President-elect Donald Trump’s global business interests continue to come under intense scrutiny, with two top ethics lawyers saying the Electoral College must reject Trump on December 19 if he does not divest his holdings and establish a truly blind trust.
Norman Eisen, chief ethics counsel for Barack Obama, told ThinkProgress this week that “the founders did not want any foreign payments to the president. Period.”
“This principle,” explained ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum, “is enshrined in Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which bars office holders from accepting ‘any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.'” The provision, he said, is aimed at limiting foreign influence over the president.
However, according to Legum:
Citing Trump’s recent statements to the New York Times, Eisen added to the Guardian on Sunday:
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In turn, “to vote for Trump in the absence of such complete divestment…would represent an abdication of the solemn duties of the 538 electors,” said Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe to ThinkProgress, concurring with Eisen’s analysis of Trump’s holdings.
“Trump’s ongoing business dealings around the world would make him the recipient of constitutionally prohibited ‘Emoluments‘ from ‘any King, Prince, or foreign State’— in the original sense of payments and not necessarily presents or gifts — from the very moment he takes the oath,” Tribe said.
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