SEVERE WX : Fire Weather Watch - Red Flag Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump admin says Trump can profit from foreign hotel guests

President Donald Trump should not be barred from renting rooms to foreign governments, even those that say publicly s...

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 3:18 AM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 3:18 AM

President Donald Trump should not be barred from renting rooms to foreign governments, even those that say publicly say they are doing so to curry the President's favor, a Trump administration attorney argued Monday.

Arguing the emoluments clause of the Constitution is "not a comprehensive conflict of interest" rule, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Shumate told a federal court the President must actually take action favorable to the foreign government -- a quid pro quo, or exchange -- to run afoul of the law.

Trump is not responsible for a foreign official's "unilateral attempt to sow favor," Shumate said.

At one point, federal district judge Peter Messitte asked: "How is that different from bribery?"

Bribery, Shumate said, would require the President to have "some corrupt intent."

Maryland and Washington DC are suing, claiming Trump's ownership of the Trump International Hotel in Washington puts other hotels at a disadvantage in attracting business.

Messitte said he would decide by the end of July if the case should move forward or, as the administration has asked, if he will dismiss the case.

Monday's hearing in a Maryland federal court largely focused on the definition of "emoluments," an obscure word in modern parlance that the plaintiffs -- Washington, DC and the state of Maryland -- argued was used more commonly in the time the Constitution was written.

Eighteenth-century dictionaries defined the word as "a profit, gain or advantage," argued Stephanie Litos of the DC attorney general's office. There is little historical evidence of how the founders intended for it to be read in the Constitution, but "they used it in a broad way," she argued.

Shumate offered a narrower definition: "Profit arising from service to a foreign government," though he acknowledged the broader definition also appeared in the dictionary.

To accept the broader definition, he said, would bar federal officials from conducting personal financial transactions. The Constitution makes no distinction between the president and lower-level federal officials, he said.

"It didn't intend to prohibit a private commercial transaction," Shumate said.

Maryland Solicitor General Steven Sullivan said Monday a cloud of corruption hangs over Trump's ownership of the hotel "irrespective of whether such influence is actually being brought to bear."

The administration's reading of the Constitution "would prohibit the President from receiving $5 to carry a foreign diplomat's bags, but allow him to receive thousands of dollars to rent the same foreign government event space," Sullivan said.

The emoluments clause is largely unexplored legal territory, the judge noted. Among the precedents cited by the attorneys: President Barack Obama's book sales, President Ronald Reagan's pension from his time as California governor, and land President George Washington bought from a government auction in the 1790s.

Maryland Attorney General Karl Racine told reporters after the hearing that if the judge allows the case to move forward, he will move towards requesting hotel financial records. He would not say whether the plaintiffs will request Trump's personal tax returns.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 22613

Reported Deaths: 385
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah5186101
Washington325827
Marion309073
Umatilla239832
Clackamas162749
Malheur86915
Deschutes62711
Lane6154
Jackson5362
Yamhill50213
Lincoln4319
Union3972
Jefferson3964
Morrow3933
Polk35012
Linn31511
Hood River2150
Klamath2062
Wasco1993
Benton1826
Douglas1591
Josephine1362
Columbia1031
Coos930
Clatsop880
Baker520
Crook511
Tillamook350
Lake320
Wallowa201
Curry170
Sherman160
Harney110
Gilliam40
Grant40
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 613101

Reported Deaths: 11148
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2188315215
Riverside45662881
Orange42854789
San Bernardino39374561
San Diego34065622
Kern25888204
Fresno19157203
San Joaquin14651261
Alameda14558219
Santa Clara13865208
Sacramento13615199
Tulare12105205
Stanislaus11953195
Contra Costa10756152
Imperial10035257
Ventura909095
San Francisco805369
Santa Barbara727477
San Mateo6803126
Merced677789
Monterey589041
Marin567482
Kings524364
Solano459641
Sonoma406351
Madera292447
Placer254327
San Luis Obispo243918
Yolo196646
Santa Cruz13716
Butte137012
Napa120611
Sutter10917
El Dorado8272
San Benito8154
Yuba7404
Lassen6950
Mendocino52910
Shasta48810
Glenn4363
Colusa4095
Nevada3621
Tehama3121
Humboldt3094
Lake2682
Amador20811
Calaveras1741
Mono1601
Tuolumne1602
Inyo1275
Siskiyou1110
Del Norte1060
Mariposa632
Plumas390
Trinity80
Sierra60
Modoc50
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
96° wxIcon
Hi: 109° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 96°
Brookings
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 80°
Crater Lake
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 90°
Grants Pass
Clear
93° wxIcon
Hi: 107° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 93°
Klamath Falls
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 90°
Weekend heat wave & thunderstorm chances
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events

Latest Video

Image

Saturday, August 15 morning weather

Image

Golf Tip of the Week: Harbor Links Golf Course

Image

Friday, August 14th Evening Weather

Image

Caitlin Reality 2

Image

Caitlin Reality

Image

Friday, August 14 afternoon weather

Image

Friday, August 14 morning weather

Image

Thursday, August 13th Evening Weather

Image

Christian schools in Jackson County say state metrics do not apply

Image

Grace Cascade Christian schools plan for return with in-person classes