Appellate judges skeptical of Trump’s arguments in Mar-a-Lago documents case
President Donald Trump and his family’s business and financial empire is no longer just a thing of public spectacle for the nation. The Trump Organization has become something of a source of public worry and fascination as well.
In the last three months, the president’s sons have become involved in a series of conflicts of interest that have resulted in lawsuits alleging the president’s conduct is violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
While the president and his family try to maintain that the presidency is the only thing that should concern him, it is the courts — not the White House — that has been investigating the president’s conduct.
Trump lawyers have been defending the president in court for years, and courts have consistently tossed their cases, finding that the presidency and the presidency alone can’t be the source of corruption when it comes to the Emoluments Clause.
But that case appears to be over for Trump in a much more consequential way, as three appellate judges — Judges David Bunning, William Canby and Denny Chin — have now said that the president’s conflicts of interest are so broad that they violate the Constitution.
Even more important, the three judges said that the president could not use a foreign business entity to run for the White House — a very important step towards opening up a whole new front in the presidential election.
A timeline of President Trump’s conflicts of interest
Trump started his presidency with what has been described as a scandal of epic proportions, which involved his and his family’s business dealings in the country club and golf club worlds that he inherited from his father.
The story began with Trump firing his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, who was investigating possible illegal business dealings surrounding the Trump Organization and campaign. On the same day, Trump fired his chief of staff, John Kelly, who had served in the administration for years. But Trump himself was still involved in overseeing operations.
Trump’s first major business transaction in office was signing the final permits necessary to build a massive and highly controversial Trump Tower in New York City, which was built — but never used — during his first year in office.
Trump’s next decision, in March of 2018, resulted in a lawsuit over how he could use a foreign company that receives at least one-third of its payments from the U.S., despite not having submitted