Donald Trump has already acted in violation of the US Constitution and should now be impeached by Congress, two American legal experts have claimed.
James C. Nelson, a former Montana Supreme Court judge, and John Bonifaz, the president of Free Speech for People, said the Republican has breached the very first article of the Constitution, which bans holders of public office from receiving financial benefits from foreign governments.
A number of overseas governments and state-owned companies use Mr Trump’s businesses.
In moves designed to mitigate conflicts of interest, Mr Trump has moved his assets into a trust managed by his sons and pledged he will have no direct involvement in his companies during his time in office. Mr Trump also promised his businesses would make “no new foreign deals whatsoever” during his presidency and vowed to ensure any domestic deals were signed off by an independent ethics adviser.
A number of other legal experts have previously raised similar concerns over the issue of conflicts of interest, and some liberal campaign groups have already filed lawsuits against the Republican alleging he is acting unconstitutionally.
Writing in Time magazine, Mr Nelson and Mr Bonifaz said: “To address this unprecedented corruption of the Oval Office and this threat to our Constitution and our democracy, we believe Congress must move forward now with an impeachment investigation of President Trump.
“The President’s possible conflicts of interest have become increasingly apparent.
“In the meantime, instead of starting to “make America great again,” the 45th President should read the Constitution and “make the President honest again.”
Mr Trump is “first and foremost a businessman with significant financial interests and governmental entanglements all over the globe”, many of which are “veiled in complicated corporate technicalities and lack transparency”, they added.
The Republican has repeatedly come under fire over potenial conflicts of interest. Last weekend he attended two events held at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution states holders of public office cannot “without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state”.
Mr Nelson and Mr Bonifaz named 24 countries they said were involved in current or previous business deals with the President’s company, The Trump Organisation.
For example, the Qatari state airline and the state-owned Bank of China are both said to rent space at Trump Tower in New York, while government-owned media organisations in several countries reportedly to pay licence fees to produce versions of The Apprentice, Mr Trump’s reality TV show.
The embassies of a number of states, including Kuwait and Bahrain, have also reportedly held events at Mr Trump’s hotels, where room hire costs can run into many thousands of dollars. Mr Trump’s team has previously suggested he would donate the profits from such events to charity.
Source: The Independent