the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust indirectly owns all of the President’s financial interest in the Hotel, that the trustees (Donald J. Trump, Jr. and Allen Weisselberg), in consultation with the Chairman of the Advisory Board of that Trust (Eric. F. Trump), control the Trust assets and their distribution, and that the President is the beneficiary of the Trust. Defendant lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about he truth of the third sentence of Paragraph 13 concerning what “foreign diplomats and other public officials have made clear...truth of the third sentence of Paragraph 13 concerning what “foreign diplomats and other public officials have made clear.”


In this 62 page filing I found a dozen plus instance where our DOJ “officially” speak about Donald Trump’s Trust and his family members.

The main point I have, it’s actually two fold; 1) at no time did Trump seek the authorization from Congress, as required by our Constitution; and 2) “elected” (yes I’m using that term loosely as it relates to Trump) should be held to a much higher ethical standard. But using our Country’s Department of Justice to be Trump’s “new” fixer is just a gross abuse of power and disgustingly unethical. Not to belabor the point, yes this complaint is for Trump in his Official and “individual” capacity yet his “private” outside Attorney has literally filed two motions in this case, the other dozens of motions have been filed by DOJ attorneys paid with our tax dollars.

An “irrevocable trust” is NOT a blind trust. Previously we have required presidents, members of Congres etc to sell their peanut farm, mandated that they fully divest from business interest or at the very minimum establish an actual blind trust. Why are we allowing Donald Trump the “right” (which he has NOT earned) to thumb his nose at all ethical requirements we demanded of our elected leaders?

No really why has Congres allowed this overt violation of our Constitution and laws to continue unimpeded? For the record irrevocable trust are typically used in real estate and estate planning, the problem with Trump’s Trust is who’s on the Board of Directors, he can withdrawal cash at anytime and there’s zero requirement for him to disclose such disbursements, at all. The fact Trump has used this creation of a trust to skirt the Terms and Conditions of his 60 year GSA lease is absolutely mind boggling. You can read the March 2017 GSA letter here, I also recommend you read this ProPublica article, they did an exceedingly deep dive into Trump’s GSA and his irrevocable trust, found here.

 

 

Conversely deep in the Sebate Archives I managed to track down this summary of (appointment) of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller. After the Watergate scandal, rightfully so our Congress seemed renascent to restore the public trust so freely given to our elected leaders. Nelson Rockefeller came from a family of immense wealth and arguably complex financial ties. During the four month process Rockefeller agreee to provide Congress with nearly four decades of his finances, loans and tax returns.

What is often over looked is nomination of Nelson Rockefeller was due to the invocation of the twenty fifth Amendment. In our Country’s history the nomination of Vice President was the first time the 25thAmendment was used.  thus requiring both chamber of Congress to “vote” on President Ford’s nomination of Rockefeller as his Vice President.

 

Moreover the Senate report (linked above) paints a very clear picture of what our Country was facing post Watergate. To that end Nelson D Rockefeller clearly understood the gravity and enormity of what our Country was facing after Nixon resigned:

”It was entirely a question of there being a Constitutional crisis and a crisis of confidence on the part of the American people," Rockefeller replied.

"I felt there was a duty incumbent on any American who could do anything that would contribute to a restoration of confidence in the democratic process and in the integrity of government." Rockefeller also reasoned that, while Ford as a former member of Congress understood the "Congressional-legislative side" of the issues, he as governor had mastered the "Executive-administrative side," and that together they could make an effective team. Although fully aware of the limitations of his office, and recognizing that he was "just not built for standby equipment," Rockefeller had accepted because Ford promised to make him a "partner" in his presidency.

 

As previously mentioned during these tense four months, Rockefeller also provided Congress with nearly twenty years of political gifts, along with a vast of personal loans and various charitable contributions, spanning from 1957 to 1974.

Rockefeller’s confirmation was nearly scuttled by his “poltical gifts”. As a panacea to alay the fears of both chambers  Congees, Rockefeller ultimately agreed to place all of his stocks in a blind trust and essentially opened his books. You can view the letter and financial records that Nelson Rockefeller sent to both President Ford and to Congress, during his confirmation process, the records are available by our National Archives and by the Gerald Ford Presidential Library, Link found here.

 

And my closing thoughts on the Trump-Train:

Why does Donald Trump think he is above our laws and constitution? More broadly why has the current Congress bent over backwards to enable Trump’s lawlessness and essentially given Trump a free pass to grossly enrich himself at the peril of Government transparency and ethics. The disappointment is post Watergate, by all appearances, history proves that we had multiple profiles in courage. Where men and women in Congress put our Country ahead of their party. And demanded better from the President of the United States, by forcing Nixon to resign. One can only conclude that the Trump brand of GOP means obsequiousness of the likes that we’ve never seen before. Ultimately one must ask: at what cost?

-Spicy Out

 

 

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