consultants are sandburs

Monday, June 12, 2017

Trump learned from Roy Cohn the tactic of dropping lawsuits hither and yon, and now . . .

. . . chickens come home to roost? In the WaPo item:

If a federal judge allows the case to proceed, Racine and Frosh say, one of the first steps will be to demand through the discovery process copies of Trump’s personal tax returns to gauge the extent of his foreign business dealings. That fight would most likely end up before the Supreme Court, the two said, with Trump’s attorneys having to defend why the returns should remain private.

“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Frosh said. To fully know the extent of Trump’s constitutional violations “we’ll need to see his financial records, his taxes that he has refused to release.”

Racine said he felt obligated to sue Trump in part because the Republican-controlled Congress has not taken the president’s apparent conflicts seriously.

“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” he said.

(When suggesting discovery of Trump tax returns, "checks and balances" seems an apt term.) WaPo reports that more litigation is in the pipes:

The constitutional question D.C. and Maryland will put before a federal judge is whether Trump’s business ownership amount to violations of parts of the Constitution known as the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses.

[...] The lawsuit, to be filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, will be the latest and most significant legal challenge to Trump over the issue of emoluments. The first was filed in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a D.C.-based watchdog group. In March, a D.C. restaurant sued Trump, alleging the new Trump International Hotel in D.C. benefits from unfair advantages because of its close association with the president. And last week, a group of Democratic members of Congress said they plan to file suit soon. Each, however, has faced legal hurdles over standing to sue the president.

In the Trump administration’s most detailed response yet, the Department of Justice filed a 70-page legal brief on Friday arguing the CREW lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration said Trump’s businesses are legally permitted to accept payments from foreign governments while he is in office. [...] going all the way back to farm produce sold abroad by George Washington — to assert that market-rate payments for Trump’s real estate, hotel and golf companies do not constitute emoluments as defined by the Constitution.


Racine and Frosh, however, argue Trump’s violations are on scale never seen before and that both D.C. and Maryland are being adversely affected by the Trump hotel near the White House.

[...] Maryland argues that it has special standing to sue. As one of the original states that approved the Constitution, Maryland gave up a clause in its own state declaration that had required its governors not to take any gifts from foreign governments or other states.

[...] Strict adherence to the emoluments clauses, D.C. and Maryland argue, “ensure that Americans do not have to guess whether a President who orders their sons and daughters to die in foreign lands acts out of concern for his private business interests; they do not have to wonder if they lost their job due to trade negotiations in which the President has a personal stake; and they never have to question whether the President can sit across the bargaining table from foreign leaders and faithfully represent the world’s most powerful democracy, unencumbered by fear of harming his own companies.”

The suit seeks an injunction to force Trump to stop violating the Constitution, but leaves it up to the court to decide how that should be accomplished.

WaPo posts a link to the actual court filing; online here. Of interest, it appears the Justice Department is representing the billionaire, with him not having to pay his own litigation expenses? There was a Bubba Clinton Legal Defense Fund, back then, when, apparently, litigation costs were privatized.

Trump wants the public to carry his weight, hence, research might be needed on why Bubba's situation was apparently different. (Somebody interested enough should pursue that question.)

And I thought Republicans want stuff privatized. Perhaps there's some devilish detail at play?

UPDATE: It seems the same shoe fits Kushner. Why is he not being sued; he took some form of oath of office, didn't he?

FURTHER: The CREW suit, online here. Brookings paper, same topic, here. Reporting from January, 2017.

Nelson Rockefeller was VP back after Ford pardoned Nixon and Agnew was bypassed; and with his net worth, how did he skate? Aside from being one of the elite which is now suing Trump, is it a distinction without a difference? After Attica Rockefeller had, in the minds of some, more baggage than Trump ever will have.

FURTHER: Without pretending to have studied sources, the CREW v Trump suit has a Wikipedia page.

Second Amended Complaint, CREW v Trump, here.

Internet Archive materials, here; specifically having DOJ response items, Motion to Dismiss, and Memorandum in Support of Motion, i.e., the Trump (via DOJ) responsive papers.

The Archive items were found as linked to from here. There is much reporting online, without further linking, readers are encouraged to do their own research. Because of the recency of the motion/memorandum, June 9, 2017; the CREW response is unavailable until filed, with a future deadline.

For a hoot, here. Yep. Nothing there. Perhaps due to a lack of search term specificity: "CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBILITY AND ETHICS IN WASHINGTON, Plaintiff, v. DONALD J. TRUMP, in his official capacity as President."

Surely not evasiveness by the Sessions' minions. Downplaying what's unwelcome? Not that. Not from JB.

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