Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Could Trump’s Business Interests Run Afoul Of The Constitution?

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Constitutional law expert Richard Primus joins Detroit Today to give his take.

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That’s an elected official saying that he thinks the fact that he was elected to office gives him a license to violate the Constitution.”

Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Over the weekend, the New York Times detailed all of the many conflicts of interest Donald Trump brings to the presidency because of his career in business and development.

Trump also relies on foreign banks to lend him money to pursue major projects. And he says he doesn’t intend on liquidating his assets and putting them in a blind trust. Instead, he would like his adult children to oversee the Trump brand.

But there is a clause within the U.S. Constitution that may present a legal conundrum for president-elect Trump if he continues business with foreign entities. It’s called the Emoluments Clause. It states:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Richard Primus, professor of law and Constitutional law expert at the University of Michigan joins Detroit Today to talk about what this means for the incoming administration.

It’s a shot across the bow of the Constitution,” says Primus. “One of the things he’s saying is voters knew about his foreign business interests when they elected him, so they’ve already decided to give him a pass on this and we shouldn’t worry about it.”

That’s an elected official saying that he thinks the fact that he was elected to office gives him a license to violate the Constitution. It’s almost unthinkable.”

Click on the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.


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