The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

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The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:37 am

Republicans were ready to start the impeachment hearings on day one against Hillary Clinton, he said. The other side needs to be ready to roll right now to do whatever needs to be done
Michael Moore

ELECTION 2016
Trump's Big Win Was Predicted by This Professor: Now Hear His Shocking New Omen
According to election predictor Allan Lichtman, Trump will soon be impeached.

By Alexandra Rosenmann / AlterNet November 11, 2016


Very few pollsters predicted Donald Trump even clinching the nomination and it took months for some to accept his run as anything other than a publicity stunt. Still, when he did win the nomination, Trump's chances of becoming president never hovered above 30% according to Nate Silver, until approximately 8:30pm on election night.

However, Washington, D.C.-based professor Allan Lichtman explained why Trump would win in September 2016.

"Based on the 13 keys, it would predict a Donald Trump victory," he told the Washington Post.

Lichtman's system of "keys" is detailed in his new book, Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016. In short, it was the political climate surrounding President Obama's second term that laid fertile ground for an upset from the Republican side.

While 90% of Republicans voted for Trump, Lichtman insisted that this marriage between establishment Republicans and Donald Trump is doomed.

“I'm going to make another prediction,” Lichtman said. “This one is not based on a system; it's just my gut. They don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable."

Lichtman then explained what he believes the House is planning.

"They'd love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

And he's not the only one making this prediction.
http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/t ... g-new-omen



The View From Trump Tower

David Brooks
NOV. 11, 2016


Protesters marching to Trump Tower in Manhattan the night after the election. Credit Yana Paskova for The New York Times
If your social circles are like mine, you spent Tuesday night swapping miserable texts. Not all, but many of my friends and family members were outraged, stunned, disgusted and devastated. This is victory for white supremacy, people wrote, for misogyny, nativism and authoritarianism. Fascism is descending.

I was on PBS trying to make sense of what was happening while trying to text various people off the ledge. At one point I was opining about the results while a disbelieving text flashed across my phone: “Change It! Change It! CHAAAANGE IT!”

Those emotional reactions were a fitting first-night response to the greatest political shock of our lifetimes. Still, this is probably not the best mentality for the coming era.

In the first place, emotions like disgust don’t do justice to the complexity of Donald Trump’s supporters. The disgusted posture risks turning politics into a Manichaean civil war between the alleged children of light and the alleged children of darkness — between us enlightened, college-educated tolerant people and the supposed primitive horde driven by dark fears and prejudices. That crude and ignorant condescension is what feeds the Trump phenomenon in the first place.

Second, we simply don’t yet know how much racism or misogyny motivated Trump voters. It is true that those voters are willing to tolerate a lot more bigotry in their candidate than I’d be willing to tolerate. But if you were stuck in a jobless town, watching your friends OD on opiates, scrambling every month to pay the electric bill, and then along came a guy who seemed able to fix your problems and hear your voice, maybe you would stomach some ugliness, too.

Third, outrage and disgust impede learning. This century is still being formed and none of us understand it yet. The century really began on 9/11, and so far it has been marked by strong reactions against globalism and cosmopolitanism — by terrorism, tribalism and authoritarianism.

Populism of the Trump/Le Pen/Brexit variety has always been a warning sign, a warning sign that there is some deeper dysfunction in our economic, social and cultural systems. If you want to take that warning sign and dismiss it as simple bigotry, you’re never going to pause to understand what’s going on and you will never know how to constructively respond.

Finally, it seems important to be humbled and taught by this horrific election result. Trump’s main problem in governing is not going to be some fascistic ideology; his main problem is going to be his own attention span, ignorance and incompetence. If he’s left to bloviate while others are left to run the country and push through infrastructure plans, maybe things won’t be disastrous.

The job for the rest of us is to rebind the fabric of society, community by community, and to construct a political movement for the post-Trump era. I suspect the coming political movements will be identified on two axes: open and closed and individual and social.

Those who believe in open trade, relatively open immigration, an active foreign policy and racial integration. Those who believe in closed believe in protective trade, closed borders, a withdrawn foreign policy and ethnic separatism.

Those who favor individual believe in individual initiative, designing programs to incentivize enterprise and removing regulatory barriers. Those who believe in social believe that social mobility happens within rich communities — that people can undertake daring adventures when they have a secure social and emotional base.

Donald Trump is probably going to make the G.O.P. the party of individual/closed. He’s going to start with the traditional Republican agenda of getting government out of the way, and he’s going to add walls, protectionism and xenophobia. That will leave people isolated in the face of the challenges of the information age economy, and it will close off the dynamism and diversity that always marked this crossroads of the nation.

The Democrats are probably going to be the party of social/closed. The coming Sanders-Warren party will advocate proposals that help communities with early education programs and the like, but that party will close off trade, withdraw from the world, close off integration with hyper-race-conscious categories and close off debate with political correctness.

Which is why I’ve been thinking we need a third party that is social/open. This compassionate globalist party would support the free trade and skilled immigration that fuel growth. But it would also flood the zone for those challenged in the high-skill global economy — offering programs to rebuild community, foster economic security and boost mobility. It would integrate the white working class and minority groups by emphasizing that we are all part of a single American idea.

Trump’s bigotry, dishonesty and promise-breaking will have to be denounced. We can’t go morally numb. But he needs to be replaced with a program that addresses the problems that fueled his ascent.

After all, the guy will probably resign or be impeached within a year. The future is closer than you think.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/opini ... tower.html




U RESEARCHER: TRUMP UNIVERSITY LAWSUITS PRESENT POTENTIAL IMPEACHMENT CASE
NEW ANALYSIS UNVEILED TODAY BY UNIVERSITY OF UTAH S.J. QUINNEY COLLEGE OF LAW PROFESSOR CHRISTOPHER L. PETERSON OUTLINES WHY THERE IS A LEGALLY SUFFICIENT CASE TO IMPEACH DONALD TRUMP UNDER THE U.S. CONSTITUTION ON CHARGES RELATED TO FRAUD AND RACKETEERING FOR PRIOR CONDUCT IF HE IS ELECTED PRESIDENT.

Sep 20, 2016

As the presidential race continues to heat up, a new legal analysis released today by University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law professor Christopher L. Peterson outlines why there is a legally sufficient case to impeach Republican nominee Donald Trump under the U.S. Constitution on charges related to fraud and racketeering for prior conduct if he is elected in November.

In an analysis titled “Trump University and Presidential Impeachment,” Peterson explores Trump’s actions as the leader of Trump University, a for-profit business founded in 2005 where students spent upwards of $30,000 to learn real estate development skills. Trump University advertised curriculum and instructors chosen by Trump, promising students a high-caliber and selective experience. In fact, according to Peterson, Trump University was an unaccredited and unlicensed series of get-rich-quick seminars provided by traveling salesmen. The school closed in 2010 and lawsuits—including one filed by the state of New York alleging Trump tricked students out of $40 million—are ongoing. (Two class action cases in California are also pending). Peterson asserts that Trump’s pending consumer protection lawsuits for fraud and racketeering will cast a shadow over his presidency if Trump wins the election and possibly be legally permissible grounds for impeachment should he be elected to the White House.

Peterson explains that under the U.S. Constitution, presidents can be impeached for bribery, treason or other high crimes and misdemeanors. He argues that fraud and racketeering—both of which are alleged as civil claims against Trump in the pending lawsuits—may qualify as impeachable high crimes or misdemeanors under the U.S. Constitution.

“In the United States, it is illegal for businesses to use false statements to convince consumers to purchase their services,” explains Peterson. “The evidence indicates that Trump University used a systemic pattern of fraudulent representations to trick thousands of families into investing in a program that can be argued was a sham.”

“Fraud and racketeering are serious crimes that legally rise to the level of impeachable acts,” Peterson adds.

Among points raised in Peterson’s analysis:

Fraud and racketeering are serious crimes. Both fraud and racketeering are considered felonies under state and federal law. First-degree fraud is punishable by up to four years in prison in Trump’s home state of New York. Racketeering is punishable by up to 20 years in prison under federal law.
Civil cases can legally inform Congress on whether impeachment is justified. The U.S. Constitution has never required criminal conviction prior to impeachment proceedings.
Impeachment for pre-incumbency conduct is legally permissible under the U.S. Constitution. Nothing in the Constitution’s text requires impeachable conduct to have occurred while the president is in office. The framers rejected alternative formulations of impeachable offenses that included limitations to incumbent activity.
Peterson’s analysis is among the first from a legal scholar offering an objective and professional analysis of these issues. Unlike other political issues currently subject to debate, the legal claims of fraud and racketeering in the Trump University cases have survived early judicial scrutiny and are likely to proceed to trial. Peterson’s research focuses on the Trump University cases—and not on the background of other presidential candidates—because the legal issues facing Trump align with his academic expertise.

A recognized authority on consumer protection cases, Peterson has frequently testified in Congressional hearings and has presented his research to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board of Governors and at the White House in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Peterson’s books include the Thompson/West casebook Consumer Law: Cases and Materials and Taming the Sharks: Towards a Cure for the High Cost Credit Market which won the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers’ outstanding book of the year prize. He is a consumer fellow of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee. He is a recipient of the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators’ Consumer Advocate of the Year award and the Department of Defense’s Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence—both bestowed in recognition of his role in promoting an Act of Congress and subsequently implementing regulations that protect military service members from predatory lending practices.

Peterson is currently the John J. Flynn Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law where he teaches contracts, commercial law and consumer protection courses. From 2012 to 2016, he served as a special advisor in the Office of the Director at the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in the Office of Legal Policy for Personnel and Readiness in the United States Department of Defense and as Senior Counsel for Enforcement Policy and Strategy in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Enforcement.

He is available for media interviews about his latest research on Trump. Peterson’s research is available here.

http://unews.utah.edu/university-of-uta ... ald-trump/


Trump University and Presidential Impeachment


Christopher Lewis Peterson
University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

September 20, 2016


Abstract:
In the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign Donald J. Trump faces three lawsuits accusing him of fraud and racketeering. These ongoing cases focus on a series of wealth seminars called “Trump University” which collected over $40 million from consumers seeking to learn Trump’s real estate investing strategies. Although these consumer protection cases are civil proceedings, the underlying legal elements in several counts that plaintiffs seek to prove run parallel to the legal elements of serious crimes under both state and federal law. This essay provides a legal analysis of whether Trump’s alleged behavior would, if proven, rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the presidential impeachment clause of the United States Constitution. This essay begins with a summary of the evidence assembled in the three pending Trump University civil lawsuits. Next, it describes the legal claims involved in each matter. Then, this essay summarizes the applicable law of presidential impeachment under the United States Constitution and analyzes whether Trump’s actions in connection with Trump University are impeachable offenses. Finally, I offer concluding thoughts, considering in particular the policy implications of a major presidential campaign with simultaneously pending legal complaints of fraud and racketeering.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm ... id=2841306.



Michael Moore Wants to Lead an Anti-Donald Trump Resistance 'That Will Dwarf Occupy Wall Street'
Trump, he argued, "doesn't have any ideology; the only thing he believes in is Donald Trump."
By Brendan Gauthier / Salon November 12, 2016

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore suggested the left form a resistance movement against President-elect Donald Trump.

“That doesn’t make me feel good, the fact that I was right. I never wanted to be more wrong,” Moore told the Times. “I just don’t live in the bubble of New York and L.A. and I was worried with what I was witnessing in the Midwest, the Rust Belt, what I call the ‘Brexit’ states.”

“I’m going to be one of the people leading the opposition to him, that’s going to stop him. It will be a mass movement of millions that will dwarf Occupy Wall Street,” he added. “I don’t believe anyone in the media who says we’re going to have four years of Trump. This is a man who doesn’t have any ideology; the only thing he believes in is Donald Trump. And that’s usually a one-way ticket out of office.”

Moore said that as a consequence of Trump’s victory, “The DNC has to resign. They all have to resign.”

“We’re not going to fix the Democratic Party — we’re going to take it over,” he warned. “The Democratic Party doesn’t seem to get it. Working people that are both African American and white — don’t make it a racial thing — have suffered at the hands of both Republicans and Democrats.”

Describing his involvement with the #NotMyPresident protests going on around country, Moore told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday that Trump’s “presidency has to be opposed right now.”

“Republicans were ready to start the impeachment hearings on day one against Hillary Clinton,” he said. “The other side needs to be ready to roll right now to do whatever needs to be done.”
http://www.alternet.org/activism/michae ... all-street


Michael Moore Predicts Donald Trump Won’t Last The Full 4 Years
“He will break laws because he’s only thinking about what’s best for him.”
11/11/2016 03:50 pm ET

Chris D’Angelo
Associate Editor, HuffPost Hawaii

Trump will be impeached or resign, Moore argues.
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore, who in July correctly predicted Donald Trump would win the White House, now says the president-elect’s first term will end in either his resignation or impeachment.

“Here’s what’s going to happen, this is why we’re not going to have to suffer through four years of Donald J. Trump, because he has no ideology except the ideology of Donald J. Trump,” Moore said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And when you have a narcissist like that, who’s so narcissistic where it’s all about him, he will, maybe unintentionally, break laws. He will break laws because he’s only thinking about what’s best for him.”

When host Mika Brzezinski asked Moore if he were now wishing ill on Trump, Moore replied, “He is ill.”

“He is racist,” Moore said. “He is a misogynist. He is an authoritarian.”


Like Moore, political historian Allan Lichtman predicted Trump would be president. But he also forecast that the next president would be impeached.

“This one is not based on a system; it’s just my gut,” Lichtman told The Washington Post in September. “[Republicans] don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have [Vice President-elect Mike] Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

Moore participated in a massive anti-Trump protest in Manhattan on Wednesday and has urged relentless resistance.

“We are going to resist, we are going to oppose,” he told MSNBC. “This is going to continue, tonight and the next night and the next night. And all he has to do is start nominating Rudy Giuliani as attorney general, and things like that ― or his Supreme Court. This is going to be a massive resistance. Women are calling for a million woman march on the Inauguration Day, and there is going to be the largest demonstration ever on Inauguration Day.”

Earlier this week in New York, Moore called for demonstrations to continue until Trump is out of office.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mic ... b63b0c6dee
Orb-struction of Justice
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Nov 13, 2016 11:05 am



one way or another


you won't see me but I will see you


I'll walk down the mall
Stand over by the wall
Where I can see it all
Find out who ya call
Lead you to the supermarket checkout
Some specials and rat food, get lost in the crowd



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m74w9x07DhU

Intelligence community is already feeling a sense of dread about Trump

The lobby of CIA headquarters in Langley, Va. (Larry Downing/Reuters)
By Greg Miller November 9
The election results were only hours old Wednesday when a sober team of intelligence analysts carrying black satchels and secure communications gear began preparing to give President-elect Donald Trump his first unfiltered look at the nation’s secrets.

The initial presentation — to be delivered as early as Thursday — is likely to be a read-through of the President’s Daily Brief, the same highly classified summary of security developments delivered every day to President Obama. After that, U.S. intelligence officials are expected to schedule a series of meetings to apprise Trump of covert CIA operations against terrorist groups, the intercepted communications of world leaders, and satellite photos of nuclear installations in North Korea.

The sessions are designed to bring a new president up to speed on what the nation’s spy agencies know and do. But with Trump, the meetings are likely to be tense encounters between wary intelligence professionals and a newly minted president-elect who has demonstrated abundant disdain for their work.

[75 retired senior diplomats sign letter opposing Trump for president]

A palpable sense of dread settled on the intelligence community Wednesday as Hillary Clinton, the candidate many expected to win, conceded the race to a GOP upstart who has dismissed U.S. spy agencies’ views on Russia and Syria, and even threatened to order the CIA to resume the use of interrogation methods condemned as torture.


How the world is reacting to results of the U.S. election
View Photos People around the globe watched as Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.
“It’s fear of the unknown,” said a senior U.S. national security official. “We don’t know what he’s really like under all the talk. . . . How will that play out over the next four years or even the next few months? I don’t know if there is going to be a tidal wave of departures of people who were going to stay around to help Hillary’s team but are now going to be, ‘I’m out of here.’ ”

“I’m half dreading, half holding my breath going to work today,” said the official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

Michael Hayden, the retired Air Force general and former CIA director who in 2008 briefed a highly skeptical President-elect Obama on the agency’s counterterrorism operations, said that intelligence officials are likely to approach their initial meetings with Trump with professionalism, but also consternation.

“I cannot remember another president-elect who has been so dismissive of intelligence received during a campaign or so suspicious of the quality and honesty of the intelligence he was about to receive,” Hayden said in a telephone interview Wednesday. The initial meetings with Trump in the coming weeks are likely to be professionally conducted, he said, but characterized by “a little caution, a little concern.”

[Former CIA chief: Trump is Russia’s useful fool]

Trump has already received at least two preliminary briefings, arranged during the campaign by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. But those were done out of tradition and courtesy, providing both candidates broad overviews of security issues while holding back secrets about drone strikes, eavesdropping capabilities and other covert programs.

Intelligence officials were deeply troubled early in the campaign when Trump declared that he might be inclined to instruct the CIA to resume operations to capture terrorism suspects and subject them to brutal interrogation measures, including waterboarding. That agency program was dismantled in 2009, and measures passed since then would make its resumption illegal.

We asked people around the world for their reaction to Trump's victory Play Video1:30
In Mexico, China, Russia and Israel we ask people what they think of the election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States. (Jason Aldag/The Washington Post)
Trump subsequently backed away from those comments, which were interpreted by some as empty saber-rattling.

“He could revive a program of secret prisons” overseas, said John Rizzo, former acting general counsel of the CIA, but would be likely to find it difficult to get any foreign country to agree to host one.

[Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty]

His other problem would be convincing the workforce at the CIA to carry out his wishes. “There would be such pushback,” said Rizzo, whose confirmation as general counsel was derailed because of his participation in crafting the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used on al-Qaeda suspects in the early 2000s. “Given what it cost the agency” in terms of reputation, “there would be extremely strong resistance,” he said.

More recently, U.S. intelligence officials have been disturbed by Trump’s positions on Russia — his statements encouraging Moscow to seek to steal Clinton’s emails and his refusal to accept the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Kremlin was behind a cyberespionage campaign targeting Clinton and the Democratic Party.

That finding was presented to Trump in one of his early intelligence briefings and then reinforced last month when Clapper’s office took the rare step of issuing a public statement declaring Russia complicit in the hacks.

[Trump praises Putin at national security forum]

Trump treated that determination as unfounded rumor. “I don’t know if they’re behind it, and I think it’s public relations, frankly,” Trump said last month.

Trump has vowed to obliterate terrorist groups including the Islamic State but has offered few specifics on how he would deploy the principal entities in that fight: the CIA and the military’s elite Joint Special Operations Command.

The Obama administration spent years developing guidelines for counterterrorism operations, requiring multiagency approval on most drone-strike targets and “near certainty” that no civilians would be harmed.

That “playbook” is spelled out in presidential orders that will remain in effect unless Trump specifically moves to scrap them, administration officials said. Trump could rescind the procedures or issue his own orders setting out revised rules governing the use of drones and commando teams. But officials said a decision to throw out the Obama playbook risks sparking backlash from career professionals at the Pentagon and the CIA who have been implementing the rules since they were put in place.

The absence of seasoned national security officials on Trump’s campaign staff has been a source of concern at the CIA, the Pentagon and other agencies. His most prominent adviser with intelligence-related credentials is retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was forced out of his job as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and dined with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin last year.

Speculation on where Flynn and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani might serve in a Trump administration added to the unease among national security officials Wednesday. “Is Giuliani going to be our attorney general?” one official asked.

Some officials drew comparisons to earlier eras — including the administration of Richard Nixon — that were characterized by White House hostility toward key departments and agencies, noting that the Justice Department, Pentagon and CIA survived.

What Trump has said about the CIA and the military has “put us in a difficult position, but the flip side is there is an institutional ability to survive,” said a second senior U.S. official. “Bureaucracies chug along and take lumps and have conflicts. If you ask about rank and file, for a long time there has been a sense that [presidents and administrations] come and go, but we’re still here. You’ve got to assume that the Foreign Service at State, generals at the Department of Defense have that belief. There’s an institutional stability built into the system that can withstand spasms.”

Dana Priest and Adam Entous contributed to this report.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/na ... story.html
Orb-struction of Justice
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Trump tweets while America roasts
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Nov 14, 2016 2:31 pm

Trump Facing Civil Suits, Maybe Criminal Charges and Impeachment
By JOHN F. BANZHAF on November 14, 2016 7:22 am in Politics

Trump – Self-Pardon Unlikely and Ineffective; Constitutional Crisis Possible

Almost lost amid speculation about a possible pardon of Hillary Clinton by President Barack Obama, or by Donald Trump after his inauguration, and a possible Trump pardon of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange (for his helpful leaks), is the suggestion that Trump might even consider pardoning himself to deal with a variety of current and looming legal threats.

Trump is already named in over 70 civil law suits, and his enemies might seek to burden him with many more; several prominent prognosticators are predicting that he is likely to be impeached; and at least one law professor has outlined possible criminal charges which might bedevil him in office, and even serve as a basis for impeachment. But it is still very unlikely that Trump would seek to pardon himself since any such pardon would offer little effective legal protection, and could entail considerable political risk.
While constitutional experts seem to agree that Trump could legally pardon himself for any and all crimes which he may have committed beforehand, that would afford him only very limited protection, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who helped pressure then-president Nixon to resign by using legal action to help have two special prosecutors appointed. Nixon later received a “full, free, and absolute pardon” “for all offenses against the United States,” without naming specific offenses, from Gerald Ford.

But a presidential pardon would shield Trump from criminal actions under only federal (but not state) law, and would not protect him in any way from impeachment, says Banzhaf.

Trump reportedly already faces more than 70 lawsuits, but all of them are civil legal actions which would not be affected by any federal pardons.

Some commentators have suggested that, based upon what is now known, he could conceivably face federal criminal charges for actions taken before assuming office including allegedly violating immigration laws, failing to properly pay workers, and for breaking tax laws, among others.

Indeed, legal experts at the University of Utah has unveiled a 23-page plan to bring criminal charges against Trump based upon what is already known about his involvement with Trump University.

They suggest that he could be criminally charged, and ultimately also impeached, for fraud and racketeering based upon already-available evidence of criminal conduct regarding his university.

In addition, many who strongly oppose him, including even some Republicans, might be tempted to seek out additional grounds and legal theories under which he might be criminally charged, if for no other reason than to embarrass him, and distract him from moving ahead in certain areas.

But the Justice Department and many constitutional scholars believe that criminal charges cannot be brought against a president while he is still in office, and that the only remedy for a president suspected of having committed a crime is impeachment.

It would also seem to be extraordinarily unlikely that a Justice Department under an Attorney General nominated by Trump, and who serves at the president’s pleasure and therefore can be dismissed if he displeases the president, would even consider bringing any such criminal charges.

However, as one contrary example, then-president Richard Nixon could have been faced with criminal charges by a special prosecutor, and criminal charges were in fact brought against then-vice-president Spiro Agnew, for whom the remedy of impeachment was also available.

Turning now to possible impeachment, Professor Allan Lichtman, who reportedly was one of the few prominent prognosticators to predict Trump’s victory, has also predicted that “Trump would eventually be impeached by a Republican Congress that would prefer a President Mike Pence – someone whom establishment Republicans know and trust. . . . I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

Likewise, prominent columnist David Brooks has predicted that “the guy [Trump] will probably resign or be impeached within a year.” Also, the Inquisitr reports that: “efforts to impeach Donald Trump are already underway, with a number of legal experts and angry voters looking for potential ways to unseat the deeply unpopular Republican as soon as he is sworn in as president.”

But, although the issue is far from clear, there is precedent that a sitting president can be impeached – and removed from office by impeachment – only for wrongdoing committed while in office.

In 1873, while considering the impeachment of Vice President Schuyler Colfax, the House Judiciary Committee concluded that impeachment “should only be applied to high crimes and misdemeanors committed while in office and which alone affect the officer in discharge of his duties as such, whatever may have been their effect upon him as a man, for impeachment touches the office only and qualifications for the office, and not the man himself.” If this precedent still controls and is followed, Trump could not be impeached, and possibly removed from office, for anything he may have done in the past.

On the other hand, and much more recently, federal Judge Thomas Porteous was removed from the bench for – among other things – attempting to conceal, during his confirmation process, various prior wrongful acts. So it could be argued that this more modern precedent would permit President Trump to be impeached, and ultimately removed from office, for the crimes he has allegedly already committed.

This just might create a constitutional crisis. If the House votes to impeach Trump for his alleged prior crimes, and the Senate upholds the impeachment and demands that he step down, Trump can argue that the process is invalid under the 1873 precedent, and for other constitutional reasons.

In such a situation, it is not at all clear that, because of concerns about legal standing and other legal problems, federal courts, including even the U.S. Supreme Court, could consider – much less rule – on the situation, nor that a combative President Trump would yield office even in the face of any such ruling.

So, while a self pardon would not shield Trump from actual impeachment proceedings, nor from civil legal actions or state criminal proceedings, it might help protect him from prosecutions for any federal crimes his enemies might claim he has already committed, says Banzhaf.
http://www.valuewalk.com/2016/11/trump-impeach/
Orb-struction of Justice
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Trump tweets while America roasts
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:38 pm

Trump Testimony in the Trump University Case: Live or Tape?
POSTED AT 5:20 PM BY DAVID HALPERIN
trump
Image
Federal trial judge Gonzalo Curiel has set November 28 as the trial date for a lawsuit in which former students allege they were defrauded by Trump University. But over the weekend, lawyers for Trump filed papers asking Curiel to delay the trial, to be held in San Diego, until after January 20, when Donald Trump, the former president of Trump University, is set be inaugurated as President of the United States.

Trump’s lawyers, alleging that Trump is busy with the transition, also requested that Trump be permitted to testify through a videotaped deposition conducted at a secret location, rather than having to appear live in the courtroom.

As an advocate for students, that latter request suits me fine.

Former Trump University students are suing Trump in two separate class action lawsuits, alleging that Trump University, an unaccredited real estate training program operating in California, Florida, and New York, promised students they would be taught by instructors “hand-picked” by Trump, when in fact Trump did not select the teachers. The suit also contends that Trump should not have called his program a “university” because the New York State Education Department had warned Trump it was illegal to do so. Trump denies doing anything wrong.

In a separate case in New York, that state’s attorney general is suing Trump University, alleging brazen fraud, as recounted by the New York Court of Appeals:

The Attorney General averred that although Trump University speakers represented that the three-day seminar would teach students all they needed to know to be successful real estate investors, the instructors at those three-day seminars then engaged in a “bait and switch,” telling students that they needed to attend yet another seminar for an additional $5,000 in order to learn more about particular lenders. Instructors at the three-day seminars are also alleged to have engaged in a bait-and-switch by urging students to sign up for “Trump mentorship packages, which ranged anywhere from $10,000 to $35,000” and supposedly provided “the only way to succeed in real estate investment.”
The New York attorney general alleges that even if Trump had nothing to do with picking the hand-picked instructors, he was deeply involved in developing the advertising and recruiting materials designed to separate students from their money.

Lawyers for the students, who filed their case in 2010, told Judge Curiel in papers filed on Monday that Trump is stalling, and that it’s time to move ahead with the case, even if it means they won’t have any new testimony from Trump; they say they can instead rely on ten hours of videotaped pre-trial depositions they already have taken of Trump.

But if Trump’s lawyers insist that their client should be allowed to testify again, I really do hope they get their wish and have it be on videotape, rather than in the courtroom.

If Trump was not demanding to be able to testify by videotape, and instead showed up at the courthouse in San Diego, the only people who would see his testimony would be the people in the room. The federal courts do not permit video recording of trials.

But if Trump tapes his testimony, there will be a strong public interest argument in favor of the judge releasing the tape.

I want to see that testimony, because I think it will help educate the public not only about their new president, but also how predatory colleges operate — reeling in students with deceptive and coercive recruiting playbooks.

To add to the drama of Trump having to defend himself against lawyers charging him with fraud, there is of course the added dimension that Trump has attacked Judge Curiel, charging the judge is “a hater of Donald Trump” and had “a conflict” because “he’s a Mexican.” (Curiel was born in Indiana.) The judge would need to attend the session in order to rule on objections.

So whether or not the Trump University trial gets delayed, I hope Judge Curiel will grant Donald Trump’s motion to testify on videotape, rather than in person.

I wrote an op-ed about this very issue in the New York Times 20 years ago, addressing the trial testimony of two presidents: Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan. You can read it below.
Image

https://www.republicreport.org/2016/tru ... e-or-tape/
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:26 pm

Trump Foundation admits to violating ban on ‘self-dealing,’ new filing to IRS shows

Painter Michael Israel, left, poses with Donald and Melania Trump in 2007 at Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club. Trump spent $20,000 that belonged to the Donald J. Trump Foundation to buy a six-foot-tall portrait of himself painted by Israel. (Michael Israel)

By David A. Fahrenthold November 22 at 10:20 AM
President-elect Donald Trump’s charitable foundation has admitted to the IRS that it violated a legal prohibition against “self-dealing,” which bars nonprofit leaders from using their charity’s money to help themselves, their businesses or their families.

That admission was contained in the Donald J. Trump Foundation’s IRS tax filings for 2015, which were recently posted online at the nonprofit-tracking site GuideStar. A GuideStar spokesman said the forms were uploaded by the Trump Foundation’s law firm, Morgan, Lewis and Bockius.

The Post could not immediately confirm if the same forms had actually been sent to the IRS.

In one section of the form, the IRS asked if the Trump Foundation had transferred “income or assets to a disqualified person.” A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump — the foundation’s president — or a member of his family, or a Trump-owned business.

The foundation checked “yes.”

How Donald Trump directed millions to his foundation Play Video2:32
The Washington Post's David A. Fahrenthold explains how Donald Trump directed people who owed him money to make their payments to the tax-exempt Donald J. Trump Foundation instead. (Peter Stevenson, Lee Powell/The Washington Post)
Another line on the form asked if the Trump Foundation had engaged in any acts of self-dealing in prior years. The Trump Foundation checked “yes” again.

Such violations can carry penalties including excise taxes, and the charity leaders can be required to repay money that the charity spent on their behalf.

During the presidential campaign, The Washington Post reported on several instances in which Trump appeared to use the Trump Foundation’s money to buy items for himself or to help one of his for-profit businesses.

[Trump boasts about his philanthropy. But his giving falls short of his words.]

But the new Trump Foundation tax filings provided little detail so it was unclear if these admissions were connected to the instances reported in The Post.

The Trump Foundation tax forms did not, for instance, describe any specific acts of self-dealing. They also did not say whether Trump had paid any penalties already. That kind of detail would be submitted on a separate IRS form, which was not included in the information posted online Monday.

Spokesmen for Trump’s presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.

Inside Post reporter David Fahrenthold's investigation of Donald Trump's charitable giving Play Video3:30
Inside The Post's investigation of Donald Trump's charitable giving (Peter Stevenson, Julio Negron/The Washington Post)
The New York attorney general’s office is investigating Trump’s charity, following up on reports in The Post that described apparent instances of self-dealing going back to 2007. A spokesman for Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declined to comment, other than to say “our investigation is ongoing.”

The IRS also did not immediately respond. That agency has not said if it is investigating the president-elect’s charity.

The Trump Foundation has existed since 1987. This appeared to be the first time that it had admitted committing such a violation.

Philip Hackney, who formerly worked in the IRS chief counsel’s office and now teaches at Louisiana State University, said he wanted to know why the Trump Foundation was now admitting to self-dealing in prior years — when, in all prior years, it had told the IRS it had done nothing of the kind.

“What transactions led to the self-dealing that they’re admitting to? Why weren’t they able to recognize them in prior years,” Hackney said. He said that, since the prior years’ returns were signed by Trump, that opened the president-elect to questions about what he had missed and how.

Trump Foundation 2015 tax filing

During the presidential campaign, The Post revealed several instances — worth about $300,000 — where Trump seemed to have used the Trump Foundation to help himself.

In two cases, The Post reported, the Trump Foundation appeared to pay legal settlements to end lawsuits that involved his for-profit businesses.

In one case, Trump settled a dispute with the town of Palm Beach, Fla., over a large flagpole he erected at his Mar-a-Lago Club. The town agreed to waive $120,000 in unpaid fines if Trump’s club donated $100,000 to Fisher House, a charity helping wounded veterans and military personnel. The Trump Foundation paid that donation instead — effectively saving his business $100,000.

In another, Trump’s golf course in New York’s Westchester County was sued by a man who had won a $1 million hole-in-one prize during a tournament at the course. The man was later denied the money because Trump’s course had allegedly made the hole too short for the prize to be valid.

The lawsuit was settled, and details on that final settlement have not been made public. But on the day that the parties told the court that their lawsuit had been settled, the Trump Foundation donated $158,000 to the unhappy golfer’s charity. Trump’s golf course donated nothing.

In three other cases, Trump’s foundation paid for items that Trump or his wife purchased at charity auctions. In 2012, Trump bid $12,000 for a football helmet signed by then-Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

In another case, from 2007, Trump’s wife, Melania, bid $20,000 on a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump painted by “speed painter” Michael Israel during a gala at Mar-a-Lago. And in 2014, Trump bid $10,000 to buy a four-foot painting of himself by artist Havi Schanz at another charity gala.

[How a Univision anchor found the missing $10,000 portrait that Trump bought with his charity’s money]

In all three cases, the Trump Foundation paid the bill. Tax experts said that, by law, the items had to be put to charitable use. Trump’s spokesmen have not said what became of the helmet or the $20,000 portrait.

The $10,000 portrait was, however, located by Washington Post readers, following coverage of the Trump Foundation. It was hanging on the wall of the sports bar at Trump’s Doral golf resort, outside Miami.

In September, a Trump campaign spokesman rejected the idea that Trump had done anything wrong, by using his charity’s money to buy art for his bar. Instead, spokesman Boris Epshteyn said, the sports bar was doing the charity a favor by “storing” its art free of charge.

Tax experts said that this argument was unlikely to hold water.

“It’s hard to make an IRS auditor laugh,” Brett Kappel, a lawyer who advises nonprofit groups at the Akerman firm, told The Post then. “But this would do it.”

In the new 2015 tax filing, the Trump Foundation acknowledged for the first time that it owned these items. But it listed market values far below what the foundation had paid: The helmet was valued at $475. The portrait purchased for $20,000 was valued at $700. And the portrait purchased for $10,000 was valued at $500.

The tax filing did not give any details about where these items are or what charitable use Trump has in mind for them.

The Trump Foundation’s tax filing also shows that — for the first time in six years — the foundation received a donation from an entity controlled by Trump himself.

It lists a donation of $566,370 from the Trump Corporation, an entity 100 percent owned by Trump himself. It also lists a $50,000 gift from Trump Productions, a Trump-owned business that produced “The Apprentice.”

Previously, the last donation to the Trump Foundation from Trump or one of his businesses had come in 2008. Trump’s spokesmen did not respond to a question about the reason for these new gifts.

In addition, the Trump Foundation reported a $150,000 gift from the foundation of Viktor Pinchuk, a powerful Ukrainian steel magnate. That was the first such gift from Pinchuk.

Pinchuk, who supports closer ties between Ukraine and Western nations, had also pledged large donations to the foundation of Trump’s presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Those donations, pledged to the Clinton Foundation while Clinton was secretary of state, raised questions about whether she had conflicts of interest when she met with her family foundation’s donors.

A spokesman for Pinchuk’s foundation said that the gift was made as part of an agreement for Trump to speak — via video link — to a conference Pinchuk organized in September 2015. The conference, called the Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, was held in Kiev. At the time of his 20-minute speech, titled “How New Ukraine’s Fate Affects Europe and the World,” Trump was already a presidential candidate.

Trump’s spokesmen did not respond to a question about Pinchuk’s gift.

Marc S. Owens, the former head of the IRS nonprofit division, noted that this was a rare contribution to the Trump Foundation from overseas. The only other foreign gifts were small ones from New Zealand and Canada in 2006 and 2008. And it was certainly the first from a foreigner who could seek to influence the foreign-policy agenda of a President Trump.

“The contribution points out a potential way for foreign donors to align themselves with [Trump],” Owens said.

The Post was first alerted to the 2015 tax filing by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a liberal watchdog group. In a written statement, CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz said many questions remained to be answered.

“Why were the Trumps unable to provide locations of the Foundation’s assets like paintings and football helmets . . . when they clearly remain in the possession of the Foundation? What assets do [they] admit to transferring to a ‘disqualified person?’” Libowitz wrote. “It’s pretty clear at this point that the IRS needs to investigate.”

In all, the 2015 tax filing shows that the Trump Foundation took in $781,000 and gave away $896,000 in grants during 2015. That left it with $1.1 million at year’s end, slightly down from the year before.

An early look at its outgoing grants showed a familiar pattern: Trump gave to a smattering of New York and Florida charities, plus a few connected to friends and business partners. Also, as he entered the presidential race, he gave to several nonprofits connected with conservative causes.

One of them was Project Veritas, the group run by conservative provocateur James O’Keefe, which has used hidden-camera stings to target liberal groups. Stephen Gordon, of Project Veritas, said that its point of contact had been Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s one-time campaign manager.

He said they had a brief meeting with Trump in 2015, at Trump Tower. Trump gave $10,000 from his foundation to the group, which is an IRS-certified nonprofit.

“We showed him a couple of videos. He thought that was really cool. And we walked out with a check. It was a typical donor meeting,” Gordon recalled

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics ... story.html
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby maco144 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:00 pm

Here's to 8 years of SLAD bumping this with inane editorials.
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:03 pm

excuse me....it's been 12 years....


eeeewww...being schooled by a flat earther...:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Image

so you want to make something of it?

BRING IT ON SWEETIE

but when you do...please first go the end edge of the flat earth...be careful don't fall off...and take a picture...and then post it here

maco144 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:00 pm wrote:Here's to 8 years of SLAD bumping this with inane editorials.


do you see that date when this thread was started?

Nov.13 2016....my math says that was 9 days ago...not 8 years

and the link I posted was not an editorial

please next time you try and school me...try getting your facts straight first


Did you accumulate almost all of your 88 posts in the flat earth thread?

I'll say one thing in your favor you did manage to make it past 86...more that The Cowboy

please link to something you have posted that would be of any interest to me whatsoever


this is of no use to me...Really pathetic and weak imo.


This forum has boards for franklin scandal, pedophilia, occult rituals, etc. All members here are well versed in all these topics and then when they see it happening in the present it becomes too much to handle and they shy away. Really pathetic and weak imo.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

maco144 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 4:18 pm wrote:Old guard of this forum really exposes how 'rigorous' their approach is when it comes to flat earth.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Re: NASA Satellite stops on a dime!? WTF!!!
Postby maco144 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:01 pm
DrEvil » Thu Sep 08, 2016 8:35 pm wrote:
But you still haven't explained why.


In this thread there is objective proof of a flat earth and you keep asking about my subjective opinion of why a cabal would wish to do this....


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
maco144 » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:55 am wrote:http://www.neatorama.com/2012/05/29/kansas-is-flatter-than-a-pancake/

400 miles flatter than a pancake. Where is the supposed curvature?


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Re: NASA Satellite stops on a dime!? WTF!!!
Postby maco144 » Wed Sep 07, 2016 8:37 am
Nordic » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:48 am wrote:

What you should really be asking is why there are no satellite videos/pics of Earth.


Which is yet another reason I'm accusing you of being a troll. An entertaining one, apparently.


Why dont you look for some authentic, non doctored, non composite images of earth. A video of Earth in space should exist by now too. Maybe your sleuthing skills are better than the entire FE community which has yet to find one.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Searcher08 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:36 pm wrote:
Wombaticus Rex » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:59 pm wrote:
Nordic » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:30 am wrote:Maco144 has gotta be a troll shining us on. Nobody is this .... dumb. And still able to write sentences and stuff.


I don't think I'm defending Mr. 144 so much as highlighting an eminently teachable moment, here.

He's not dumb, he's convinced.


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

82_28 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:33 pm wrote:
maco144 » Mon Sep 05, 2016 6:58 pm wrote:
Wombaticus Rex » Mon Sep 05, 2016 1:27 pm wrote:
NeonLX » Mon Sep 05, 2016 12:23 pm wrote:The Antarctica part bugs me. I've been to "Arctica" (Barrow, Alaska). I was getting dangerously close to the "north pole".


That's why your memory of that was scrambled and incomplete - you saw too much.

The "Perpetual Sun" phenomenon is actually a massive floodlight array to keep explorers from approaching the containment wall when the weather would normally permit that.


There is a seasonal perpetual sun at the north pole. This phenomenon doesn't exist at Antarctica. How can this be accounted for on a globe model?


Yeah, no. Same thing happens at both poles. The Sun goes around you and doesn't rise much above the horizon but stays up all day.

http://www.die.net/earth/?zoom=2

That's real time. Care to explain how the Sun has just set here on the west coast of the US while Australia is basking in sunlight simultaneously? Our good friend Stefano would confirm it is daylight in South Africa and I can confirm it is not daylight here. Explain this anomaly.


...... :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


maco144 » Thu May 05, 2016 12:06 pm wrote:
smoking since 1879 » Thu May 05, 2016 6:47 am wrote:marco,

what u are seeing there is twinkling caused by the camera having to look through our atmosphere.

the primary (stated) reason for launching a space telescope (Hubble) was to put it outside our atmosphere and avoid the twinkle. this was before they invented adaptive optics for ground based telescopes.


That seems highly improbable and a not very scientific explanation. :starz:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:37 am

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.

ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 8
Teacher's Companion Lesson (PDF)

Article VI of the Articles of Confederation was the source of the Constitution's prohibition on federal titles of nobility and the so-called Emoluments Clause. The clause sought to shield the republican character of the United States against corrupting foreign influences.

The prohibition on federal titles of nobility—reinforced by the corresponding prohibition on state titles of nobility in Article I, Section 10, and more generally by the republican Guarantee Clause in Article IV, Section 4—was designed to underpin the republican character of the American government. In the ample sense James Madison gave the term in The Federalist No. 39, a republic was "a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during good behavior."

Republicanism so understood was the ground of the constitutional edifice. The prohibition on titles of nobility buttressed the structure by precluding the possibility of an aristocracy, whether hereditary or personal, whose members would inevitably assert a right to occupy the leading positions in the state.

Further, the prohibition on titles complemented the prohibition in Article III, Section 3, on the "Corruption of Blood" worked by "Attainder[s] of Treason" (i.e., the prohibition on creating a disability in the posterity of an attained person upon claiming an inheritance as his heir, or as heir to his ancestor). Together these prohibitions ruled out the creation of certain caste-specific legal privileges or disabilities arising solely from the accident of birth.

In addition to upholding republicanism in a political sense, the prohibition on titles also pointed to a durable American social ideal. This is the ideal of equality; it is what David Ramsey, the eighteenth-century historian of the American Revolution, called the "life and soul" of republicanism. The particular conception of equality denied a place in American life for hereditary distinctions of caste—slavery being the most glaring exception. At the same time, however, it also allowed free play for the "diversity in the faculties of men," the protection of which, as Madison insisted in The Federalist No. 10, was "the first object of government." The republican system established by the Founders, in other words, envisaged a society in which distinctions flowed from the unequal uses that its members made of equal opportunities: a society led by a natural aristocracy based on talent, virtue, and accomplishment, not by an hereditary aristocracy based on birth. "Capacity, Spirit and Zeal in the Cause," as John Adams said, would "supply the Place of Fortune, Family, and every other Consideration, which used to have Weight with Mankind." Or as the Jeffersonian St. George Tucker put it in 1803: "A Franklin, or a Washington, need not the pageantry of honours, the glare of titles, nor the pre-eminence of station to distinguish them....Equality of rights...precludes not that distinction which superiority of virtue introduces among the citizens of a republic."

Similarly, the Framers intended the Emoluments Clause to protect the republican character of American political institutions. "One of the weak sides of republics, among their numerous advantages, is that they afford too easy an inlet to foreign corruption." The Federalist No. 22 (Alexander Hamilton). The delegates at the Constitutional Convention specifically designed the clause as an antidote to potentially corrupting foreign practices of a kind that the Framers had observed during the period of the Confederation. Louis XVI had the custom of presenting expensive gifts to departing ministers who had signed treaties with France, including American diplomats. In 1780, the King gave Arthur Lee a portrait of the King set in diamonds above a gold snuff box; and in 1785, he gave Benjamin Franklin a similar miniature portrait, also set in diamonds. Likewise, the King of Spain presented John Jay (during negotiations with Spain) with the gift of a horse. All these gifts were reported to Congress, which in each case accorded permission to the recipients to accept them. Wary, however, of the possibility that such gestures might unduly influence American officials in their dealings with foreign states, the Framers institutionalized the practice of requiring the consent of Congress before one could accept "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from...[a] foreign State."

Like several other provisions of the Constitution, the Emoluments Clause also embodies the memory of the epochal constitutional struggles in seventeenth-century Britain between the forces of Parliament and the Stuart dynasty. St. George Tucker's explanation of the clause noted that "in the reign of Charles the [S]econd of England, that prince, and almost all his officers of state were either actual pensioners of the court of France, or supposed to be under its influence, directly, or indirectly, from that cause. The reign of that monarch has been, accordingly, proverbially disgraceful to his memory." As these remarks imply, the clause was directed not merely at American diplomats serving abroad, but more generally at officials throughout the federal government.

The Emoluments Clause has apparently never been litigated, but it has been interpreted and enforced through a long series of opinions of the Attorneys General and by less-frequent opinions of the Comptrollers General. Congress has also exercised its power of "Consent" under the clause by enacting the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, which authorizes federal employees to accept foreign governmental benefits of various kinds in specific circumstances.
http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#! ... nts-clause


Here a conflict, there a conflict, everywhere a conflict of interest—a blind trust is not enough

By Mark Sumner
Tuesday Nov 22, 2016 · 11:23 AM CST

Image
US real-estate magnate Donald Trump is seen playing golf on a billboard at the Trump International Golf Club Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on August 12, 2015. The empire of White House hopeful Donald Trump outside the United States extends to 12 countries including Turkey, South Korea, India, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. AFP PHOTO / KARIM SAHIB (Photo credit should read KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images)

In the middle of the ongoing Cabinet Apprentice series, the Man in the Trump Tower paused to spend some time with business partners from India to discuss leveraging the White House.

The three Indian executives ... have been quoted in Indian newspapers, including The Economic Times, as saying they have discussed expanding their partnership with the Trump Organization now that Mr. Trump is president-elect.
Trump’s first phone call with the Argentinian president is reported to have gone beyond political congratulations.

A report in La Nacion said Trump asked President Mauricio Macri for help with permits at a much-delayed office building project in central Buenos Aires. The newspaper quoted one of the country's most respected journalists, Jorge Lanata, who did not quote a source.
Trump’s meeting with UK politician Nigel Farage not only generated outrage when Trump called for his fellow white nationalist to be named as UK Ambassador to the United States, but also failed to steer away from issues that affect Trump's properties.

When President-elect Donald J. Trump met with the British politician Nigel Farage in recent days, he encouraged Mr. Farage and his entourage to oppose the kind of offshore wind farms that Mr. Trump believes will mar the pristine view from one of his two Scottish golf courses, according to one person present.
Even the new trade envoy from the Philippines just happens to have a Trump connection.

… Duterte appointed real estate magnate Jose E.B. Antonio as a special trade envoy to the U.S. — and Antonio happens to be the man building Trump Tower Manila.
That’s all in a three day period. There’s only one way that Trump can prevent his business dealings from warping US policy, and it’s not a blind trust. It’s liquidation.

It would be hard to find a more Trump-friendly print venue than Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, but even there, it’s clear that Trump can't continue as things stand.

Mr. Trump has for decades run the Trump Organization and during the campaign said if he won the Presidency he’d turn over the keys to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, all of whom are now serving on the Trump transition. A company spokesperson says the family business is “in the process of vetting various structures” and that the ultimate arrangement “will comply with all applicable rules and regulations.”
That’s very easy to say. Very easy to do, as well, because when it comes to conflict of interest regulations, financial reporting requirements, and the White House, the number of applicable rules is exactly zero. Trump could quite literally spend every other day at his messy desk, buying and selling properties based on upcoming secret plans, and it would still fit within the lack of rules that apply to the presidency.

There’s been an assumption from the outset that the president would be constrained by public appearance and by simple decency. Neither of these apply to Trump.

Some of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have called the plan a “blind trust,” which past Presidents have used to protect their assets from the appearance of conflicts-of-interest. … By law blind trusts are overseen by an independent manager, not family members.
However, even if Trump was proposing a genuine blind trust, it wouldn’t be enough to separate his political actions from his business. It’s not as if Trump would suddenly become unaware of how his actions would affect hotels, apartment buildings, and other fixed assets just because he wasn’t looking at the monthly bills.

Mr. Trump’s best option is to liquidate his stake in the company. Richard Painter and Norman Eisen, ethics lawyers for George W. Bush and President Obama, respectively, have laid out a plan, which involves a leveraged buyout or an initial public offering.
And then, once his assets had been converted into capital, Trump would still need to place that amount in a blind trust so that he wasn’t motivated to profit from control of the government.

The political damage to a new Administration could be extensive. If Mr. Trump doesn’t liquidate, he will be accused of a pecuniary motive any time he takes a policy position. For example, the House and Senate are eager to consider tax reform—and one sticking point will be the treatment of real estate, which will be of great interest to the Trump family business. Ditto for repealing the Dodd-Frank financial law, interest rates and so much more.
J'accuse. Yes. Exactly. Trump does have intense personal interest in these issues. So do the millionaires and billionaires who either populate Congress or fund those who do.

But Trump’s interest goes beyond simply cutting his own tax bill. As Paul Krugman notes, the damage done to the treasury itself is a relatively minor portion of the potential damage.


The more important issue is that to generate those billions, Trump could distort foreign policy, domestic policy, military policy in ways that generate far greater impact on the nation than simply padding his bottom line. Trump owes vast amounts of money to foreign banks and foreign investors. What if he chose to settle those accounts by either using the military to act as a mercenary force—or settle those accounts by using the military to act as the world’s largest instrument of extortion.

Donald Trump’s business and Donald Trump’s role as president-elect are intrinsically incompatible, and no trust can be blind enough to make them fit.

UPDATE

In his conversation with the New York Times on Tuesday afternoon, Trump expressed his surprise that there were no rules requiring that he step away from his business.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/2 ... not-enough


Former Bush Counsel: Electoral College Can’t Vote For Trump if He’s in Violation of Constitution
by Justin Baragona | 10:19 am, November 23rd, 2016 VIDEO 1525

richard-paintereditedWhile meeting with the New York Times yesterday for an on-the-record interview, President-elect Donald Trump stated that the president cannot have conflicts of interest and that the law was on his side. This comes in response to numerous concerns over Trump using his position to further enrich himself and his personal businesses.

During a discussion on CNN this morning, former White House lawyer Richard Painter made the case that if it appears that Trump will be in violation of the emolument clause of the Constitution, then the Electoral College must decide to not vote for him next month.

After he and fellow guest Jan Baran agreed that there isn’t an actual law that prevents Trump from being involved in his businesses while in the White House but that it does present numerous ethical issues, Painter said that he informed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of concerns around the emolument clause.

(The clause states that “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.”)


Stating that Trump could ease worries if he were to submit to an audit that clause could at least be dealt with, even if other conflicts of interest concerns would still be apparent, Painter insisted Trump would be sending a message that he doesn’t care if he ignores this. He then said the Electoral College would need to take action.

“He needs to comply with the constitution at a bare minimum,” Painter said. “And either recognize the problem and address it.”

“And if he doesn’t do that before the Electoral College meets,” the attorney continued. “I don’t think the electoral college can vote for someone to become president if he’s going to be in violation of the constitution on day one and hasn’t assured us he’s not in violation.”

Painter, who served as President George W. Bush’s ethics counsel from 2005 to 2007, also took a shot at Trump over his past birtherism.

“This is just as important as your birth certificate. more important than your birth certificate or proof of age, whatever other requirements there are to be President of the United States,” Painter concluded.
http://www.mediaite.com/tv/former-bush- ... stitution/


Trump poised to violate Constitution his first day in office, George W. Bush’s ethics lawyer says
The Constitution doesn’t allow presidents to seek gifts from foreign agents.

Friday evening, the Washington Post reported that about 100 foreign diplomats gathered at President-elect Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, DC to “to sip Trump-branded champagne, dine on sliders and hear a sales pitch about the U.S. president-elect’s newest hotel.” The tour included a look at the hotel’s $20,000 a night “town house” suite. The Post also quoted some of the diplomats saying they intended to stay at the hotel in order to ingratiate themselves to the incoming president.
“Why wouldn’t I stay at his hotel blocks from the White House, so I can tell the new president, ‘I love your new hotel!’” said one diplomat from an Asian nation. “Isn’t it rude to come to his city and say, ‘I am staying at your competitor?’”
The incoming president, in other words, is actively soliciting business from agents of foreign governments. Many of these agents, in turn, said that they will accept the president-elect’s offer to do business because they want to win favor with the new leader of the United States.
In an exclusive exchange with ThinkProgress, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor who previously served as chief ethics counsel to President George W. Bush, says that Trump’s efforts to do business with these diplomats is at odds with a provision of the Constitution intended to prevent foreign states from effectively buying influence with federal officials.
The Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause,” provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under” the United States “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.”
The diplomats’ efforts in seek Trump’s favor by staying in his hotel “looks like a gift,” Painter told ThinkProgress in an email, and thus is the very kind of favor the Constitution seeks to prevent.
Trump’s pledge to separate his business from the presidency lasted two days

With his kids running his company and transition team, there will be no wall between the Trump administration and Trump…
thinkprogress.org
To explain, the ordinary rule under the Emoluments Clause is that federal officials may do business with foreign governments so long as they do not receive special treatment. If the president owns a $200,000 Rolls Royce, Painter told ThinkProgress, they can sell that car to the Queen of England, so long as they only receive its fair market value. If Her Majesty The Queen pays $250,000 for the Rolls Royce, however, that would violate the Emoluments Clause.
There’s a catch, however, for someone like Trump who trades on the value of his own name. “Anything in excess of fair market value is a gift,” according to Painter, “and I don’t think you can take into account the value of the name Trump in calculating fair market value.” The diplomats are not staying in one of Trump’s expensive luxury hotels because Trump is charging their nation a reasonable market rate for a night’s stay. They are staying in the hotel because of the added value that comes from doing business with the President of the United States.
“It had better stop by January 20,” says Painter.
In a follow up exchange, ThinkProgress asked whether Trump really can cure this impending violation of the Emoluments Clause by acting differently once he is sworn in as president. After all, the message that diplomats can earn the favor of the new president by staying in his hotels has already been received, and it can’t exactly be unsaid.
Painter responded that “the only good answer,” for the president-elect “is to sell the hotel or give it to his kids (and pay the gift tax) by January 20.”
Assuming that Trump does not divest from his hotel, however, it may prove difficult to enforce the Constitution against him. There are few court cases dealing with the Emoluments Clause. Typically, the country has relied on internal safeguards within the executive branch and fear of political embarrassment to prevent violations by the president.
Moreover, while it is conceivable that a rival hotel may have standing to sue Trump for taking away its business with foreign diplomats in violation of the Constitution, it’s far from clear that any hotel business will want to risk a feud with the notoriously vindictive president-elect.
There is, however, at least one remedy under the Constitution for such a violation of the public trust by the president: impeachment.
UPDATE: On Twitter, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe agrees with Painter (the thread Tribe refers to links to this article).
https://thinkprogress.org/trump-poised- ... .ypjw796sp


Trump's International Business Dealings Could Violate The Constitution
November 22, 2016By Ailsa ChangShare
President-elect Donald Trump points to a reporter at Trump International Hotel in Washington. (AP)
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Donald Trump's extensive business dealings around the globe have focused attention on an obscure provision of the Constitution most law professors barely look at — the Emoluments Clause. Now, one of the hottest legal debates around is whether the president-elect is going to violate the Constitution if he continues doing business with companies controlled by foreign governments.

Who even used the word "emolument" in an actual sentence before November 2016?

Emolument is defined by Merriam-Webster as "the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites."

The Foreign Emoluments Clause can be found in Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution. It provides that "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States] shall, without Consent of Congress, accept ... any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

The clause has been interpreted as an anti-bribery provision by constitutional scholars.

"The underlying concern of the clause is divided loyalties," said Erik Jensen, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University. "The founders wanted U.S. officials not to have any arrangements under which there could be questions about whether they were acting in the best interests of the United States, or in the interests of a foreign state."

Trump's companies do deal with businesses that are controlled or influenced by foreign government officials. Legal experts say the potential for constitutional violations is high.

Take the Bank of China, for example. It's a lender for one of Trump's buildings in Midtown Manhattan. If the Bank of China were to offer Trump a lower interest rate on that loan after he takes office, it might raise an Emoluments Clause issue. Some legal scholars say it could be perceived as an attempt to curry favor with the president or influence policy.

So what is a violation of the Emoluments Clause?

Problem is, what constitutes a violation of the Emoluments Clause is a tangled conversation that very quickly involves lots of hypotheticals — because there is virtually no case law on the subject.

Not only have prior presidents been careful to steer clear of any perceived violations of the clause, there's never been a president like Trump, whose companies have such vast global reach. And Trump hasn't fully disclosed the full extent of his global business dealings.

So all legal experts can do now is pose possible scenarios.

Objects Versus Services

Richard Painter, who was chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007, likes to use this example: Imagine the president sells a car to the Queen of England. If the Queen pays the president fair market value for the car, it's not a violation of the Emoluments Clause. If the payment the president receives exceeds the fair market value of the car, there could be a violation. The amount of over-payment could be seen as a gift, or "present," under the clause.

But let's say we're not talking about an object, like a car. What if the president renders services for a foreign government and receives compensation for those services? That would fall under the definition of "emolument." And in that case, Painter says, it doesn't matter if the compensation amounts to fair market value. It's straight-up compensation for services rendered, so it's banned as an emolument under the clause.

Here's how a President Trump might one day render services for foreign government officials. Say a bunch of diplomats from a foreign country stay at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. Painter says you could interpret that as services rendered by Trump — and under the Emoluments Clause, he can't enrich himself from those rendered services.

"The services theory would be along the lines of, 'Well, if Donald Trump himself as president could not perform services for the foreign government, he can't have his hired help — people who work for him in that hotel — provide those services, and then he receives the payment.' That would be an end-run around the prohibition on any type of emolument," said Painter.

The issue of whether a U.S. government official is violating the Emoluments Clause for services rendered actually does comes up in real life, says Ken Gross, a government ethics lawyer in Washington, D.C. Sometimes government officials go on a foreign detail or sabbatical and want to earn compensation for teaching at a government-funded university in that foreign country. In those cases, Gross said, U.S. government officials have had to forego pay to avoid violations of the clause.

The role of Congress

Under the clause, Congress has the power to consent to any business dealings that raise questions. But if even legal experts are scratching their heads about what constitutes a violation of the Emoluments Clause, imagine how lawmakers would feel entering this legal morass.

"What this does is put Congress in an almost impossible situation of judging the fair market value of financial transactions between state-run entities and the Trump Organization," said Zephyr Teachout, a law professor at Fordham University. She was a Democratic candidate for Congress in New York this year.

And if Congress dodges its duty under this clause — and refrains from ever voting to approve or reject possible Emolument Clause violations — Teachout says Congress will be acting unconstitutionally.

"This is an active obligation on the part of Congress," said Teachout. "So if Trump goes forward with his plan to maintain a Trump Organization with relationships to state-controlled companies, it's not just Trump, but it's Congress that is in violation."

Who can bring a legal claim against Trump for a violation?

Because there's been no real litigation of the Emoluments Clause, legal experts say it's hard to define who has legal standing — meaning who has been injured by the possible violation — to bring a claim.

Legal standing depends on how you articulate the injury. Here's one theory of injury: Trump is enriching himself at the expense of companies that can't compete for business the way the president of the United States can. So maybe a company that's lost business because of some financial transaction between Trump Organization and a foreign government could articulate a legal claim.

Or, the perceived harm could be more nebulous. Here's another theory: Trump is opening himself up to attempts by foreign governments that want to influence U.S. policy. But who would have standing to bring a legal claim in that case? Legal experts say it's not clear.

So how does Trump avoid any violations of the Emoluments Clause?

Painter says the best option for Trump is to simply liquidate his stake in his company — that is, take the company public, sell off all his shares and put the cash proceeds in a blind trust. That way, if there are any entanglements between the Trump Organization and foreign countries — he'll be cleared of any conflicts.

But nobody's holding their breath for that to happen anytime soon.

Jensen says he can already hear Trump's counterargument. "He's going to make at least two points. One, 'You force somebody like me to do that, and you're providing a tremendous disincentive for people who have been successful in business to enter the public sphere,' " said Jensen. "He also might say, 'If I have to sell everything very quickly, in effect a fire sale ... I will end up getting a lot less than the real value.' "
http://www.wbur.org/npr/503091109/can-t ... nstitution
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:53 am


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiHN3IJ_j8A



Jetson themank Nov 22 · 12:00:00 PM
Not to worry, twitter to the rescue! I’m certain that you can’t blackmail an American president who can tweet how unfair he is being treated.

On the other hand, joking aside, I agree with you. The soft target issue is critical and there is no way that Hillary would not be burned at the stake for anything even remotely similar. Why do I miss George Bush?



rugbymom Siusaidh Nov 22 · 04:36:46 PM
“Nice building. . . .Now call off that stupid war on ISIS, or else, infidel. Here’s the statement to put on your teleprompter.”



daddytorgo Siusaidh Nov 22 · 04:12:53 PM
Not that I’m rooting for the terrorists, or for the inevitable casualties, or the outcome after, but it would be something to see attacks on his buildings around the world.



themank Nov 22 · 11:45:32 AM
Profiting personally is only one side of this. The real conflict of interest is that it becomes easy to harm Trump personally around the globe. Everyone seems to be ignoring this. It's only a matter of time before Trump properties will be targeted, anything from financial blackmail to terrorism. Then we face the prospect of the President, in charge of the FBI, NSA ,CIA, military, etc, settling personal grievances.

His supporters will still cheer and egg him on. He simply has to liquidate his business empire. The current arrangement is intolerable.



ellymae Nov 22 · 12:08:54 PM
The fact of the matter is that the Trump Organization is going to run and profit from our government.

I am assuming that all his vast interest's worldwide will be considered a political stronghold within the nation that it exists. And will need protected by the military. Subsequently, any act's against one of his interest's will be a provocation for war. Seems to fit the agenda they are constructing; considering cabinet picks thus far; and the rhetoric.



Angela Marx Nov 22 · 04:42:13 PM
I wonder if perhaps Donald Trump is not a fan of history.

After all, the rise of democracy wasn’t merely a a change in the system of government, it was a change in the system of government for a good reason.

Because Monarchies and other forms of inherited claims to Head of State also gave unfettered authority and power to those in and around the Throne to the fiscal resources of the nation. So that a single man or woman might live in gilded palaces whilst the citizenry lived in ramshackle cesspools.

Trump appears to have seen his ascension to the Presidency as an opportunity to enrich himself and his coterie — and moreover seems to see nothing wrong with the doing so.

Hence his meetings so far with foreign heads of state and dignitaries which he is holding in some of his many real estate venues AND appears to be suggesting to these people that they should continue to use these venues in the future in their dealings with him.

That’s an utter and outright form of legalized enrichment of self via the process of performing his duties as Head of Government, something which is absolutely forbidden to presidents and other members of the United States Federal Government under the U.S. Constitution.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8:

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.

[emphasis added for clarity]
The definition of Emolument: a salary, fee, or profit from employment or office.

In the case of Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 this specifically means that outside of the salary of the Office itself, no one in the Federal Government, including the President, is allowed to make a profit or enrich themselves off of their office or their actions performed while in the office.

But Trump’s behavior so far appears to show that he intends to do exactly that, in ways large and small.

And just 16 short years ago, the Democrats were worried about Dick Cheney making a couple hundred million off of illegally started wars. How incredible that we’ve finally gotten someone who would make Cheney look like a piker.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2016/11/2 ... not-enough
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:06 pm

“This is potentially very serious, something that if traced back to Donald Trump might even lead to impeachment,” Schoenberg wrote on his blog. “It deserves to be investigated fully and openly, and quickly, because if a crime was committed in the course of the FBI investigation, it is the crime of the century.”

Image
E. Randol Schoenberg's legal fight with the Austrian government on behalf of a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, seeking the return of paintings by Gustav Kilmt, was the basis of the 2015 movie Woman in Gold. (Tommaso Boddi/Getty)

Holocaust attorney sues FBI over election interference that could ‘lead to impeachment’ of Trump

David Edwards
08 DEC 2016 AT 10:18 ET



E. Randol Schoenberg, an attorney renowned for recovering artworks stolen by Nazis during the Holocaust, filed a lawsuit against the FBI this week to get answers about why Director James Comey falsely suggested that Hillary Clinton committed a crime just days before the 2016 election.

“I filed a lawsuit today against the US Department of Justice seeking immediate disclosure of the FBI search warrant for the e-mails of Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin on Anthony Weiner’s laptop,” Schoenberg wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday. “I think we need to see what ‘probable cause’ was shown for obtaining the search warrant, because whoever thought there was going to be evidence of a crime was obviously mistaken. And that mistake probably changed the outcome of the election.”

In a blog post late last month, Schoenberg explained that it would be very unusual for a judge to grant the FBI a search warrant “[s]imply because someone has the ability to commit the crime of intentionally violating laws governing the handling of classified information.”

“To obtain a warrant it had to establish probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found. Since we now know that no such evidence was found on the laptop, it is time to investigate why the FBI believed it had probable cause.”

One possible theory, Schoenberg said, is that “the new allegations came from people associated with the Trump campaign.”

He continued on his blog:

What if the allegations were intentionally false? During the nine days when the investigation was underway, Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani made public statements suggesting he was in communication with the FBI about the ongoing investigation. It does not seem too far-fetched to believe that politically-motivated individuals might have tried to get the FBI to re-open the investigation of Clinton by making false allegations. Finding Huma Abedin’s e-mails on Weiner’s laptop might have been just an opportunity to carry out their wishes.
Schoenberg’s lawsuit calls on the court to force the FBI to honor a Freedom of Information Act request to turn over the warrant to search Anthony Weiner’s laptop. Weiner was the husband of Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin.

“Many members of the public have doubts about the propriety and legality of re-opening of the investigation,” the lawsuit notes. “Access to the search warrant is critical for the public to learn the basis for there-opening of the investigation to ensure that the FBI acted in a manner consistent with its constitutional obligations under the Fourth Amendment.”

“This is potentially very serious, something that if traced back to Donald Trump might even lead to impeachment,” Schoenberg wrote on his blog. “It deserves to be investigated fully and openly, and quickly, because if a crime was committed in the course of the FBI investigation, it is the crime of the century.”

The attorney told the Jewish Journal this week that it was reasonable to believe a Trump ally — including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — might have provided the false information to the FBI.

“It’s more likely something criminal happened in the obtaining of the search warrant than… Hillary Clinton did something wrong,” Schoenberg pointed out.
http://www.rawstory.com/2016/12/holocau ... -of-trump/



Nazi Loot Lawyer Sues FBI To Release Clinton Investigation Documents
BY NATHAN TEMPEY IN NEWS ON DEC 8, 2016 9:35 AM

A Los Angeles lawyer is suing the Justice Department to obtain the documents supporting FBI director James Comey's late-October investigation into Hillary Clinton, which Comey publicized in a dramatic breach of protocol 11 days before the presidential election. The lawsuit, filed today in New York federal court, follows up on a November 12th Freedom of Information Act request by E. Randol Schoenberg, an attorney who specializes in the recovery of property looted by the Nazis. The records request and lawsuit seek the search warrant and supporting documents that the FBI and Justice Department used to review the Clinton-related emails of Huma Abedin that were found on Anthony Weiner's computer, during a separate investigation into his reported sexual online messages to a teenage girl in North Carolina.
"The American public has a strong interest in the disclosure of the search warrant and related application, affidavits, and receipts," the lawsuit reads. "The FBI is the nation's premier law enforcement agency. Access to the records that underlie criminal investigations is crucial to ensuring that the FBI is accountable for following the legal standards it is required to uphold."
On October 28th, Comey sent a letter to Congress explaining that he was revisiting the investigation into Clinton's use of a secret, insecure email server while secretary of state, because of new emails discovered in an unrelated investigation, which turned out to be the Weiner probe. Two days later, the New York Times reported that the FBI had obtained the search warrant it needed to proceed.
Over the summer, Comey had announced he was essentially closing the investigation into Clinton despite his misgivings over Clinton's behavior, also a breach of federal protocol regarding the discussion of investigations. His announcement that he was again investigating emails related to Clinton dominated headlines for nine of the 11 days leading up to the election—the fervor subsided when he announced, on November 6th, that the FBI would stand by its original determination on Clinton. Following her stunning upset loss by what now looks like about 80,000 votes in three key states, Clinton herself blamed Comey for the outcome, and Democratic Senator Harry Reid and others suggested that Comey may have violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain federal employees from engaging in political activity.
161207ERandolSchoenberg1.jpg
E. Randol Schoenberg's legal fight with the Austrian government on behalf of a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, seeking the return of paintings by Gustav Kilmt, was the basis of the 2015 movie Woman in Gold. (Tommaso Boddi/Getty)
The crux of the issue, according to Schoenberg, is contained in documents showing how the FBI got the warrant signed off on by a judge. To do so, law enforcement agents need to show the judge that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed. Schoenberg speculates that either conservative-leaning federal officials made a case as if Clinton was an organized crime boss, i.e. "She's always up to no good, we're just not sure what she's doing," which wouldn't meet the bar of probable cause and could get the judge in trouble. On the flip-side, he said, it's possible that someone acting as an informant or witness provided false information to the FBI, possibly for political purposes, which should prompt its own investigation, given that lying to federal agents is a crime.
"How did that [warrant] get issued, and did someone do something wrong in getting that issued?" Schoenberg said. "Especially given the fact that many people believe, including me, that it changed the outcome of the election."
Ahead of Comey's October announcement, Donald Trump surrogates including Rudy Giuliani boasted of their ties to the FBI, claiming insider knowledge of a revolt against Comey's decision not to prosecute Clinton, and of coming revelations. Schoenberg said that he did not have any specific evidence to support the hypothesis that Trump allies planted the investigation, but that he has personal experience lobbying federal law enforcement via his work on returning Nazi-stolen art, and that it's very possible someone did something similar to make this happen.
Pressuring the authorities to look into something can be legitimate, he said. The difference, he said, is "Here there was never going to be any crime...especially after they had already investigated it, so why was a warrant issued?"
Schoenberg's lawsuit demands an injunction requiring the feds to depart from their usual timetable and process the FOIA request immediately. This, he said, is because in his experience FOIA requests can take years. He hopes that the documents enter the public record before Trump takes office in January.
"I think this one is a little bit more urgent," he said. "If—and this is obviously a huge leap—if there was some illegal activity that led to this failed search warrant and that traces back to the Trump campaign, that could have huge ramifications with Congress and the electoral college."
There is also, he acknowledged, the possibility that the basis of the warrant could point to some malfeasance by the Clinton camp, which he said would also be in the public interest to know about.
Schoenberg is best known for his long-shot legal victory in recovering five famous paintings by Gustav Klimt, stolen by the Nazis in Austria, for Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee who resettled in the U.S. The battle over the paintings inspired the 2015 movie Woman in Gold. Ryan Reynolds starred as Schoenberg.
Schoenberg noted that he would rather prominent, well-resourced publications such as the New York Times and Washington Post had tackled the search warrant issue. However, he said he is happy to take it on, and that the task has some connection, however tenuous, with his work chasing Nazi bounty.
"I like tilting at windmills, and sometimes it turns out not to be as crazy as everybody thinks," he said. "[Maybe] I’m right that there’s some big story behind this, maybe i’m wrong...Sticking to your convictions, trying to think differently from everyone else is what I like to do."
The Justice Department has 30 days to formally respond, according to Schoenberg's attorney, David Rankin.
http://gothamist.com/2016/12/08/comey_c ... awsuit.php
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 13, 2016 7:44 pm

Federal judge wants to see Clinton emails search warrant
James Comey
FBI Director James Comey speaks during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 2016. (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)
Tribune news servicesContact Reporter

A federal judge directed the U.S. government Tuesday to show him any search warrant application used to gain access to a new batch of Hillary Clinton's emails just before the election.

Judge P. Kevin Castel asked a government lawyer to turn over any pertinent documents by late Thursday in case he decides any portion of the materials must be made public. He also recommended the government advise what redactions are necessary should he rule that portions of documents must be disclosed publicly.

E. Randol Schoenberg, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who specializes in recovering works of art stolen by the Nazis, sued to obtain any search warrant and related papers used by the FBI to obtain the emails from a computer belonging to Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, one of Clinton's top aides. Schoenberg's lawsuit followed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents.

Weiner, a Democrat, resigned his seat in Congress after sexually explicit texts and social media posts to various women. He is under investigation by federal authorities for online communications he had with a 15-year-old girl.

Justice Department lawyer Jennie Kneedler told Castel that the government opposes Schoenberg's request and noted that Schoenberg had not demonstrated that a need for secrecy that existed before was no longer relevant. She said the government wants to show why the unrelated ongoing criminal investigation is relevant to whether the public has a right to access any search warrant application materials related to Clinton.

"There are things we would like to make your honor aware of," Kneedler said.

FBI obtains warrant to review newly found emails that may be tied to Clinton investigation
FBI obtains warrant to review newly found emails that may be tied to Clinton investigation
The judge said the case is different, in part, because FBI Director James Comey announced Oct. 28 that the FBI had learned about the emails and that they appeared relevant to its already-completed investigation of Clinton's personal email server. He noted that Comey two days before the election updated Congress by saying the FBI's review of the new emails had not changed its conclusions that she should not face charges.

Castel said he plans to rule quickly. He rejected a government request to delay its submission of materials by a day. He also told Schoenberg's lawyer to notify attorneys for Clinton, Abedin and Weiner about the request to make documents public.

Since losing to Republican President-elect Donald Trump, Clinton has blamed her loss in the presidential election in part on the FBI's decision to revive its examination of her email accounts after Comey in July chastised Clinton for her use of a private mail server but said the bureau would not recommend criminal charges.

Schoenberg's lawsuit called any search warrant and related materials "of the utmost public importance."

It added: "Transparency and accountability are most important in cases such as this one, where the investigation in question is heavily politicized, dominated and continues to dominate national media and the national sphere of conversation, and may have significantly influenced the outcome of the election."

Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nati ... story.html
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:42 am

VICE News sues FBI

Our FOIA suit demands info on Trump, the Clintons, and Breitbart News

VICE News sues FBI for info on Trump, the Clintons, and Breitbart News
By Jason Leopold on Dec 13, 2016
VICE News is suing the FBI, demanding the bureau release records related to its curious disclosures, behind-the-scenes actions, and apparent leaks in the days leading up to the U.S. presidential election.

The wide-ranging Freedom of Information Act lawsuit was filed Tuesday morning in conjunction with Ryan Shapiro, a doctoral candidate at MIT and research affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Earlier this month, VICE News and Shapiro filed more than 50 FOIA requests with the FBI seeking documents about the bureau’s discussions regarding Donald Trump, along with other documents that would shed light on the FBI’s decision a week before the election to tweet newly posted records from a long-dormant Twitter account about Bill Clinton’s 2000 pardon of financier Marc Rich.

The pardon, a controversial decision by the former president, was investigated at the time by current FBI director James Comey while he was U.S. attorney.

Our FOIA lawsuit also seeks to compel the FBI to disclose records about:

• ŸŸAllegations of the FBI violating the Hatch Act by allegedly using its authority to influence the course of the 2016 U.S. presidential election

• ŸŸInternal discontent at the FBI regarding the bureau’s Hillary Clinton investigations

• ŸŸAll leaks of information by the FBI to the media and political operatives about FBI investigations of Clinton

• ŸŸAll FBI communications with Breitbart News; Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon, who Trump named his chief strategist and White House counselor after Bannon served as his campaign CEO; former Trump campaign manager Corey R. Lewandowski, Fox News, and Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Sean Hannity; former New York City mayor and Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani; and Republican strategist and Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone

• ŸŸWhite nationalist Richard Spencer, his National Policy Institute, and the “alt-right.”

According to an Oct. 30 report in the Wall Street Journal, “Even as the probe of Mrs. Clinton’s email use wound down in July, internal disagreements within the bureau and the Justice Department surrounding the Clintons’ family philanthropy heated up.”

Our lawsuit “seeks public disclosure of specified government records to make sense of the pivotal role of the FBI, as well as of other agencies, in perhaps the most controversial presidential election in modern U.S. history,” says our complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by FOIA attorney Jeffrey Light.

“Despite subsequent disclosures of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, since its inception, the FBI staunchly maintained it was a purely apolitical entity,” the complaint notes. “However, numerous leading political and news media figures from across the political spectrum explicitly assert the FBI repeatedly and with significant impact affected the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.”

This is the fourth Trump-related FOIA lawsuit VICE News and Shapiro have filed since September. We sued the FBI, Secret Service, and IRS for information concerning a pair of incendiary comments Trump made on the campaign trail last summer — including one in which he called on Russia to track down 30,000 “missing” Clinton emails — as well as audits of Trump’s tax returns spanning more than a decade.

In November, we sued the FBI for documents about various Trump business entities, including Trump Entertainment Resorts, Inc.; the Trump Organization; Trump University; and the Trump Foundation, and any documents about their role in potential violations of federal law.

Two weeks ago, the FBI, in a letter disclosed to us 10 days after the election, revealed that the bureau may very well have been investigating Trump when Comey disclosed to Congress prior to the election that the agency had found additional emails that “appear to be pertinent” to its investigation of Clinton’s private email server.

“The nature of your request implicates investigative records the FBI may or may not compile pursuant to its broad criminal and national security investigative missions and functions,” the FBI letter said. “Accordingly, the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of any such records about your subject as the mere acknowledgment of such records existence or nonexistence would in and of itself trigger foreseeable harm to agency interests.”
https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-s ... tbart-news
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:59 am

Commentary: The founders provided a solution to Trump: impeachment

The Federalist
The Federalist, a collection of essays, is part of an extensive collection and holdings of Alexander Hamilton's original writings, including letters and Thomas Jefferson's copy of the Federalist papers at the The Newberry Library in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune)
Jack Rakove
If Lin-Manuel Miranda ever does a second edition of his smash hip-hop musical "Hamilton," he may want to develop a new number based on Federalist No. 68.

This was hardly Alexander Hamilton's most important contribution to The Federalist, the essays he, James Madison and John Jay drafted to support the ratification of the Constitution in 1787-88. But for the past five weeks, Federalist 68 has sat atop our own charts of oldies-but-goodies from the founding era, for one simple reason. A small group of presidential electors (who call themselves Hamilton Electors) and a few scholars cite this essay to argue that the Electoral College was designed to act as an independent body that could overrule the vote of the people and save the republic from an obviously mistaken choice.

That is the rather fantastic scenario they hope will unfold Monday, when the electors will gather in their separate states to cast their ballots.

That interpretation, desperately beguiling as it seems, rests on a doubtful reading of Hamilton's text and a faulty interpretation of the early history of the Electoral College. The essay we really ought to be reading, even during this interregnum, is Federalist 65, in which Hamilton discusses the idea of presidential impeachment.

In Federalist 68, Hamilton did proclaim it a "moral certainty, that the office of president, will seldom fall to the lot of any man, who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications."

Alexander Hamilton engraving
A 19th century engraving of Alexander Hamilton, part of an extensive collection and holdings of Alexander Hamilton's original writings,is shown at The Newberry Library in Chicago, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016. (Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)
That proposition is now destined to meet its most severe test ever. There have been many mediocre presidents, and a few genuine tragedies, like Andrew Johnson and perhaps James Buchanan, the two failures who bracket Abraham Lincoln. But Donald Trump occupies his own unique category of potential incompetence, even as he tells us just how "smart" he is, without providing requisite evidence (like his tax returns).

But nowhere in Federalist 68 did Hamilton explicitly envision the situation that now confronts us, precisely because no one in 1787-88 could have imagined how the presidential electoral system would operate. That is the first truth that Americans have to understand about this mysterious institution. The Constitutional Convention adopted it, not because it was the most attractive way of electing a president, but because it seemed the least unattractive option.

In the "tedious and reiterated discussions" (quoting James Madison) that produced the presidency, the framers of the Constitution formed decisive objections against two more obvious modes of election. Popular election seemed a bad bet, not because they worried that the people would follow the first Trump-like demagogue to canter their way, but because they believed it would prove difficult to form anything resembling a majority in the highly decentralized and provincial American electorate.

Election by Congress would solve that problem, since its members would be the nation's highly informed political elite. But the framers wanted the president to be independent of Congress, to check its "factious impulses." They also thought that the promise of re-election would provide an incentive for the best behavior (and this, in fact, was a truly Hamiltonian notion). An election by Congress would undermine both goals.

As the framers cobbled together the Electoral College in their closing days of debate, they built upon the political compromises they had already reached. The large states would have the advantage in identifying candidates in the first round of the election. But should the electors fail to produce a majority, which many framers expected to happen quite often, the election would go to the House of Representatives, voting by states, which would protect the interests of the less populous states. That was a truly terrible decision, because the interests of voters in small states do not differ from the preferences of similar voters in large states — but we're stuck with it.

Electors, show us your anti-establishment side

So far so good. But the framers left other critical questions open. Who would the electors be? How would they be appointed? Could they be limited in their choice, or bound to follow the preferences of the voters? All of these questions were left to the state legislatures to resolve, and it took a number of elections to reach the equilibrium we now occupy, where a winner-take-all statewide vote decides 533 of our 538 electors, and laws in numerous states bind the behavior of electors.

So long as George Washington wanted to be president, it did not matter what rules were followed. As soon as he announced his retirement to Mount Vernon in 1796, our first two political parties, the Federalists and Republicans — which were essentially formed to support or oppose Hamilton's policies as our first secretary of the treasury — sprang into action.

They immediately demonstrated two things.

First, contrary to the expectations of 1787-88, a popular election in a single national constituency would produce a decisive victory. In 1796 and 1800, voters proved perfectly capable of choosing between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Second, the electors immediately revealed their true political identities. From the start they always were, and have ever after remained, the loyal agents of their parties. They have never acted as a body of disinterested, highly informed, deliberative citizens. Ironically, no one worked harder to get these electors to serve these interests than the guiding genius of the Federalist Party, Alexander Hamilton, mostly because he despised John Adams and wanted to displace him as party leader.

To ask today's electors to violate these norms, even when we risk elevating a potential incompetent to the presidency and have to ignore Hillary Clinton's significant plurality in the popular vote, poses too grave a risk to the constitutional system. I would place my constitutional bets elsewhere.

Though they will not say it (yet), we can safely intuit that Republican congressmen, in their heart of hearts, are already wondering about presidential impeachment. How can they possibly avoid that thought? After all, Republicans lost one president (Trump's supposed idol, Richard Nixon) to a near-impeachment in 1974, and when they impeached Bill Clinton in 1998, they lowered the bar of "high crimes and misdemeanors" as far as it could possibly go. Trump will be the gift that keeps on giving, and by the standards the Republicans set against Clinton, if he performs as badly as so many of us expect he will, Vice President Pence will become a very attractive alternative. And Republicans know this already.

So Miranda should forget about Federalist 68 — it's Hamilton's Federalist 65, with its discussion of impeachment, that we'll want to study.

Jack Rakove teaches history and political science at Stanford University. His book, "Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution," earned the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in History.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opin ... story.html


This GOP-Backed Law Forbids Donald Trump From Using Presidency For Personal Profit

Uh-oh.

12/13/2016 05:10 pm ET | Updated 1 hour ago

Christina Wilkie
White House Correspondent, The Huffington Post
Paul Blumenthal
Money in Politics Reporter, The Huffington Post


President-elect Donald Trump’s business empire represents an unprecedented source of conflicts of interest between his presidential duties and the hundreds of private companies he controls, which he has said he will not sell and will leave to his sons to run. Luckily for Trump, the president of the United States is exempt from most of the conflict of interest rules that govern other federal employees.

“In theory, I can be president of the United States and run my business 100 percent,” Trump bragged to The New York Times in November.

But a 2012 law called the STOCK Act could throw a wrench in Trump’s plan. A section of that law states that “no executive branch employee may use nonpublic information derived from [or acquired through] their position as an executive branch employee as a means for making a private profit.”

“The STOCK Act bars the President from: using nonpublic information for private profit,” the independent Office of Government Ethics, which handles executive branch ethics issues, wrote in a Monday letter to Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

The measure was originally designed to apply only to members of Congress. But Republicans — annoyed that it covered the GOP-controlled House and Senate but not the Obama administration — made sure to extend it to the executive branch, including the president and vice president.

Some 232 Republicans in the House and 44 in the Senate voted for the bill. Just four Republicans opposed it.

“Republicans in Congress thought, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,’ and they fought to make sure the president and the vice president were subject to all the provisions of the bill,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist at the nonprofit government watchdog Public Citizen, which helped draft the law. “Today the STOCK Act is one of the few government ethics laws that fully applies to the president and the vice president.”

In questions of ethics, the rules matter. “OGE guidance is very important for executive branch officials including the president,” Richard Painter, who served as top ethics lawyer to President George W. Bush, explained in an email. “When OGE interprets criminal statutes ― some of which apply to the president and some of which do not ― its views are very important and likely to be given substantial weight when the DOJ and courts interpret the statutes. Those who do not follow such advice do so at their own risk. This could also factor into a decision by the House to impeach an official who is subject to impeachment.”

The STOCK Act was created to prohibit members of Congress from trading on nonpublic information they obtained in the course of their duties. But the words “making a private profit” in the law could be read to mean any kind of private profit, not just one from the stock market, experts say.

“The STOCK Act is intended to prevent public officials from using their office for private gains, period. And unlike other similar laws, this one applies to the president and vice president,” said Brendan Fischer, associate counsel at the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center.

The bottom line is that if Trump were to use nonpublic information ― the kind that, as president, he would likely receive every few minutes ― to inform a decision he makes regarding one of his companies, he could find himself in violation of the STOCK Act, even if he wasn’t trading stocks.

But the OGE can’t discipline or fire the president. Only Congress can do that — through impeachment. And Congress is controlled by Trump’s party.

The STOCK Act’s rules against trading stocks based on nonpublic information are currently enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission, with penalties comparable to insider trading violations committed by the public.

These penalties “are very serious, and can be felonies,” Holman said. “But the SEC is quite frightened of Congress, and no doubt frightened of President Trump, so they’ve been reluctant to pursue cases against Congress. After all, it’s Congress that controls the purse strings and their budget.”

The same is true for the Office of Government Ethics, Fischer said. “They’re legally an independent agency, but the director is appointed by the president. It’ll be interesting to see if Trump’s administration will hold themselves to these same standards.”

“OGE’s involvement in ethics issues related to the President has significant limits,” the agency wrote in its letter to Carper. “A 1980 memorandum of understanding between OGE and the U.S. Department of Justice withholds from OGE authority to issue binding opinions on the statutory prohibition against bribery.”

Democratic Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.), an original sponsor of the 2012 STOCK Act, thinks it’s time to update the legislation.

“We’ve been trying to see how to revitalize this,” Walz told HuffPost. “Now more than ever, I think it’s absolutely appropriate ... to restore faith in the system [and] to have transparency in it.”

Asked whether he thinks the current STOCK Act is sufficient to prevent lawmakers from enriching themselves with insider knowledge, Walz hesitated. “I would have thought so once, and I’m not looking to embarrass the president-elect,” he said, “but the reason you ask for things like tax returns, or what you’re doing with your stocks, is to make sure people know that’s not happening.”

Trump has so far refused to release his tax returns to the public, breaking with decades of presidential protocol, and Trump’s transition team did not respond to questions from The Huffington Post about how he plans to comport with the requirements of the STOCK Act. Last week, Trump spokesman Jason Miller told reporters that Trump had sold all of his shares in public companies ― some $40 million worth ― six months ago.

But Miller refused to provide any evidence of the transactions, or to say what Trump did with the proceeds.

Because of Republican efforts, Section 9 of the STOCK Act instructs the OGE to issue legal guidance on how the prohibition on profiting from nonpublic information applies to the president and vice president. That guidance would apply to Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and all future presidents and vice presidents.

The OGE hasn’t issued that guidance yet, but Monday’s letter to Carper makes clear that the agency believes the law extended federal ethics rules regarding using nonpublic information for private profit to the president.

When the OGE did issue rules around the ban on employees using nonpublic information for private gain, it included examples to guide employees on their activity. The agency’s examples present clear lines on what Trump can and cannot do.

A government employee who learns that a company will be awarded a new contract cannot advise a friend, a family member or an acquaintance to purchase stock in that company. If someone has access to government contract information, they cannot disclose that contract information to someone else who is bidding on the same contract, nor can they help that person or company write their bid in a way that would make it more competitive when compared to the former bid.

The final example presented by the OGE is the one that creates the most problems for the president-elect. An employee of the Army Corps of Engineers involved with an environmental organization would be banned under the law from passing nonpublic information about, say, the construction of a dam to a member of that organization or to a reporter.

There is no shortage of nonpublic information that the president learns in the course of the job. With Trump’s financial interests, both current and future, implicated in domestic and foreign policy, there is little doubt the president will come across nonpublic information that will have an impact on his bottom line. Under this example, one leak to a reporter or one conversation with someone at the Trump Organization would implicate him in a felony violation of the STOCK Act.

Previous presidents have avoided this problem by selling their assets or putting them in a blind trust. Trump has said he will do neither.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tru ... 11bfd42094
Orb-struction of Justice
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Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Trump tweets while America roasts
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Dec 14, 2016 7:08 pm

Are Feds Ready To Seize Trump’s Hotel? Maybe?
Four House Democrats claimed in a letter Wednesday that the federal government might force Trump to divest from his DC hotel. The agency that oversees his contract appears to disagree.
Gideon Resnick
GIDEON RESNICK

12.14.16 1:27 PM ET
Donald Trump may have to give up his stake in his D.C. hotel—if only the federal government could agree on what they want to do about it.
Two weeks after Democrats in the House implored the General Services Administration—the federal agency leasing the Old Post Office Building to Trump for his Washington D.C. hotel—to take action on an inherent problem in the 2013 lease agreement, they seemed to have gotten the answer they wanted.
After a December 8 briefing, Democrats wrote in a letter to Denise Turner Roth, administrator of the GSA, released Wednesday, that a deputy commissioner briefed House Oversight and Government Affairs Democrats including Reps. Elijah Cummings, Peter DeFazio, Gerald Connolly and Andre Carson.
The GSA allegedly had come down hard on the president-elect—at least according to a nameless GSA “Deputy Public Building Service Commissioner” cited by Democrats in their letter .
“The Deputy Commissioner informed our staff that GSA assesses that Mr. Trump will be in breach of the lease agreement the moment he takes office on January 20, 2017, unless he fully divests himself of all financial interests in the lease for the Washington D.C. hotel,” the letter said.
Except, according to the GSA, that’s not what happened. At all.
“GSA does not have a position that the lease provision requires the President-elect to divest of his financial interests,” a spokesperson for the agency wrote in an email. “We can make no definitive statement at this time about what would constitute a breach of the agreement, and to do so now would be premature. In fact, no determination regarding the Old Post Office can be completed until the full circumstances surrounding the President-elect’s business arrangements have been finalized and he has assumed office. GSA is committed to responsibly administering all of the leases to which it is a party.”
Asked to clarify, the GSA spokesman did what most people would do: blame Congress.
“You will have to direct questions about the letter to the Members and their staff,” the spokesman replied.
Cummings then provided a statement to The Daily Beast standing by their letter and the information they received from the GSA employee.
“We understand GSA’s position that this breach has not yet occurred, will not occur until Donald Trump is sworn in as president, and is officially viewed as a ‘hypothetical’ issue until that time," the statement read. "We also share GSA’s hope that the agency will not have to address this issue if President-elect Trump divests his ownership in the lease before then. But the simple fact is that GSA informed our staffs that they interpret this lease provision as prohibiting any elected official from having any ownership interest in the lease, and we stand 100% behind our letter.”
A spokesman for Representative Jason Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, did not respond to a request for comment about the hotel and the letter.
The issue at play is that the lease agreement signed between the Trump Organization and the GSA stipulates that “no elected official” can be part of the lease, which creates an immediate problem when Trump takes office as the highest ranking elected official in the country. The Wednesday letter marks the first official recognition from a representative of the GSA that something must be done immediately about the obvious overlap between Trump’s business interests and his upcoming administration.
Perhaps what is more troubling is that according to the new letter, the Trump Organization has had no communication with the GSA about the conflict.
“The Deputy Commissioner informed our staffs that GSA received no communications from Mr. Trump or his associates about this issue after he won the election in November, when it became clear that a potential breach of this lease agreement was imminent,” the letter reads. Additionally, the letter contends that the GSA has informed the Trump transition team about their specific concerns but heard nothing back.

The legal counsel for the Trump Organization has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast. But, on a daily press call with the Trump transition team on Wednesday, spokesman Jason Miller simply said that the hotel issue would “come up in January,” at a press conference which is intended to detail how Trump will address his business interests. (It was delayed for a month after initially being scheduled on December 15).
But experts, like Steven Schooner, a professor of government procurement law at the George Washington University Law School, previously told The Daily Beast that it would be fairly easy to have another major hotel chain take over the lease.
“Best solution: GSA and Trump (quickly) agree to transfer (or as we say, novate) the entire agreement/contract/lease to another company,” he wrote in an email. “Marriott comes to mind. They’re headquartered in the DC metropolitan area, and they operate dozens of hotels in the area. This property could be re-branded as a JW Marriott, Ritz Carlton, a St. Regis, an Autograph Collection, or maybe even an Edition. Who cares? Easy.”
He added that “leaving the building vacant would be better than the current, sordid situation which makes the U.S. Government resemble a Banana Republic.”
In order to investigate the inherent conflict further, House Democrats are requesting additional documents from the GSA by December 20, including monthly expense and profit projections, legal memos regarding conflicts of interests and a list of any currently available unleased space in the hotel.
Until then, experts perceive the letter as a step in the right direction. At least, assuming the different branches of the GSA are in fact in agreement.
“Kudos to the Deputy Commissioner of GSA's Public Building Service for doing the right thing,” Schooner said in an email to The Daily Beast. “It's not easy to be at odds with the Trump organization, as many have seen, so let's not gloss over the fact that credit is due here.”
He found the Trump Organization’s lack of a gameplan for the hotel to be “extraordinary.”
“Whether unbridled arrogance or basic incompetence, it's quite simply unacceptable,” Schooner said. “Remember, this lease was signed in 2013, and Trump announced his candidacy more than a year before the election. That can only mean that the Trump organization has never seriously considered appropriate risk mitigation strategies and solutions in the $180 million dollar, high profile, long term agreement with the U.S Government. That's a devastating indictment.”
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2 ... maybe.html


Why Donald Trump's potential conflicts of interest are so important
Trump’s cancelled news conference heightens concerns over possible consequences of blurred boundaries between presidency and business dealings
trump
Donald Trump claimed that he would remove himself from business operations but recent developments draw scrutiny to his pledge. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP
Tom McCarthy
Wednesday 14 December 2016 06.00 EST

Donald Trump’s cancellation of a news conference about potential conflicts of interest between his presidency and his business dealings has only sharpened concerns. With roughly one month to go until the inauguration, a sense of urgency is building around Trump’s need to clarify his plans for his business.

The perceived hazard is not only potential self-dealing by Trump – who could conceivably use the presidency to boost his real estate developments at home or abroad, guide justice department activity, or renegotiate debts or leases – but also potential blackmail or bribery of Trump or his family members or associates based on their significant debts or other liabilities around the world.

Nobody knows, exactly, because Trump has not released his tax returns, thereby hiding what he owns and what he owes. Any such analysis as presented in this Q&A, in fact, proceeds in moonless darkness. But financial disclosures by Trump, a few extant tax documents, and estimates of Trump’s assets by Forbes, which in September pegged Trump’s net worth at $3.7bn, and others give us a picture to work with.

Can’t a president be in business?
Yes. The nonpartisan Office of Government Ethics advised Congress on Tuesday that “it has been the consistent policy of the executive branch that a President should conduct himself ‘as if’ he were bound by ... financial conflict of interest law”. But it’s not clear that the president is in fact bound by said law. (There’s not much precedent here to work with.) The emoluments clause of the constitution bans gifts from foreign entities to US officeholders, but there’s some debate about whether the clause applies to the presidency. Trump himself does not believe that the law “mandates” that he leave his businesses.

What’s the worst that could happen?
That’s a tough one. Trump may scrupulously avoid using his political power to grow his fortune, to do his friends favors, or to benefit his children. Or he may commit an unprecedented ethics violation. The nature of such a potential violation is easy to imagine, although the examples we list here are speculative.

Trump could sign a weapons deal in exchange for a write-down on the hundreds of millions of dollars his companies owe to foreign banks. Trump could turn a blind eye on a Russian incursion in Estonia after his long-desired tower project in Moscow suddenly gets the green light, in what is publicized as the first business mega-score of the Donald Jr-Eric Trump team. Trump’s administration could drop a protest about human rights abuses in the Philippines after his Manila real estate project gets a valuable easement or some such boost. A Trump-appointed director of the general services administration could decide for some reason to shrink the lease the Trump organization must pay the federal government to run its hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington DC.

We should emphasize that we’re not accusing Trump of being inclined to or capable of any of this – we’re just spitballing here. Trump’s willingness to allow questions to linger about whether he will divest from his businesses, after announcing that he would answer those questions definitively, is no discouragement to the imagination on this score.

Calm down. Trump is a patriot who loves America and would not subjugate its interests to his own

Trump's conflicts of interest: a visual guide
Read more
The level of risk of Trump’s conduct as an entrepreneur bleeding into his conduct as president is unclear. How strong is Trump’s desire to make money? His previous attempts at self-enrichment have ranged from casinos to branded liquor to a sketchy university.

Understand that the potential hazard here is not only Trump’s greed. Money he owes foreign banks, or secret foreign investors, or domestic banks or investors – or his desire to protect his assets abroad, or to create a favorable climate for the growth of those assets – or something we don’t know about could make him or his family members vulnerable to pressures from actors less scrupulous than he may be.

What does Trump intend to do?
We don’t know. He has made multiple statements. His lawyer, Michael Cohen, said two days after the election that Trump’s assets would be put in a “blind trust” to be managed by his three oldest children. Many experts have pointed out that it’s not blind if you know what’s in there and have a sense for how it’s run. The appointment of Trump’s children to his transition team further eroded their status as potential independent managers.

On 30 November, Trump unleashed a Twitter storm announcing the news conference he cancelled Tuesday. “I will be holding a major news conference in New York City with my children on December 15 to discuss the fact that I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” Trump tweeted. “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

Donald J. Trump
(@realDonaldTrump)
Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!

November 30, 2016
On 12 December, Trump announced a new plan, and said he was busy.

“Even though I am not mandated by law to do so, I will be leaving my busineses [sic] before January 20th so that I can focus full time on the Presidency,” Trump tweeted. “Two of my children, Don and Eric, plus executives, will manage them. No new deals will be done during my term(s) in office.”

Donald J. Trump
(@realDonaldTrump)
I will hold a press conference in the near future to discuss the business, Cabinet picks and all other topics of interest. Busy times!

December 13, 2016
The timing was left vague. Trump’s spokeswoman said the news conference would be left until next month.

What’s Congress doing about this?
Twenty-three senators – not even half of the Democratic caucus – sent a letter to Trump on Tuesday calling on him to divest his business holdings and insisting: “Whether the President of the United States makes decisions about potential trade agreements or sending troops into war, the American people need to know that their President is acting in their best interest.

“In your public statements, you have referenced that the President is not subject to the restrictions of federal conflict of interest laws,” the letter read in part. “However, we understand the Office of Government Ethics has advised presidents across administrations to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with federal conflict of interest laws and standards of conduct regulations. The President is subject to the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution, which will prohibit payments or gifts to your businesses by entities owned by foreign governments.”

Analysis Russia and conflicts of interest: Rex Tillerson embodies quandaries for Trump
President-elect and his pick for secretary of state both face trial by fire over business deals and links to Moscow, amid claims of election interference
Read more
Separately, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings asked the government to open an investigation of possible conflicts of interest for Trump in his transition to the presidency and after he takes office.

“At this point, it is not clear if the line between Mr Trump’s Presidency and his and business ventures is blurred – or entirely nonexistent,” the two said in a 23 November letter to the comptroller general asking for a review by the Government Accountability Office.

The letter continued:

Several weeks ago, the general counsel for the Trump Organization, Michael Cohen, explained that Mr Trump will transfer management of the Trump Organization to his adult children, who will run the company “through a blind trust”. But claims that Mr Trump’s will set up a “blind” trust do not appear to be consistent with the meaning of that term or with legal requirements that apply to such trusts. A qualified blind trust, which must be approved by the Office of Government Ethics, would allow Mr Trump to forgo reporting the details of some assets in his financial disclosures. The Ethics in Government Act explicitly prohibits Mr Trump’s children from managing such a trust. The Act requires that, “Any officer or employee of a trustee or other entity who is involved in the management or control of the trust of a qualified trust” not be “a relative of any interested party”. To date, there has been no information released to the public indicating that Mr Trump has prepared a blind trust.



[/quote]
Orb-struction of Justice
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Trump tweets while America roasts
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Re: The Impeachment of President Donald J Trump

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:33 pm

Pressure on Kuwait to move event to Trump hotel a ‘paradigm impeachable offense’
“A grave abuse of executive power.”


https://thinkprogress.org/pressure-on-k ... .eknys3qer
Orb-struction of Justice
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
Nero fiddled while Rome burned and Trump tweets while America roasts
BE CAREFUL THE NOTHINGBURGER YOU ARE EATING HAS BEEN POISONED
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