Lawsuit Claims Trump Conflicts of Interest Violates U.S. Constitution

Posted Jan. 25, 2017

MP3 Interview with Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs with Common Cause, conducted by Scott Harris


Well before his victory in the Nov. 8 presidential election, many legal observers expressed concern about billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump’s potential for serious ethics violations should he win the White House. These conflicts include Trump and his family members’ possible exploitation of the office of president for self-enrichment, and how the potential for profit and loss in the Trump businesses empire could influence his decisions on domestic and foreign policy.

After taking the oath of office on Jan. 20, the president has reiterated his refusal to address these conflicts, as previous presidents have done, through mechanisms such as the liquidation of all assets, and then moving the proceeds to a blind trust. Instead, Trump says he'll transfer the day-to-day management of his wealth over to his adult sons Don and Eric.

On the Monday following his inauguration, a federal lawsuit was filed by the non-partisan group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington or CREW, that asks the court "to stop Trump from violating the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments" with ties to Trump interests. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs with Common Cause. Here, he discusses Trump’s conflicts of interest, lack of transparency and what’s at stake in the outcome of the recently filed federal lawsuit.

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