By Jon Dougherty
(NationalSentinel) House Democrats desperate to find something they can use against President Donald Trump are warning foreign governments not to do any business with properties the president owns because they claim it is unconstitutional.
The warning came in the form of guidance and was sent to all Democratic staffers on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Washington Times reports, adding that it originated with Chairman Eliot Engel.
“When meeting with officials from a foreign government, please inform them that by providing any form of payment or benefit to a Trump-owned property their government is facilitating the president’s apparent violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” Engel wrote in the staff memo.
The normally ‘gentlemanly’ Eliot also wrote that foreign governments should consider his directive a “cease and desist” order, and comes as Democrats are becoming increasingly hostile to the president ahead of the 2020 elections.
Democrats have launched a legal battle against Trump Properties, claiming that the president making money from foreign entities that use his properties is a violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments clause. The president remains in control of his businesses, but he has turned over day-to-day operations to his family.
That said, one federal court has already tossed a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia after claiming that neither party had legal standing to sue the president.
But another suit, this one brought by Democrats, has been allowed to proceed, even though the judge in the case hasn’t ruled that the president is in violation of the Constitution, the Times noted.
With the Muller probe over and the ‘Russian collusion’ narrative dead and buried, Democrats appear desperate ahead of 2020 to pin something on Trump, though questions over potential violations of the Emoluments clause of percolated since the president took office. Engel said Trump is perhaps the richest person to ever have won the presidency, adding he would have been better off had he simply placed his businesses in a blind trust.
The Emoluments clause was designed by the founders to prevent foreign governments from influencing the Executive Branch. It is contained in Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 and says: “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.”
Democrats claim that any time a foreign government stays in a Trump hotel they are essentially bribing the president. But it’s an argument that hasn’t gained much traction yet.
As for Engel’s warning, it’s not clear that foreign governments will heed it and there isn’t much he or fellow Democrats can do to enforce it. Still, it does show the frustration of Democrats to link the president to some sort of impeachable offense, which is, of course, their objective.
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