The top ethics official under former President Obama is accusing President Trump of violating the emoluments clause, The Hill reports.
Responding to a recent report from the South China Morning Post that revealed an Indonesian construction project linked to Trump will get a $500 million boost from the Chinese government, Norm Eisen tweeted, ““This is a violation of the Emoluments Clause. A big one. See you in court Mr. Trump.”
Trump’s involvement in the project was cemented in 2015, according to the report.
The Post reports that the $500 million will go towards the construction of MNC Lido City, a resort and theme park that will feature Trump-branded hotels and a golf course.
This is a violation of the Emoluments Clause. A big one. See you in court Mr. Trump https://t.co/JuSmCYChyh
— Norm Eisen (@NormEisen) May 14, 2018
Speaking to the Post, former chief ethics lawyer for George W. Bush, Richard Painter, said that Trump should have sold his portion of the project.
From The Hill:
Trump announced in a tweet over the weekend that surprised many in Washington that he was working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, which was under a U.S. import ban for violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
The report also comes after several weeks of back-and-forth on tariffs between the U.S. and China.
Trump is already facing two lawsuits, both as the president and as an individual, for allegedly violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bans elected officials from financially benefitting from foreign governments.
Despite his campaign promise to relinquish control of his businesses, Trump still has not fully divested himself and still draws a profit from them.
As HuffPost points out, ZTE phones have been described as a security risk by the U.S. military and intelligence community, banning their use on bases because they could potentially track the locations of military personnel.
“The idea of the president intervening in a law enforcement matter to satisfy a foreign government is extraordinary,” Robert Weissman, president of the open government advocacy group Public Citizen, told HuffPost. “And it’s extraordinary because it doesn’t happen. Opening that door threatens the integrity of all corporate law enforcement.”
Featured image via screen grab/YouTube