Justice Department argues Trump should be able to accept payments from foreign governments

donald trump mar a lago

The Justice Department said US President Donald Trump is not in violation of the emoluments clause, a constitutional law that prohibits federal officials from accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments without approval from Congress.

The emoluments clause has been a subject of contention since before Trump took office, due in part to his labyrinthine business empire that watchdogs and critics said would entangle Trump in a web of conflicts of interest as president.

Lawyers for the DOJ argued that the emoluments clause does not apply to fair-market commercial transactions, such as fees incurred from hotels and golf club memberships, licensing payments, and office rent, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Before he took office, Trump promised his businesses would annually donate its profits received from foreign customers at his hotels to the US Treasury Department. The Trump Organization said earlier this year that the first such donation would come in March 2018, according to Politico.

The Justice Department is asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by several plaintiffs, including Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a watchdog group that alleges Trump’s business dealings run afoul of the Constitution.

“Plaintiffs read these Emolument Clauses expansively to cover any benefit derived from any business dealings with a foreign, federal, or state instrumentality by an entity in which the President has a financial interest,” the Justice Department said in a memorandum. The DOJ also argued that the Republican-controlled Congress, not the courts, should decide whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause.

CREW filed its suit against Trump in January, alleging that foreign diplomats and officials could seek to curry favor with Trump by patronizing Trump-connected businesses.

“We did not want to get to this point,” said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder in a January press release announcing the lawsuit. “It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office.”

“He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action,” Bookbinder said.

Read the Justice Department’s memorandum here »

SEE ALSO: Ethics watchdog group files first major lawsuit against Trump in his presidency

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Criminal Minds – CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment Announces 'The 12th Season – TVShowsOnDVD.com

Criminal Minds CBS DVD and Paramount Home Entertainment Announces ‘The 12th Season

Coming to stores this September as a 6-DVD set!

Posted by David Lambert

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    New Cases. New Faces. The twelfth season of Criminal Minds shakes the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) to its very core. Unforeseen threats lead to sudden changes to the team, beginning with the addition of Luke Alvez (Adam Rodriguez), whose fugitive tracking skills are put to the test on day one.

    Emily Prentiss (Paget Brewster) returns from London to take over as the new Unit Chief, joined by Stephen Walker (Damon Gupton), a seasoned profiler in his own right. Back on the case are agents David Rossi (Joe Mantegna), Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau (A.J. Cook), Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler), technical analyst Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), and Dr. Tara Lewis (Aisha Tyler).

    As the BAU grows in number, their enemies only grow stronger. This new team must learn to work together to stop the killers, psychopaths, masterminds, hackers, abductors and other dangerous perpetrators that await them in these 22 mind-blowing episodes.

    All-star cast: Joe Mantegna (The Starter Wife), Paget Brewster (Band of Robbers), Matthew Gray Gubler (Band of Robbers), A.J. Cook (Final Destination 2), Kirsten Vangsness (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders), Damon Gupton (Final Destination 2), Aisha Tyler (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation), Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami), Returning guest star Shemar Moore.

    Season 12 features special guest appearances by: Jane Lynch (Glee), Alana de la Garza (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Law & Order), Daniel Henney (Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, Hawaii Five-O), Sherilyn Fenn (Ray Donovan), Pooch Hall (Ray Donovan), Tatum O’Neal (Rescue Me), and David Otunga (WWE).

CBS/Paramount has announced that September 5th will see the DVD release of Criminal Minds – The 12th Season. This 6-disc set priced at $44.99 SRP will include lots of extras: Audio Commentary (on select episodes), a “Director’s Chair” Featurette, Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel, and more! Here’s a look at the package art:Criminal Minds - The 12th Season
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Top criminal law expert joins special counsel Robert Mueller's … – Washington Post

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One of the federal government’s top criminal law specialists is joining the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III centered on possible coordination between President Trump’s associates and Russian officials.

Justice Department deputy solicitor general Michael Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the Supreme Court, is the department’s go-to lawyer on criminal justice cases and is highly respected by Democrats and Republicans because of his encyclopedic knowledge of criminal law.

Dreeben will work part time for Mueller, according to Justice officials, while he continues to oversee the department’s criminal appellate cases.

Former and current Justice Department officials say that Mueller’s recruitment of Dreeben shows how serious he is about the investigation and signals complexities in the probe.

“Michael is the most brilliant and most knowledgeable federal criminal lawyer in America — period,” said Walter Dellinger, a law professor at Duke University School of Law and acting solicitor general for the 1996-1997 term of the Supreme Court.

“I learned early on in my time as acting [solicitor general] that there was no point of ever thinking of second-guessing Michael on a matter of federal criminal law, because he just knew more than I did or could ever know,” Dellinger said. “He’s a straight shooter and is held in the greatest esteem by the FBI and lawyers in U.S. attorneys offices all over the country.”

Mueller, working out of the Patrick Henry Building on D Street NW, was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein on May 17 and has been building a team of top criminal-law experts for his high-profile investigation. Dreeben’s move to the team was first reported by the National Law Journal.

[Mueller appointed as special counsel ]

Mueller’s team includes Jeannie Rhee, a former deputy assistant attorney general and a partner in the investigations practice at WilmerHale, and Andrew Weissmann, the chief of the Justice Department’s fraud section who oversaw corruption investigations including the probe into cheating by Volkswagen on diesel emissions tests.

Mueller, who is working with a team of FBI agents, has also brought on Aaron Zebley, who was Mueller’s chief of staff when Mueller was FBI director, and James Quarles, who worked as an assistant special prosecutor on the Watergate Special Prosecution Force and was also an attorney at WilmerHale.

WilmerHale, where Mueller also worked for the past three years, represents several people who could be caught up in the probe, including Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. But Justice Department ethics experts cleared Mueller last month to lead the Russia investigation.

[Jared Kushner now a focus in Russia investigation]

“Dreeben is 1 of the top legal & appellate minds at DOJ in modern times,” former Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara tweeted after learning of Mueller’s recruitment of Dreeben.

He added, “My admiration goes far beyond his 8-0 insider trading win in Salman,” referring to a 2016 case in which Dreeben argued on behalf of the government before the Supreme Court and won the case, 8-0.

Read more:

Comey lays out the case that President Trump obstructed justice

Special counsel Robert Mueller has history of standing up to the White House

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