America A. T. – Part Nine

The following is the ninth installment in a series of undetermined duration and frequency about life in America after Trump (A.T.).

There is a silver lining in every cloud and the cloud commonly known as the Trump administration has highlighted several flaws in the American governmental system that need to be repaired. I’d like to concentrate on one of them today. Let’s explore.

The Founders put what has proven to be an inadequate Emoluments Clause in the original Constitution in the belief that it along with a patriotic Congress would prevent a president from personally profiting from their office. Aided by a complaint and thereby complicit Republican majority in the Senate, Trump has made a travesty of the Emoluments Clause.

Trump has repeatedly traveled to Trump owned properties for weekend getaways and vacations while billing the American taxpayers for the associated costs. The profits from those endeavors flowed back into his pockets.

Every time the president moves it is news. Therefore the press has covered the moves advertising the Trump properties in the process. Remember we paid for those junkets and the advertising was free.

Trump has a hotel with his name on it within easy walking distance of the White House. If you were lobbying the administration (whether on the behalf of a foreign or domestic entity) where would you sleep, eat and drink? It doesn’t take a genius to figure that starting a conversation off with how nice the staff at the hotel treated you and/or how fine the meal you ate there was would be pleasing to the person you were asking a favor of. It’s kind of like driving a GM car to a meeting where you sought to sell GM raw materials.

There have been a plethora of stories about how Trump is profiting and propping up failing enterprises by basically extorting tributes. Now we have a recent report that his children are engaged in similar activities requiring the Secret Service to spend money with entities they own.

A future Congress will have to very specifically codify the illegality of such activities and outline civil if not criminal punishments.

The immediate problem is having a truly independent Attorney General who will apply the law fairly. With Attorney General/Consigliere Bill Barr we certainly don’t have that situation. A future Congress may have to enact legislation making the Attorney General much more independent of the president. That may have to go so far as to make the Attorney General an independently elected office. (Most states elect their AG separately from their Governor.)

In the current situation, very much including Trump and Barr, we have an administration looking for what it can get away with by virtue of situation or loophole instead of looking out for the interests of the American citizens.

There is a myth that a sitting president cannot be indicted for a federal crime. This is simply an internal Department of Justice memo dating back to the Nixon administration that has never been tested in court. (Any legal test would certainly end up before the Supreme Court.) Congress needs to pass legislation holding a sitting president liable to prosecution for a crime(s) committed while in office. The basis for that is the (of late seemingly ignored) American legal principle that no person is above the law.

All I’m asking for in today’s article is an independent federal justice system and a law abiding chief executive. Is that asking too much in America? I certainly hope it is not!

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