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Even If Trump Lost ‘Billions Of Dollars,’ Emoluments Violations Are Still Concerning

President Donald Trump seems to think that any accusations from Democrats that his businesses have profited from him being in office are moot, as he claimed this week he’s actually lost money since January 2017.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Even if that’s the case, it doesn’t make a difference: any inappropriate financial gain from being president must be examined, even if the net gain for the commander-in-chief is negative.

Trump tweeted out on Monday that Democrats, who he suggested failed in producing a shred of evidence in wrongdoing in the Mueller report, were now shifting their focus toward him potentially capitalizing off of being president.

“Good idea,” Trump wrote, “except I will, and have always expected to, lose BILLIONS of DOLLARS for the privilege of being your President.”

He added, “I am far beyond somebody paying for a hotel room for the evening, or filling up a gas tank at an airport I do not own.”

Per prior reporting from HillReporter.com, Trump also said that Congress should look into former President Barack Obama’s deal with Netflix, even though that situation came about after Obama left the White House.

Trump believes he’s exonerated because he’s not making the same income he did from before he assumed office. The point that he misses, however, is not whether he did poorly or positively with his properties’ profits since then. Rather, the reason that the emoluments clauses of the Constitution exist — both the foreign and domestic lines found therein — is to prevent the president from being influenced, and to ensure the public’s trust in the office is not violated.

Democrats are indeed considering whether to include emoluments clause violations within potential articles of impeachment they’re drafting against Trump, looking into whether military stays at his resorts or plans to host the next G7 Summit at his Miami Doral resort (among other instances) were improper, Fortune reported. The emoluments clauses restrict the kinds of gifts or financial windfalls the president can receive from outside his salary.

These rules were designed by the founders of our nation to ensure that no chief executive would be influenced (or even have the appearance of having been influenced) by outside actors, nations, or corporations.

It doesn’t matter if the net result is a loss in Trump’s portfolio — the fact that foreign leaders and other dignitaries, hoping to curry favor with the president, are staying at his resorts, is a grave violation of the public’s trust that he will act in a proper way when making decisions about those individuals’ wants and desires from the U.S. government.

We cannot even prove that Trump’s claims are true here: we haven’t had access to his finances, his tax returns, to show that he is indeed losing money by being president.

But again, that misses the point: what matters is what Trump’s actions are, or what the appearance of his actions may look like, if he’s receiving huge compensations from outside his paycheck as president.

Trump could indeed be losing billions of dollars from his businesses, compared to what he earned before entering the White House — but if he’s recouping some of those losses by earning money back from people who want him to change policy or support their causes, it’s a conflict of interest that should not, and cannot, go unnoticed by Congress.



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