– – – Tearline – – – June 15, 2017

Tearline Logo
Tearline noun | \’ter ï lin\
The portions of an intelligence report that provide the substance of a more highly classified or controlled report without identifying sensitive sources, methods, or other operational information.

View past issues here. Think your friends might be interested? They can subscribe here.

What was that?!

It’s emoluments week! What’s an emolument, you ask? It refers to a section of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits U.S. government officials from being corrupted by bribes, financial rewards, etc. from foreign countries. Many believe that President Donald Trump has been violating this constitutional prohibition since day one—something we point out each week. While nongovernmental entities had already filed a suit against the president over emoluments, this week, there are two big events on this front: The attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland filed suits claiming that Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause, and almost 200 members of Congress filed their own suit alleging the same. More on this issue below.

In other very important news, it appears that President Trump has delegated authority to Defense Secretary James Mattis to determine troop levels in Afghanistan. This is a deeply troubling development. Sending America’s men and women in uniform to combat is the most difficult and important decision any commander in chief has to make, and Trump is abdicating that responsibility here. It’s also a possible further sign of Trump’s willingness to use the military abroad more and more without thinking through holistic strategies, as we’re seeing with the increasing risk of U.S. involvement in the Syrian war.

What’s missing?

For a candidate who frequently talked about winning, President Trump has not had much legal success. On Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled against Trump’s revised travel ban. Pointing out that immigration is not a “one-person show,” the argument states that Trump has “exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress.” And it cites Trump’s own tweets as evidence against him. Oops.

What’s on deck in the world for next week

June 20 is World Refugee Day. This is a good time to remind ourselves of the global humanitarian disaster occurring right now with record numbers of forcibly displaced people and far too few resources to help people in need. The Trump administration is exacerbating the problem by trying to limit refugees entering the United States and by threatening massive cuts in foreign assistance funds that go to helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Better ideas

President Trump’s trip to the Middle East made clear that he prefers autocratic friends to democratic ones. When it comes to Egypt and its current strongman President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi—whom Trump welcomed to the White House earlier this year—a more nuanced, principled approach is necessary. Our CAP colleagues Daniel Benaim and Brian Katulis have some suggestions as to how to get the U.S.-Egypt relationship on a better path.

Quote of the week

The conflicts of interest between the Trump administration and countries around the world run deep. CAP colleagues Carolyn Kenney and John Norris have investigated these conflicts country by country in a new in-depth report. Trump’s sprawling international business empire and the endless possibilities for foreign governments to try to influence him by doing business with his family’s organization is a recipe for endless conflicts of interest and possible corruption.

Read of the week

The conflicts of interest between the Trump administration and countries around the world run deep. CAP colleagues Carolyn Kenney and John Norris have investigated these conflicts country by country in a new in-depth report. Trump’s sprawling international business empire and the endless possibilities for foreign governments to try to influence him by doing business with his family’s organization is a recipe for endless conflicts of interest and possible corruption.

Weekly Trump-Russia reminder

While Russia deals with its own protests in 100 cities around the country, the media, experts, and the Trump administration are still trying to unpack the congressional testimonies on Russia by former FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions seemed unable to recall the answers to many of the questions he was asked. Meanwhile, the story took a new twist when a number of Trump allies suggested that Trump might consider firing special counsel Robert Mueller, followed by reports reinforcing the possibility that Mueller is investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.

147 days still violating the Constitution

President Trump has been violating the Constitution’s prohibition against corruption by foreign governments for 147 days, because his companies are receiving payments from foreign governments.

Please send feedback, comments, and ideas to mhfuchs.af@americanprogressaction.org and stefaniemerchant.af@americanprogressaction.org.