Tuesday, December 20, 2016

So, No Conflicts of Interest Between President-Elect Trump and Foreign Entities, Um

Newly Renovated and Opened in Washington, DC 
(Already the Center of Turmoil)

There is an old cliché that applies when there are so many things to discuss that one is compelled to say while seemingly lost: “I feel like a mosquito in a nudist camp – I don't know where to begin.”

I don t know where to begin except at the beginning with this introduction from three excellent sources: first here from TPM and that site has links to two other sources: Think Progress here and the Washington Post here.

More will follow I am sure from other reputable sources as this story grows, which I pretty sure it will. So, here goes, first from TPM:

The Embassy of Kuwait abruptly changed the location of its upcoming National Day celebration to the President-elect’s Trump International Hotel in the wake of the election, Think Progress reported on Monday, December 19, 2017.

According to an anonymous source with knowledge of the arrangements and documentary evidence reviewed by the news site, the Kuwaiti embassy recently canceled a contract with the Four Seasons Washington, DC branch, which has hosted their National Day event for years.

The source further told Think Progress that embassy officials decided to move the event to Trump International under pressure from Trump Organization staffers.

Key parts of that story (from TPM):

Abdul-Aziz Alqadfan, first secretary of the Embassy of Kuwait, would not “confirm or deny” to Think Progress that the National Day event had been moved to the Trump International Hotel. A spokeswoman for the hotel also declined to comment.
The Washington Post (part) reported earlier that the Trump International Hotel hosted some 100 foreign diplomats for a reception in mid-November. Then a few days later, Kuwait canceled its contract with the Four Seasons, according to Think Progress.
Other organizations and officials have been unabashed in their efforts to curry favor with Trump through the hotel, which is housed in a building that the Trump Organization leases from the federal government.
Foreign dignitaries openly have admitted that they were booking rooms at the hotel in a friendly gesture to the President-elect; Azerbaijan and Bahrain announced receptions there; and the conservative Heritage Foundation reserved it for an event with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
Ethics experts and the GSA, which owns the building that houses the hotel, have told Trump that he should revoke ownership of the hotel before inauguration day.
FYI: The Trump Organization’s lease with the Federal government (GSA) explicitly states that no elected U.S. official may benefit from it.
Now that Trump will directly benefit, what does that mean precisely for him in layman’s terms for example? Pretty simple really, and stated this way from the Think Progress portion of this story:
Donald J. Trump and the businesses he owns and controls do not seem concerned about mixing his business and official activities, and he has said: “The law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can’t have a conflict of interest.” (He once told the New York Times).
To a certain extent, he is correct, and although the president is exempt from some conflict-of-interest laws, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) recently identified nine federal conflict of interest and ethics provisions that could apply to any president, including Donald J. Trump.
One large one looms large over this apparent hotel deal with the Kuwaitis, and that is the The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits the president from receiving money from any foreign government or head of state, which he would certainly do in this case. And, according to Democratic and Republican legal experts alike, such a payment is not only unconstitutional, it’s an impeachable offense.
At this point a Rick Perry “Oops” might be in order, you think?
All I can is that a lot of people discussed this very aspect for prior to the general election for months but it did not take root for obvious reasons, which it has – he was not president or even president-elect during those questionable times. Now however, he is going to be sworn into office on January 20, 2017.
I don’t think the country is ready for this or ready for Donald J. Trump under these questionable and quite frankly, sleazy terms and conditions. What do you think? 
Certainly stay tuned as I always say… this is serious stuff. 
Thanks for stopping by.

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