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Daily Caller Op-ed: Foreign Emoluments Clause Lawsuit Against Trump Unlikely To Find Traction In Court

President Trump’s detractors are bent on forcing him into a fire sale of his vast business empire, arguing his ownership of various assets violates the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. That clause prohibits federal officials from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or Foreign State.” The Framers considered an “emolument” as something similar to a perk associated with the performance of official duties. An automobile given by a head of state to the ambassador from the U.S. would be a classic example of an emolument prohibited by the clause.

Just three days after President Trump was sworn into office, the liberal activist group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) filed a lawsuit demanding the courts force him to divest the bulk of his business holdings. The complaint alleges Mr. Trump’s ownership of real estate assets such as The Trump Tower in New York and Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and his receipt of royalties from the Television program “The Apprentice” qualify as emoluments that create conflicts of interests making him beholden to foreign governments.

The unprecedented legal theory of the case is that President Trump’s properties generate at least some receipts from foreign officials and governments, meaning some of those receipts will eventually find their way into Mr. Trump’s pocket as profits. Consequently, according to the lawsuit, the Emoluments Clause bars him from owning those assets because his judgment as President may be compromised by the profits he receives from foreign payments to his companies.

While the lawsuit drew major media coverage when it was filed, the case is unlikely to find traction in the courts. Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/09/foreign-emoluments-clause-lawsuit-against-trump-unlikely-to-find-traction-in-court/


Wash Exam: Dems should think twice before delaying Trump's Supreme Court nomination

Democrats should think twice before using parliamentary tactics to delay or block President-elect Donald Trump's forthcoming nominee for the Supreme Court. The American people know the difference between holding up a nomination that would change the ideological balance of the court in the midst of a presidential election and denying the new president the opportunity to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia with a qualified conservative.

When Scalia passed away last February, high stakes Supreme Court politics were injected into an already contentious presidential election season. With the high court down to eight justices and the specter of many 4-4 deadlocked decisions on the horizon, President Obama wasted no time nominating liberal federal Judge Merrick Garland as his choice to succeed Scalia. Liberals sensed an enormous opportunity to score some controversial 5-4 court victories, which before Scalia's death would not have been possible.

To his credit, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood tall and shut down any hope that Garland would get a hearing before the presidential election when he unequivocally stated: "the next justice could fundamentally alter the direction of the Supreme Court and have a profound impact on our country, so of course the American people should have a say in the court's direction ..."

Democratic leaders smelled blood in the water and attempted to make McConnell's principled position an election issue. Attack ads were launched trying to convince Republican senators in close races to embrace a hearing for Garland. Democrats dreamed of Hillary Clinton scoring political points nationally with a "stop blocking Garland" line of attack against GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. As it turned out, the American people would have none of it. Donald Trump was elected president with 306 electoral votes and swing state senators on the ballot like Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Rob Portman of Ohio, Richard Burr of North Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida all prevailed — as did Trump on top of the ticket in each of these critically important electoral states.

The American people said loud and clear that they wanted a Republican president and a Republican-led Senate to pick Scalia's replacement. Hillary Clinton's stated judicial priorities, such as overturning free speech rights granted in the Citizens United case and severely limiting the Second Amendment, were of great concern to voters. The election confirmed what conservatives had hoped was the case: Putting a liberal on the bench to replace Scalia would tip the balance of the court too far to the left.

The election notwithstanding, bitter Democrats are now threatening to block President-elect Trump's Supreme Court choice — apparently whoever it turns out to be — as revenge for the Republican strategy with regard to Merrick Garland's nomination. "Past is present, and what goes around comes around," is how Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently put it.

This strategy — if employed — is a big risk for Democrats. In 2018, 23 Senate seats currently occupied by Democrats are up for election. Two more are occupied by independents who caucus with the Democrats. Ten of those Senate seats are in states carried by Donald Trump. If Senate Democrats try to block President-elect Trump's nominee to replace Scalia, they will face the wrath of voters in those states, voters who clearly understand what is at stake. The outcome could leave Democrats with 40 or fewer Senate seats following the 2018 elections, a result that would give Republicans a filibuster-proof majority in the upper house.

The truth is that even with Scalia on the bench, the court was hardly a surefire 5-4 conservative majority, when you consider the recent Obamacare and gay marriage rulings. At most, the anticipated Trump selection will maintain the balance as it was prior to Scalia's passing, while Merrick Garland would have moved the court to the left. The Democrats should question the wisdom of moving to block our new president's Supreme Court pick for some sort of misguided political revenge.

J.T. Mastranadi is vice president for governmental affairs at Citizens United.


National Review: McConnell Can Make Super PACs Obsolete

As Congress and the Obama White House work to enact a funding bill to avoid yet another possible government shutdown, a rift has developed within the conservative community.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would like to repeal the limits on how much political parties may spend in coordination with their candidates. The congressional Freedom Caucus is skeptical of the proposal, because party spending is often heavily tilted toward “establishment” candidates. Other conservative groups, such as the Center for Competitive Politics, enthusiastically back the measure, saying the limits are unconstitutional.

To read more, click here.


Breitbart: Conservatives Should Think Bigger On Immigration Ban

Donald Trump is right.

We are at war and our homeland security and immigration policies are a complete mess. The Syrian refugee issue and the Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have kick-started a much needed debate and have brought some alarming information to the American people.

It starts with basic government incompetence and the suffocating PC culture that Republican and Democrat establishment leaders are slaves to along with the liberal media. Hopefully Trump’s policy idea will start a substantive conversation, because does anyone believe that the United States Government has a firm grasp on who is trying to come into our country, who is already in our country, and what they are doing when they get here?

Couple that with President Obama’s total lack of interest in securing America and we find ourselves in the midst of a perfect storm.

The next president should enact an immigration moratorium or strict quotas across the board.

To read more, click here.


Breitbart: Don’t let Quentin Tarantino off the Hook

Quentin Tarantino must be concerned about the prospects of his upcoming movie, The Hateful Eight.

Why else would he go on television last week to backtrack and claim he’s “not anti-police” and “not a cop-hater”? Tarantino’s disgraceful public comments about police officers have created a backlash and rightfully so.

But just because Tarantino is feeling pressure from Hollywood bosses to rectify the situation doesn’t mean Americans should let him off the hook. Decent-minded Americans from across the political spectrum must boycott this film to make the statement that our police men and women are heroes, and that out of touch blowhards like Tarantino won’t get one cent of our money.

There are a lot of phony wars being promoted by liberals such as the war on women and war on minorities, but one of the real wars being waged by the Left is against hardworking and professional police officers across the United States.

To read more, click here.


Bretbart News: OVERSIGHT IS A CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY

In 1973, when Senate Watergate Committee counsel Fred Thompson famously asked, “Mr. Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president?” the committee was under extreme pressure from the Nixon White House. Even in the face of a constitutional crisis, the committee plowed ahead and fulfilled its core constitutional duty of executive branch oversight within our system of checks and balances. The committee went on to prove that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States.

Today, congressional investigators are under a lot of pressure as well. On Thursday a Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, when asked about the possibility of a thorough investigation into the Clinton email allegations, said, “They really don’t want to [mess] with us on this. Trust me.” This public threat from a Democrat Member of Congress tells me all I need to know about the still-unfolding Clinton email situation. Democrats are worried sick about the specter of a public congressional fact-finding investigation running parallel to the ongoing FBI investigation. But threats such as this – and there will be more – must not trump doing what is right, and that is to move forward with the investigation in Congress.

To read more, click here.


Washington Times: Why Congress needs to keep probing the Clinton cash register

The former first couple has been commingling public and personal business for years

Now that Hillary Clinton’s much anticipated congressional testimony is in the rearview mirror, the House Select Committee on Benghazi can move toward completing its investigation and issuing a final report. It’s also an appropriate time to urge standing congressional committees on both sides of the Capitol to press new investigations into a crony capitalism network the Clintons built inside the State Department. They ran a political cash register that blurred the lines between official government business and private enrichment and left behind many unanswered ethical questions.

The blueprint for this shakedown machine is laid bare in emails that the group I head, Citizens United, has been able to force into the public domain through Freedom of Information Act requests and subsequent lawsuits. Over the past several months, Citizens United has released many of these never-before-seen emails, and it prompted me to reminisce about the past

To read more, click here.


Breitbart: PAUL RYAN’S FORK IN THE ROAD

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has an opportunity as the new Speaker of the House, but it’s going to take courage to stand up to the failed status quo in Washington. He’s well equipped to make the pivot, if he’s willing to show some guts. He’s already seen firsthand what failed business as usual on Capitol Hill looks like, where things like trillion dollar backroom deals, more debt, no real debate, and less accountability have become the order of the day. The dismal record of the past seven years has caused enough frustration to force millions of Americans to give up hope on the idea that government can make competent decisions.

As soon as Paul Ryan gets handed the Speaker’s gavel, he’s going to arrive at a fork in the road. One direction is the easy path forward, which is more of the same; bowing to President Obama’s threats, legislating from crisis to crisis, and punishing Members for voting their conscience. The other direction is much more difficult. That direction calls for seizing the initiative by making Congress once again a co-equal branch of government. The conservative majority in the House of Representatives can re-assume control of the public policy debate in this country.

To read more, click here.


Breitbart: KING BARACK STRIKES AGAIN

Back in November, I penned an op-ed entitled “King Barack I.” In that piece, I expressed outrage over President Obama’s unconstitutional executive action regarding amnesty and illegal immigration. Thankfully, that disastrous plan has been stopped in federal court earlier this year – for the moment. Now, with only 15 months to go in his hopeless presidency, King Barack the First is turning his attention to unilateral action on gun control. Because his party only has a small minority in Congress, and gun control does not have anywhere near the popular support necessary to motivate lawmakers to risk limiting 2nd Amendment rights, the king appears poised to go around Congress again.

Monarchical efforts such as this by an imperial presidency have no place in our constitutional republic, but on this occasion Mr. Obama has overplayed his hand and has set himself and his fellow leftists up for a backlash from Americans across the political spectrum. Announcing that he would “politicize” the Oregon shooting to further his unpopular gun beliefs on the same day the tragedy occurred, and before any solid facts were released, was an overzealous blunder by an unchecked king. Most Americans have a keen sense of decency, and this move by Obama will be seen as anything but. Only out of touch liberals living in gated communities or The New York Times editorial board could see nothing wrong with the President’s rush to immediately politicize the horrific shooting rampage in Oregon.

To read more, click here.


Breitbart: THE MCCONNELL MELTDOWN

During the primary season of 2012, Senator Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)50% was expecting millions in establishment cash to propel Texas’ Lt. Governor David Dewhurst to the United States Senate. Dewhurst, in McConnell’s mind, would be another political asset for him, in his decades-long dream to become Senate Majority Leader. Dewhurst looked and acted the part. McConnell envisioned Dewhurst would become part of the establishment in the U.S. Senate and most importantly, someone who would never stand up to McConnell or confront the failed status quo.

But on July 31, 2012, conservative grassroots voters in Texas had a different idea. Those Texans were truly ahead of the curve; they already knew what millions now know so well – that Washington is broken and that Americans are being lied to by career politicians like Mitch McConnell. Those courageous voters listened to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)96% ’s message of speaking truth to power and sent him to the United States Senate. This was certainly a historic election for anti-establishment forces. However, no one could have foreseen just how critically important it would turn out to be.

To read more, click here.


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Daily Caller Op-ed: Foreign Emoluments Clause Lawsuit Against Trump Unlikely To Find Traction In Court

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Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation join amicus brief in support of President Trump’s immigration order

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