World: Donald Trump cuts a deal with himself, virtually guaranteeing impeachment - - PressFrom - Australia
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World Donald Trump cuts a deal with himself, virtually guaranteeing impeachment

04:46  18 october  2019
04:46  18 october  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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Mick Mulvaney wearing a suit and tie: White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced that the G7 will be held at Trump National Doral resort in Florida.© AP White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced that the G7 will be held at Trump National Doral resort in Florida.

New York: Another day in Donald Trump's Washington, another article of impeachment.

The Trump administration's decision to host the next G7 leaders' summit at one of Trump's own golf resorts isn't just another brazen rejection of presidential norms.

It is, on its face, a clear violation of the US constitution. It's even more likely than before that Trump will become just the third US president to be impeached.

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a sign on the side of a building: Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida.© AP Trump National Doral in Doral, Florida.

The constitution forbids American office holders from accepting "any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever" from a foreign state without the approval of Congress.

Known as the emoluments clause, it reflects the founding fathers' concern, verging on paranoia, about foreign meddling in US politics.

The clause is so strict that US presidents must ask for permission from Congress to keep any gifts given to them by foreign leaders during diplomatic visits. Without that approval, the presents are deposited at the State Department.

a large white building: Trump's Doral resort, pictured, has been announced as the host of the 2020 G7 summit.© AP Trump's Doral resort, pictured, has been announced as the host of the 2020 G7 summit.

Yet Trump has awarded his family company a massive contract to host a gathering of the world's most powerful foreign leaders.

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“This is about as direct and profound a violation of the emoluments clause as one could create," Andrew Napolitano, the senior legal analyst at Fox News, said.

"He has bought himself an enormous headache now with the choice of this."

Acting White House chief-of-staff Mick Mulvaney said the administration considered 10 different sites across the country but the Trump Doral resort near Miami was "far and away the best physical facility for this meeting".

"It’s almost like they built this facility to host this type of event," he said.

The President is goading Democrats in the House to impeach him. And he's daring Republicans to risk their political careers by declaring him unfit for office.© AAP Images The President is goading Democrats in the House to impeach him. And he's daring Republicans to risk their political careers by declaring him unfit for office.

Mulvaney insisted that Trump was not breaching the constitution because the resort will run the event on a cost-recovery basis rather than seeking to make a profit.

This could well be fudging it. After all, hosting such a high-profile event would raise the resort's profile and likely boost the number of future visitors - delivering a windfall to the Trump family.

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It doesn't matter either way, according to Napolitano.

"The constitution does not address profits, it addresses any present, as in a gift, any emolument as in cash of any kind whatever," he said.

The prevailing view among Democrats is that they should keep their impeachment case tightly-focussed rather than include a litany of Trump's transgressions.

They want to make their argument understandable to the public and as compelling as possible to Republicans in Congress.

An earlier emoluments case, brought against the president by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia over Trump's hotel ownings, has just come back to life thanks to an appeals court decision to re-hear the case.

The Doral contract, meanwhile, is easy to explain and looks to be a clear abuse of presidential power. It would sit neatly alongside impeachment articles referring to Trump's notorious phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Both paint the picture of a president using the office to benefit himself - in one case politically, in the other financially.

"The constitution is clear: the President cannot accept gifts or payments from foreign governments," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. "No one is above the law."

While Trump's decision may appear reckless, it's clearly deliberate.

The President is goading Democrats in the House to impeach him. And he's daring Republicans to risk their political careers by declaring him unfit for office.

The former looks all but inevitable; the latter still extremely unlikely.

U.S. Energy Secretary Perry has told Trump he will step down: source .
U.S. Energy Secretary Perry has told Trump he will step down: sourceThe exact date Perry would step down was not immediately known.

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