Arguments begin in emoluments suit against Trump

Arguments begin in emoluments suit against Trump

 The Justice Department, which is defending Trump, called the suit politically motivated and said the Democratic attorneys general wanted to conduct a “fishing expedition” in the private files of the president’s business. The department’s lawyers also argued that the District and Maryland lacked standing to sue Trump in the first place because they wouldn’t suffer any specific injury.
..  He called the Trump International Hotel in the District — his own jurisdiction — a “den of iniquity” because, he alleged, it was seen as a place where money could buy influence.
.. In his questioning of Shumate, Messitte challenged the Justice Department’s argument that it was only speculation that Trump’s business had drawn clients away from others. He cited two embassy parties mentioned in a Washington Post story: Bahrain and Kuwait held expensive embassy parties at Trump’s D.C. hotel after the election.
.. “You have diplomats from certain Arab countries that are declaring that they are taking their business [to Trump’s hotels] in order to curry favor with the president,” Messitte said. “Do you need a number on that” loss of business to pursue the case further?
.. And he repeatedly questioned Shumate on the standing question, asking: If Maryland and the District can’t sue, then who can?

“Does anybody ever have standing, based on your argument?” Messitte said.

.. The plaintiffs also argued that competing hotels in Maryland and the District have been harmed by Trump’s D.C. hotel and that the U.S. General Services Administration, which handles federal real estate, wrongly allowed Trump’s company to continue to lease the Old Post Office building (where the hotel operates), even though a clause in the contract said no elected official could remain on the lease.

The Submission of America’s Elites

Alexis de Tocqueville, who a century and a half ago observed that nobles of the ancien régime “possessed annoying privileges, enjoyed rights that people found irksome but they safeguarded the public order, dispensed justice, had the law upheld, came to the help of the weak and directed public business.” But when “the nobility ceased to conduct these affairs, the weight of its privileges seemed more burdensome and its very existence was, in the end, no longer understandable.”

.. It is likely that other forces will intervene to preclude the wholesale transfer of France’s government and elite institutions to the Gulf States. Yet the Gulf State influence in Submission is not some dystopic future to be arrived at absent a course correction; it is very much part of the West’s present reality.

.. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.” The money flowing into extremist groups and human rights violations have been documented copiously, with little change in U.S. policy.

.. Some experts estimate as much as $7 trillion from the U.S. alone to the Middle East in the last four decades.

.. Gulf Arab petro-nobility donate tens of millions to elite American universities and leading think tanks. The think tanks, of course, are well positioned to directly shape U.S. policy. “It is particularly egregious because with a law firm or lobbying firm, you expect them to be an advocate,” Joseph Sandler, an attorney and expert on foreign influence, told the New York Times’ Eric Lipton. “Think tanks have this patina of academic neutrality and objectivity, and that is being compromised.”