WASHINGTON — The Emoluments Clause is a section of the Constitution that says no one in office can accept any sort of gift or money from a foreign state.
At least one congressman says President Donald Trump has violated that clause and believes that could be grounds for an article of impeachment.
Congressman Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, claims Trump has collected millions of dollars from foreign governments through his hotels, golf resorts, and other business ventures since the beginning of his term.
“He has made the presidency an instrument of self-enrichment,” he said.
“In the telephone conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky of Ukraine, Zelensky actually praises him for the hotel in New York,” Raskin continued. “He says, ‘oh yeah we stayed at the Trump Hotel in New York.'”
Raskin says the current impeachment investigation will focus mainly on that phone call but an emoluments violation could be a close runner-up.
“That is the cardinal sin,” he added. “The founders took care of this. They gave us impeachment as a last instrument of constitutional self-defense against a president who’s acting like a king and in this, like a mad king.”
The Republican National Committee says Trump isn’t violating the Emoluments Clause and the accusations are ignoring an important detail.
“The Trump Organization donates any profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury,” RNC spokesperson Liz Harrington said.
Harrington believes the allegations are just a distraction ahead of the 2020 election.
“This is another baseless attempt to attack this man who’s working for the American people and try to overturn his election result in 2016,” she added.
For now, it’s unclear if emoluments will be considered as part of the Democrats’ formal impeachment inquiry.