Earlier today, the Department of Justice made headlines after asserting that President Trump can legally accept products, services, and money from foreign governments without gaining the approval of Congress. This was shocking to many people, especially since the Constitution bars Unites States officials from receiving gifts or monetary donations that have not first been approved by Congress. CBS News reports that this statement followed after a lawsuit from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics; their attorneys claim that foreign leaders are conducting business with the President in order to buy his favor, loyalty, and allegiance. While the validity of this assertion is still in the wind, it begs to question: even if President Trump can legally accept foreign money, would it be wise for him to do so?
According to the Department of Justice, the emoluments clause in null and void when dealing with fair market transactions, such as hotel bills and office rent. Their statement is as follows: The emolument clause is “not designed to reach commercial transactions that a president (or other federal official) may engage in as an ordinary citizen through his business enterprises.” So by their meaning, the President is well within his rights to work with foreign countries, even if that means dealing with monetary transactions, so long as it pertains to his businesses and not his Presidency. Even the biggest Trump supporter will admit that such a claim constitutes as a very grey area.
Even if the Department of Justice’s claim is correct, it would be ill advised for President Trump to accept any foreign money (even for his businesses) while he is in office. To allow his eldest children, Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric to manage all business dealing would be wise. The President already has countless critics and haters who are out to ruin him; accepting foreign money would only provide them with more ammunition in their quests to tarnish and sabotage his Presidency. They could easily claim the business proceeds are being used by foreign leaders to buy him off. It is not worth it. Furthermore, if the President follows through on the words of the Department of Justice and they turn out to be erroneous, he could be facing massive legal issues and even possible impeachment. Knowing when to steer clear and err on the side of caution is wise.
While the following scenario is unlikely, there is a possibility that the Department of Justice is intentionally lying about the legality of President Trump accepting foreign money. Perhaps they are hoping he will unknowingly breach the law, thus providing them with grounds for a legitimate case against him. Washington leaders and establishments on both sides of the aisle truly dislike the President; nobody should assume for a second that they are above using underhanded tactics in order to achieve their nefarious ends. Radical liberals, the mainstream media, and other political hacks have been attempting (and failing) to take down Mr. Trump ever since he entered into the race to win the White House. This could very well be the latest employed method of the Washington establishment to take down President Trump once and for all.