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House Dems Investigating ‘Potential Violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses’


The House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees on Friday announced that they are investigating Vice President Mike Pence’s stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland and President Donald Trump’s plan to hold next year’s Group of Seven (G7) summit at his Doral golf resort in Miami.

The chairman of the respective committees, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that the “potential violations” were of “grave concern”; they also noted this was relevant to the calculation of whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment.

“Potential violations of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution are of grave concern to the Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” they said.

Earlier this month, one Democratic lawmaker not named Cummings or Nadler said that such articles could be drafted by mid-October.

As Law&Crime reported before, Harvard constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe was quick to react to both Pence’s hotel stay and the Doral controversy by saying Trump violated two Emoluments Clauses, one foreign and one domestic, in a week’s time.

“Memo to POTUS: There are TWO Emoluments Clauses,” Tribe commented. “The one you’re violating when you line your pocket by having Pence stay at your resort & commute is the Domestic [Emoluments Clause]. The one you’re planning to violate by having the G7 stay at the Doral w/out Congress’s consent is the Foreign [Emoluments Clause].”

In a Sept. 5 letter to Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Cummings wrote that Pence’s stay at the Trump property in Doonbeg–“180 miles away from the Vice President’s official meetings” in Dublin–warranted greater scrutiny.

“The Committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies,” Cummings said.

Nadler’s letter from the same day was addressed to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray. In it, Nadler said Trump’s “apparent promotion and solicitation of foreign and U.S. government business” at Trump properties was pertinent for his committee’s impeachment considerations.

“The House Judiciary Committee is examining allegations of obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by the President,” Nadler wrote.

[Image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.