The US House, as authorized by the president, released the controversial memo by Rep. David Nunes (R-CA) today despite protests from our nation’s intelligence services claiming that omissions of fact render it as nothing but partisan propaganda. Nunes, the supposed author of the document, has NOT read the underlying investigative documents upon which he claims his memo is based. Sadly, Speaker Ryan, second in line to the presidency, believes it’s appropriate to promote Nunes’ propaganda to “the base.” The Democratic rebuttal may or may not be released dependent of the whims of the man occupying the oval office and whether he thinks it appropriate for the American People to have that information.
U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) called on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General John Roth to conduct an investigation into whether President Trump has violated the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution by using DHS funds for security when he and his family’s travel also potentially enriches his private business holdings. As the senators noted, President Trump has refused to establish a blind trust for his vast business assets, raising significant potential for conflicts of interest and risking the perception that he is using the presidency for his family’s private gain.
For example, when the President visits his private club, Mar-a-Lago, which is still operating as a business, he brings with him staff, Secret Service, and military aides. If DHS is using its resources to pay Mar-a-Lago for rooms or other expenses, such an arrangement allows the president to personally profit off of every vacation he takes to his properties. A similar problem arises when Secret Service accompanies the Trump children on Trump Organization business trips, and potentially when it provides security for Trump Tower in New York City. The senators highlighted that any payment for goods or services from the federal government to the Trump Organization amounts to a violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause.
Distinct from the Foreign Emoluments Clause, the Domestic Emoluments Clause is contained in Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution, which reads “The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
Emolument has been interpreted to mean any profit from taxpayer resources.
The Mar-a-Lago controversy is just one of the many examples of ways that the president may be directing federal resources to benefit his and his families interests, the senators stated.
The senators wrote, “as you know, President Trump has not maintained this tradition of transparency and accountability. Instead, he placed his vast business holdings in a fully revocable trust that is overseen by Donald Trump, Jr. and one of President Trump’s longtime business associates, Allen Weisselberg. President Trump’s two adult sons manage the Trump Organization businesses, but the President is the trust’s named beneficiary and maintains the control to revoke the trust or change the management at any time.”
“This arrangement raises significant potential for conflicts of interest and risks the perception that President Trump is exploiting his public office for his family’s private gain,” the senators continued.
The president’s vacations to “Mar-a-Lago highlight the significant potential conflicts of interest that exist due to the President’s refusal to divest his assets and place them in a blind trust. The Secret Service expenses potentially incurred to stay at Mar-a-Lago are just one example of the numerous likely conflicts that will arise that involve using Department of Homeland Security (DHS) resources in a way that privately benefits the President and his family. We believe your office must conduct a thorough investigation into these issues and continuously monitor the potential for conflicts and violations of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution during President Trump’s term,” the senators added.
Here’s the full text of the letter:
Given that Nevada’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism, Rep. Dina Titus (NV-CD1) sent an official letter today to Nevada’s Attorney General, Adam Laxalt, imploring that he join with other states’ AGs to oppose and reject the president’s executive edict discriminating against not just Muslims entering our country (for business or vacation) from seven specific middle eastern majority-muslim countries, but an edict that impacts individuals who have lived in our country for years and who have “green cards” identifying them as LEGAL resident aliens.
So far all we’ve heard from Mr. Laxalt is crickets, but for the moment, let’s talk a little bit about Green Card holders.
Muslim GREEN CARD holders, meaning resident LEGAL aliens, who just happen to have gained their “right to life” through the misfortune of being born in certain countries our apprentice president wants to scapegoat, have been prohibited from reentering the country for 90 days if they happened to be traveling. They were detained at airports and prohibited from returning to their homes.
Do you understand what this means?
It means that if they have lived in New Jersey for 20 years with their family and were just unlucky enough to have been traveling for business or just merely on vacation, they are now forbidden to return HOME for 90 days. Will they lose their jobs? Will they lose their homes? Where will they go in the meantime? Will they stay at a hotel? Or will they be residing as homeless folks on some street corner in some other nation?
It also means that if a mother happened to have gone to her father’s funeral abroad at this unlucky time and tried to return home to her children, she was prohibited from doing so by executive fiat. She’s not allowed to do so for 90 days. Who’s taking care of her children? Will she lose her job that helps to put food on the table for her children? Will some state take them away from her for abandonment?
Don’t even try to tell me this is just about the need to conduct proper vetting. These people are GREEN CARD holders. A green card holder is a LEGAL alien. He or she has essentially the same rights as a citizen with respect to residency and employment. They HAVE been properly vetted. These actions against them are 100% ILLEGAL.
But the absurdities with this Executive Edict doesn’t stop with Green Cards.
Already, Doctors coming to our country to perform critical care for U.S. patients have been turned away. People who need critical surgeries that have been scheduled at major critical care hospitals, e.g., Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, etc., are being told they will not be allowed to travel to the U.S. and enter the U.S. for critical surgeries which in some cases will lead to their imminent deaths.
Interpreters who worked closely with our troops in hostile areas, who have already gone through extensive vetting, and whose lives would be in jeopardy in their home country, who have the proper paperwork and visas in hand were being refused. Luckily, legal personal stepped in to remedy the situation.
The acting U.S. Attorney General has indicated the Justice Dept. will NOT defend the president’s executive order. But, Sen. Jeff Sessions, the president’s choice for US-AG will be up for a vote shortly and it’s rumored that Mr. Sessions is in lock step with the president. Given that, you need to realize that if it can be them today, it can be you and me tomorrow! And if that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, you are not paying attention. Those are NOT actions that take place under a Democracy.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Senate Democratic Leader-elect, and Jack Reed (D-RI), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services released the following joint statement today in response to news reports on the CIA’s analysis of Russian interference with the 2016 election:
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.
“Congress’s national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done. While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.
“This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”