Action Alerts · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Tell Congress to Tell Trump to Fully Comply With The Emoluments Clause

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Tell your House Rep that you want Trump to comply with the Constitution by fully and properly tracking the payments that his businesses receive from foreign governments.

 

A previous OTYCD post noted how Trump was in violation of the Constitution the day he took office, because of the Emoluments clause, which states that the president cannot receive gifts or payments from foreign governments. Having hotels and resorts all over the world–Washington D.C. included–with his name on them complicates the matter significantly.

 

In order to have a hope of complying, Trump has to track all the payments his many and varied business entities receive. Initially, his organization promised that it would donate all the profits it earned from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury.

 

Well, on May 24, the Trump organization said it was not going to do the full due diligence required to be in compliance with the Emoluments clause, evidently because it’s just too damn hard. In an eight-page pamphlet it sent to the House Oversight Committee, it stated:

“To fully and completely identify all patronage at our Properties by customer type is impractical in the service industry and putting forth a policy that requires all guests to identify themselves would impede upon personal privacy and diminish the guest experience of our brand.”

 

Elijah Cummings, minority leader of the house committee, shot back with deserved anger, saying the pamphlet “raised grave concerns about the president’s refusal to comply with the Constitution.”

 

We at OTYCD are asking you to back Cummings up by calling your house reps and demanding that the Trump organization do everything it can to get right with the Constitution, even if it’s wildly inconvenient. The sanctity of the Constitution is more important than the “guest experience” at Trump’s properties.

 

If your house rep IS Elijah Cummings, call him to thank him for doing the right thing.

 

Otherwise, riff off of this sample script:

“Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code), and I am calling to ask you to demand that the Trump organization do everything it can to prove that its business entities are in compliance with the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. In late May, the organization said it would not do the work involved in confirming that its entities were respecting the Constitution because doing so might affect the quality of the “guest experience” at Trump hotels and resorts. Well, maybe Trump should have thought that through before he ran for president. The Constitution is priceless. The guest experience at Trump properties is not. If his guests have to suffer a little to ensure that the Constitution receives due respect, that’s a small price to pay, and Trump can eat it.”

 

 

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Read about the Trump organization’s refusal to fully comply with the standards required by the Constitution:

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/527997/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/05/24/trump-shows-he-wasnt-serious-about-shunning-emoluments/?utm_term=.b22e01bd7440

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-failing-track-foreign-cash-his-hotels-n764061

 

 

Read the eight-page pamphlet that team Trump prepared for the House Oversight Committee:

https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/Trump%20Org%20Pamphlet%20on%20Foreign%20Profits.pdf

 

 

Read Elijah Cummings’s rejoinder:

https://democrats-oversight.house.gov/sites/democrats.oversight.house.gov/files/documents/2017-05-24.EEC%20to%20Trump%20Organization.pdf

Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · House Bills, Federal · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Call Your Members of Congress to Support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

 

Call your members of Congress to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act of 2017.

 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced it in the senate as S.65; Massachusetts Fifth District representative Katherine Clark introduced it in the house as H.R. 371.

 

If passed, it would reinforce the Emoluments clause of the Constitution by stating that the president and vice president must divest themselves of any assets that could pose a conflict of interest, and place them in a blind trust.

 

The law would also apply to those officials’ spouses and dependent children, but not their grown children or their spouses. It would also impose the same disclosure requirements on the president that are required of members of Congress.

 

In short, it would force Trump to do something that the last several presidents have done voluntarily, because it’s common sense.

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to S.65, A bill to address financial conflicts of interest of the President and Vice President:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/65

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to H.R. 371, which has pretty much the same title as the senate version:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/371

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See this New York Times op-ed from Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, on Trump’s stated plans for complying with the Constitution:

 

See this (not very hopeful) Washington Post article about Warren and Clark’s legislative efforts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/09/democrats-introduce-conflicts-of-interest-act-but-are-unlikely-to-get-a-vote/?utm_term=.e4e1d52a6952

 

 

Here is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s press release on the bill. It names all its co-sponsors in the senate and the house. Do you see your members of Congress listed? If so, call and thank them for supporting these bills.

http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1342

 

 

Ethics · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends · Vote with your Dollars

Read About What Makes Trump Look Bad to Red and Purple State Voters

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

Read this January 2017 thinkprogress.org piece on what truth about Trump makes him look bad to voters in red and purple states.

 

The Center for American Progress polled more than 1,000 voters in 14 states that tilt toward Trump and found that many have problems with the idea of Trump’s businesses taking money from foreign governments while he serves as president.

 

Specifically, the article states, “Seventy-one percent of voters in red or purple states think that Trump should not be allowed to receive payments from foreign governments through his businesses while he is President… Of voters who said that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to receive foreign payments while president, 54 percent said that Congress should take action to prevent it.”

 

The tangle of Russia scandals remain important, and we should never lose sight of the need to find out just what is going on there. But Trump’s ongoing violations of the emoluments clause of the Constitution carries weight, too, and we should press for a solution that ensures that he does not profit from the office of the presidency while he is serving.

 

Read the ThinkProgress story:

https://thinkprogress.org/voters-think-trump-should-stop-getting-foreign-money-9a945b0f60f9#.r5jyuha64

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

Call Your Members of Congress · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Call Your MoCs, Demand Enforcement of Sanctions On Russia and Speak Out Against Releasing the Nunes Memo, Groundhog Day Edition

Call your MoCs to demand enforcement of sanctions against Russia, and speak out against releasing the Nunes memo.

 

Sarah Jane here. I’m much better, thanks! Well enough to toss in some links with what I’m talking about. I’m going to talk about the same two things at least one more time.

 

On Monday, January 29, 2018, the Trump administration was due to enforce sanctions imposed on Russia for meddling in our elections, as required by a 2017 law.

 

The administration brushed off the requirement by claiming the threat of the sanctions was deterrent enough.

 

See this Washington Post article on the situation:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/rich-russians-still-waiting-to-exhale/2018/01/29/7df459ca-052a-11e8-8777-2a059f168dd2_story.html?utm_term=.8100962ab1f8

 

Late on January 29, 2018, Senator Claire McCaskill nailed the problem in a tweet:

 

Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.

 

To my horror, the implications of Trump’s act are getting ignored, or crowded out by other horrible things.

 

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) helped me keep sane with a series of tweets on January 31, which I’ll reproduce:

 

Ok. I keep seeing certain threads about Russian sanctions/authoritarianism being RTed into my TL, so I think it’s important to have some facts on what Congress can and cannot do to address the WH’s decision. Start with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/even-if-trump-is-blatantly-ignoring-the-russia-sanctions-law-theres-not-a-lot-congress-can-do-about-it/?utm_term=.3b1222b2389a

 

Then follow it up with this:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/01/30/the-trump-administrations-weird-explanation-for-withholding-russia-sanctions/?utm_term=.1821cef97d99

 

I think it’s easy (and understandable) to say: “Rule of law is deaaaaad!” but the question now becomes: What are YOU going to do about it? Senator tweeted this: [She quotes the tweet I reproduce above]

 

Yes, be outraged. But more importantly, channel your outrage. The WaPo article I listed lists four options for Congress to respond to this; these are the three most likely. Your elected work for you. Demand they make any three (or even all three) happen. [She includes a screenshot of the three things, from the first Washington Post piece above.]

 

Don’t just sit around waiting for government to collapse; if you’re truly as upset as all of your RTs seem to indicate – I’m getting a bit [thinking face with arched eyebrow emoji] with the fatalism – then make sure you call and make your electeds hear your voice. Yes, this includes GOP electeds.

 

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know I used to be a constituent affairs director for an elected. Trust me when I say: staff will let their boss(es) hear it, if their phone lines are ringing off the hook. We want it to stop so we can do other work.

 

We want our bosses to give us solutions to make it stop. So make it happen w/ these Russian sanction calls. Make the constituent team know you don’t accept this, and you will keep calling, until they are so tired of you, they will demand the office do something.

 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: we are many, and they are few. Do you really want these sanctions dictated by a few wankers in the administration? No. This time, you even have a bipartisan majority of the House and the Senate on your side. You have the power.

 

She’s right. You do have the power.

Please, call your members of Congress and demand that they call Trump out for this. He cannot just brush off a law passed with a veto-proof majority. McCaskill is right–it’s a constitutional crisis. Please call.

 

And Alexandra Erin, whose tweets I quoted in yesterday’s post, is right–talk about this. Post it to your Facebook. Point it out. Call it out. Point it out again. Keep doing it.

 

Here’s your @Celeste_Pewter calling script:

 

 

And, because we still have time to fight the release of the Nunes memo, let’s give it a try.

Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter), of course, has your calling script:

 

 Call. Spread the word. Ask friends and family to call. Be gentle with yourself. Stay strong.
Elections · Read, Educate Yourself, Prepare · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Social Media · Uncategorized

Follow Legal Expert Renato Mariotti on Twitter And Support His Campaign To Be Illinois’s Attorney General

This OTYCD entry originally posted in November 2017.

 

Follow legal expert Renato Mariotti on Twitter, and support his campaign to serve as Illinois’s next attorney general. 

 

When something happens in Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation, Mariotti, a formal federal prosecutor, tweets solid explanations that are blessedly light on jargon.

 

He’s quick on the draw, his takes make sense, and he’s careful to acknowledge when he’s forming an educated guess.

 

Since becoming a Twitter sage and a go-to legal expert for television shows, Mariotti has announced his candidacy for Illinois Attorney General. The election takes place in 2018. (Lisa Madigan, the Democratic incumbent, has decided not to run for a fifth term.) He faces six others in the Democratic primary. Please support his efforts.

 

 

See Mariotti’s campaign website:

https://renatomariotti.com

 

 

Follow him on Twitter:

@renato_mariotti

 

 

See his ‘Meet Renato’ page:

https://renatomariotti.com/meet-renato/

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like him on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/RenatoForIllinois

 

 

Donate to his campaign:

https://secure.ngpvan.com/jk0yN-dCJ02VmyJ4UFqu0w2

 

 

Read an October 2017 Politico piece on Mariotti declaring his candidacy:

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/27/renato-mariotti-illinois-attorney-general-244243

Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Tell Trey Gowdy and the House Oversight Committee to Stay on the Trump-Russia Probe

Tell Trey Gowdy and his colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to keep pursuing the Trump-Russia probe.

Gowdy, who represents South Carolina, became the Republican chair of the committee after Utah’s Jason Chaffetz announced he would resign from his house seat. Gowdy, who hassled Hillary Clinton with Benghazi investigation after Benghazi investigation, recently announced that, in general, the House committee would not pursue matters that relate to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether and how Trump’s campaign might be involved.

His excuse seems to be that special counsel Robert Mueller is on the case and he wants to steer clear and let him handle things. Gowdy also said that the House committee might investigate in specific, narrowly defined instances. While that might sound reasonable on its face, Gowdy’s Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings, sharply countered that sentiment with salient points. The Washington Post quoted Cummings as saying:

“It is a known fact that interference in our election will happen again if we do not take serious steps to prevent it,” he said. “The voters did not send us here to sit on the sidelines while our government is getting attacked. Chairman Gowdy is a very talented lawyer, and I believe he and I can work together to investigate this and make reforms to prevent it from happening again.”

Please call your house reps and urge them to continue to investigate #TrumpRussia matters, even though Robert Mueller is on the case. They should sit and figure out how best not to step on Mueller’s toes rather than giving up and stepping aside completely. Tell them you expect them to stay on this.

Important. Is your House Rep a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? Then it’s extra-important that you call. See the link below, which lists all the current members:

https://oversight.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

 

If your House rep is a Democrat: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to continue to support investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that the House is off the hook. It is not. Please urge the committee to do the extra, upfront work it needs to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. Thank you.

 

If your House rep is a Republican: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to vigorously support House-led investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that his Congressional committee is off the hook. It is not. Please urge Gowdy and his colleagues to do the extra, upfront work they need to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. And if they use that upfront work to hamper and frustrate the work of the House investigators, please call them out early and often. Thank you.

 

Read stories about how Gowdy was chosen to succeed Chaffetz, and stories that quote Gowdy saying that while he is chair, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will not chase Trump-Russia investigations:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/on-trump-and-russia-oversight-chair-trey-gowdy-says-he-will-stay-in-his-lane/2017/06/23/4d1dfca6-583d-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html?utm_term=.8e754a82703a

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/23/house-oversight-no-russia-investigation-trey-gowdy-239904

http://theweek.com/speedreads/708011/house-oversight-committee-not-pursue-investigation-trump-russia

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/trey-gowdy-picked-by-gop-steering-committee-to-chair-house-oversight-panel-239308

 

Read about the partisan shens Gowdy got up to as chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-endless-trial-of-trey-gowdys-benghazi-committee-20160114

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/how-the-press-can-deal-with-the-benghazi-committee/410251/

 

Call Your Members of Congress · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Tell Your MoCs You Want Jeff Sessions to Resign

UPDATE: We first published this post months ago, when the news of Sessions’s problematic statements under oath broke. We’re putting this post back in heavy rotation now that we know Sessions was involved in the firing of FBI director James Comes, which appears to be a violation of his promise to recuse himself from matters touching on Trump’s ties to Russia.

Scroll down for an updated sample script to use when calling your senators to ask for the resignation of U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions.

Call your members of Congress and say that you want Jeff Sessions to resign over statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearings that could constitute perjury.

A previous blog post asked you to call your members of Congress and demand that Sessions recuse himself from any investigations arising from the Russia scandals. On March 2, Sessions finally agreed to that–but that was pretty much because news broke that he gave answers during his January Senate confirmation hearings that could constitute perjury.

During the hearings, Senator Al Franken asked Sessions, under oath, what he would do if “there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign.”

Sessions responded: “I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign, and I didn’t have —did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”

The Washington Post reported on March 1 that Sessions had in fact spoken with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak in July 2016 and again in September 2016.

Republicans, or at least those who have ventured to speak on the topic, are calling it a “grave omission” or calling for Sessions to “clarify his testimony.” They are not using the p-word. It can be argued that what Sessions said was highly misleading, but not severe enough to qualify as perjury. Even still, it still looks bad enough that Sessions should resign. Unlike the statements that Bill Clinton made under oath about Monica Lewinsky, Sessions’s statements under oath about whether or not he had contact with Russian officials is a serious matter of national importance.

 

Important note: Is your house rep part of the House Judiciary Committee? Is one of your senators on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary? Then it’s extra-important for you to call. Check these links before dialing.

House Judiciary Committee:

https://judiciary.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

Senate Committee on the Judiciary:

https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/about/members

 

Special note if one of your senators is Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon: Call and thank him for demanding that Sessions resign for disobeying his recusal in helping to fire Comey. See more in the link below:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/332767-dem-senator-calls-on-sessions-to-resign-amid-comey-firing

 

Sample script, updated as of May 10: “I’m (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I’m calling to ask (Representative/Senator Lastname) to ask you to demand that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign over his involvement in the firing of FBI director James Comey. After the Washington Post showed that Sessions had made problematic statements during his cabinet confirmation hearings about his contacts with Russians, Sessions agreed to recuse himself from matters related to Trump and Russia. His involvement in Comey’s firing flouts his promise to recuse himself. In showing Comey the door, he proves that he is not fit to hold the office of U.S. Attorney General. Please demand that he leave his post.”

 

Here are some more links about Jeff Sessions and his involvement in the Comey firing:

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/332671-dem-senator-sessions-recommendation-to-fire-comey-a-complete-betrayal

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/332651-sessions-was-told-to-find-reasons-to-fire-comey-reports

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/5/10/15610862/sessions-rosenstein-comey-justice-fbi

http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/10/jeff-sessions-defense-of-james-comey-con

 

Original Sample script: “I’m (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I’m calling to ask (Representative/Senator Lastname) to ask you to demand that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resign over statements he made during his Senate confirmation hearings that have since proven false. While under oath, he stated that he did not have communications with the Russians, but the Washington Post has since proven that he spoke with the country’s ambassador in July and September. Even if his statement doesn’t technically rise to the level of perjury, which is debatable, he should go. We can’t have an attorney general who is clouded by credible accusations of perjury.”

Read the WaPo story that confirmed that Sessions had spoken twice with the Russian ambassador, though he had made claims to the contrary under oath:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/sessions-spoke-twice-with-russian-ambassador-during-trumps-presidential-campaign-justice-officials-say/2017/03/01/77205eda-feac-11e6-99b4-9e613afeb09f_story.html?tid=pm_pop&utm_term=.f0bd6863a631

 

See this handy New York Times timeline, which contains the Franken-Sessions exchange cited above:

Read this eye-opening New York Times op-ed from a former ethics adviser to President George W. Bush:

 

Another NYT story on how Republicans now agree Sessions should recuse himself, but can’t bring themselves to say he perjured himself during his Senate confirmation hearing testimony: