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Jason Miller County Council at Large


January 29, 2018

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Jason Miller

In February of 2017, Maryland attorney general was given special powers to sue the White House for almost anything in a show of Democrat Solidarity with a resistance movement aimed at President Donald Trump.

 

In June of 2017, Attorney General Brian Frosh joined with District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and filed a federal suit against President Trump over violations of the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.

 

This clause of the Constitution prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility, and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, offices or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress.

 

The progressive Anti-Trump resistance movement salivated as Mr. Frosh declared a Constitutional crisis this past summer.

 

Earlier on January 22, 2017, the D.C. nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) brought a case against President Trump on the emoluments clause. That case was thrown out by a federal judge in New York, who ruled that CREW had no standing to bring the case against the president.

 

Last Thursday, the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt (MD) heard opening arguments in the D.C./Maryland emolument case against the President. Maryland and the District of Columbia are claiming grievance status against President Trump because a D.C. hotel owned by the president could be taking away business from other, taxpaying Maryland and D.C. facilities.

 

Maryland and Washington, D.C., also argued last week that they needed access to the Trump D.C. Hotel’s business records to determine how much money Maryland’s and D.C.'s tourism industry was losing as a result of the possible nefarious business dealings by foreign governments.

 

The losses, D.C. and Maryland argue; stem from high valued foreign clients choosing to take their traditional business from other hotels in Maryland and the District to Trump’s downtown Washington hotel to obtain favorable treatment by the president in other more pressing political matters.

 

The two examples offered up to the court were two expensive embassy parties covered in The Washington Post held by Bahrain and Kuwait at Trump’s D.C. location. Both were held after the presidential election.

 

Attorneys General from both Maryland and the District of Columbia are interpreting regular business by foreign governments at Trumps D.C. Hotels as a correlation to personal gifts to President Trump on behalf of foreign governments.

 

This entire emoluments case seems to be a stretch in constitutional logic. Let’s remember that right now neither Manyland nor D.C. can show any proof of actual losses without access to the hotels’ records.

 

I wonder how many heads of state bought a copy of President Barack Obama’s book while the he still sat in the Oval Office. That would mean we have had a constitutional crisis with the emolument clause for some time now.

 

President Obama made millions of dollars through book sales after he took office in 2008. That exact information was shown on the tax returns that President Obama submitted during the presidential election for his second term.

 

Had the Maryland/D.C. emoluments logic been applied toward President George Washington during his administration, our beloved cherry tree cutting first president would have been in deep trouble.

 

Our first president was one of America’s richest men at the time of his election. He was a wealthy member of the Virginia planter class, but also a well-known international brewer of fine spirits who had direct business dealings in England and France while serving as President of the United States.

 

Multiple print news outlets have reported that “The Justice Department, representing the President, filed a motion with the Court to dismiss Maryland’s case. They asked the court to throw out the case because neither the District of Columbia nor Maryland has a legal right to sue Trump personally in the first place."

 

I recall a Fourth Amendment in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights that states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” I also recall a Fifth Amendment that protects a person against being compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in a criminal case.

 

This emolument case hinges on the U.S. District Court’s decision to grant a politically hostile team of attorneys general’s from Maryland and Washington, D.C., who are on a partisan witch hunt, to review historically proprietary records in order to show tangible proof of present wrong doing.

 

There is a real constitutional crisis. Maryland and Washington, D.C., are seeking to justify the violation of President Trump’s protection under the constitution’s 4th and 5th Amendments to prove that the president may have violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

 

Justice cannot ignore one part of the Constitution to defend a different part of the Constitution. To do so would be a clear and present danger to the concept of probable cause. If this line of thinking is adopted, we might all one day be greeted with the concept of being guilty until proven innocent.

 



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