As Donald Trump prepares to take the oath of office exactly a month from today, it still remains unclear what arrangements he will make to avoid conflicts of interest between his business interests and his official duties as President of the United States. But former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has an idea how to avoid any problems: Change all the ethics laws especially for Trump.
Appearing on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Monday, Gingrich commented:
“We’ve never seen this kind of wealth in the White House, and so traditional rules don’t work. We’re going to have to think up a whole new approach.”
What if a member of the Trump Administration happens to get caught in a clear violation of ethics laws? Gingrich replied to that:
“In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon. It’s a totally open power. He could simply say, ‘Look, I want them to be my advisers. I pardon them if anyone finds them to have behaved against the rules. Period. Technically, under the Constitution, he has that level of authority.”
I believe that’s called having your cake and eating it, too, Newt. It’s also the first step to turning the White House into the pinnacle of a burgeoning kleptocracy. Steal a few billion dollars from the U.S. Treasury? No problem! President Trump will pardon you.
Clearly, Trump will be in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits U.S. government employees from taking payments from foreign governments or the companies they run. How to solve this problem? Gingrich suggested the fact that voters knew Trump had wide-ranging business interests across the globe makes it all copacetic:
“I think there was a general sense that the president had the ability, that this was going to be a billionaire presidency. I don’t think anyone who voted for him was not aware that he was a very, very successful businessman.”
Richard Painter, a former George W. Bush White House ethics lawyer, said Gingrich’s ideas were in direct opposition to the laws which govern every American:
“If the pardon power allows that, the pardon power allows the president to become a dictator, and even Richard Nixon had the decency to wait for his successor to hand out the pardon that he received for his illegal conduct. We’re going down a very, very treacherous path if we go with what Speaker Gingrich is saying, what he is suggesting.”
How about we just impeach Don the Con right now and get it over with?
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org