MSNBC Gives Platform for Liberal State AGs to Tout Trump Lawsuit

The attorney generals of D.C. and Maryland arrived on the set of Morning Joe Tuesday to present their case for suing the Trump administration. It did not take long for their bias and animosity towards the President to become apparent, however. When asked about the basis for their legal action, D.C. Attorney General, Karl Racine, stated the following, “In a normal presidency, you would have the following checks and balances...the President checking himself...the staff checking the President...the Republican-controlled congress checking the President. We know that's not happening and so, it's the press, the Democratic Attorney Generals and others who are invoking the constitution and taking these things to court.”
        
Maryland Attorney General, Brian Fosh, later expounded on why he and Racine believed themselves to have legal standing under the emoluments clause to sue the President citing his various overseas properties and revenue as evidence:

BRIAN FROSH:...What concerns me is that you have a president who is doing so many things that violate his oath of office and, specifically, the emoluments clause is one of the most important protections that we have in the constitution. Mueller may be looking at things that relate to that. The Russia investigation may unveil some payments that he's received, treatment that he's received from Russia that affect his conduct, but our lawsuit is about things that we know have happened. We know that he's receiving payments from China. We know he's receiving payments from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, from Afghanistan, and a number of other countries. And we know he's marketing his properties.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: So, let me interrupt you. Wouldn’t you have to prove though that he's getting more than market value or maybe, perhaps, those payments have increased exponentially since he became President of the United States?

FROSH: Well, he's proved that himself. I mean, he got elected president. He doubled the fees at Mar-a-Lago, from, that's his Florida resort, from $100,000 to $200,000. He doubled the price of the rooms at the Trump hotel in Washington. And he brags about what a great negotiator he is, that China is one of his biggest tenants. He himself has testified --

SCARBOROUGH: But he bragged about China being one of his biggest tenants during the campaign. I guess what I'm saying is if you go before the court, doesn't January 20th have to be the cutoff date and you need to show that there's been an increase exponentially from foreign powers in money that's gone to the Trump organization?

KARL RACINE: Joe, I think you're exactly right that January 20th is the key date and that's the date on which the President should have taken steps to put in a credible divestment plan. The fact that he hasn't, the fact that he so enthusiastically is willing to accept moneys from foreign countries who clearly have an interest in trying to influence U.S. policy is why we're filing this lawsuit.

Conservative radio host Mark Levin offered a thorough, point-by-point takedown of this argument on his show Monday evening. He noted how ridiculous it would be to sue Trump on the basis of foreigners choosing, for example, to stay in a Trump hotel. Levin noted that under such an argument even foreign sales of Barack Obama’s books would then become liable to legal prosecution.

<<< Please support MRC's NewsBusters team with a tax-deductible contribution today. >>>

Here are the excerpts from the June 13 exchange:

7:46 AM

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: The attorneys general of Maryland and Washington D.C. are suing the President of the United States, claiming he has failed to completely separate himself from his vast business empire. At the center of it is the little-known piece of law known as the emoluments clause. Joining us from Washington the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh

JOE SCARBOROUGH: We had Jonathan Turley on earlier this morning. He had a question about standing. Do you have standing?

KARL RACINE: Yeah, we believe we have standing on two bases, first sovereign standing, which really goes to the fundamental core duty and responsibility of attorney generals to protect the interest of their residents. If the President of the United States is violating the fundamental anti-corruption law known as the emoluments clause we believe that gives us standing to protect our people.

SCARBOROUGH; But isn’t that something that the federal government should determine and not states attorney generals?

RACINE: You make a good point, Joe and there is no doubt that Congress does indeed have a role within the emoluments clause. Look, in a normal presidency, you would have the following checks and balances, you'd have the President checking himself, then you'd have the staff checking the President then you’d have the Republican-controlled Congress checking the President. We know that's not happening and so, it's the press, the democratic attorney generals and others who are invoking the constitution and taking these things to court.

SCARBOROUGH: All right. Harold?

HAROLD FORD: General Frosh, Harold Ford. Good morning. Yesterday, Sean Spicer at a press briefing in answering this question at the end of his answer he said this is a politically motivated lawsuit by two attorneys general who the majority of their residents didn't support Donald Trump and they personally don't support that. Number one, how do you react to that? And if there anything you want to build on General Racine's point, please do.

BRIAN FROSH: Yeah, sure. Look, first of all, we're working with the ethics adviser to the Obama administration and the ethics advisor to the George W. Bush administration. The emoluments clause is the key anti-corruption clause in the constitution. It protects every American from the President putting his interests above those of all of the rest of us. I think every American needs to know that when the President sends our sons and daughters into harm's way he's not doing it because of his business interests. We need to know that when he makes a deal with another nation he's not doing it because he has a golf course there. This is not a partisan issue. This is an issue about presidential honesty and the avoidance of corruption.

MIKE BARNICLE: Brian, does it concern you at all that when people hear about this suit or read about this suit that there's a general knowledge that there is a big league investigation of the president going on in both the Senate and the House and that there's a major leaguer Bob Mueller conducting his own investigation as special prosecutor and that people would think, you know, aw man, oh, this is just now all politics? They're just jumping on this poor guy because the country is divided and a lot of Trump supporters will refuse to believe almost anything said or filed against him. Does that concern you at all?

FROSH: Look, what concerns me is that you have a president who is doing so many things that violate his oath of office and, specifically, the emoluments clause is one of the most important protections that we have in the constitution. Mueller may be looking at things that relate to that. The Russia investigation may unveil some payments that he's received, treatment that he's received from Russia that affect his conduct, but our lawsuit is about things that we know have happened. We know that he's receiving payments from China. We know he's receiving payments from Saudi Arabia, from Qatar, from Afghanistan, and a number of other countries. And we know he's marketing his properties.

SCARBOROUGH: So, let me interrupt you. Wouldn’t you have to prove though that he's getting more than market value or maybe, perhaps, those payments have increased exponentially since he became President of the United States?

FROSH: Well, he's proved that himself. I mean, he got elected president. He doubled the fees at Mar-a-Lago, from, that's his Florida resort, from $100,000 to $200,000. He doubled the price of the rooms at the Trump hotel in Washington. And he brags about what a great negotiator he is, that China is one of his biggest tenants. He himself has testified --

SCARBOROUGH: But he bragged about China being one of his biggest tenants during the campaign. I guess what I'm saying is if you go before the court, doesn't January 20th have to be the cutoff date and you need to show that there's been an increase exponentially from foreign powers in money that's gone to the Trump organization?

RACINE: Joe, I think you're exactly right that January 20th is the key date and that's the date on which the President should have taken steps to put in a credible divestment plan. The fact that he hasn't, the fact that he so enthusiastically is willing to accept moneys from foreign countries who clearly have an interest in trying to influence U.S. policy is why we're filing this lawsuit.


Please support NewsBusters today! [a 501(c)(3) non-profit production of the Media Research Center]

DONATE

Or, book travel through MRC’s Travel Discounts Program! MRC receives a rebate for each booking when you use our special codes.

BOOK NOW

NBDaily Covert Liberal Activists MSNBC Morning Joe District of Columbia Maryland Video


Sponsored Links