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The Justice Department has had to twist itself in Knots to Defend Trump on Emoluments

Author: Jane Chong

Affiliation: Lawfare

Organization/Publisher: The Atlantic

Date/Place: May 26, 2020/USA
Type of Literature: Article

Word Count: 2272 


Keywords: US, Justice Department, Trump. 


The article discusses how the Justice Department has twisted its logic and done everything possible for the sake of Trump. In the bargain to defend Trump on Emoluments, the department has undone its credibility. The overarching executive power enjoyed by the President empowers him to undermine certain processes to his advantage. Be it relating to the sacking of important bureaucrats, bypassing the congressional orders or seeking foreign help for his defense, the President holds the upper-hand in tough situations. Ever since Trump’s presidency, the Justice department has defended him against three lawsuits. This shows how Trump is using the governments office for his benefit by going against the constitutional provisions, which prevent the President from accepting emoluments. Although, the Justice department has for years, rightfully interpreted the Constitution, yet the scope of misuse has been exploited by Trump. Certain provisions of the law also provide the required opportunity to manipulate the law. The emoluments cases are difficult for the plaintiffs to win, not because their interpretation of the clauses is wrong, but because getting that interpretation considered in court requires first showing they are the right people to bring the case. Thus, a single or a group of officials would do no harm to the President, unless the whole Congressional body question his dealings. When truth seeking exercises are undermined by parochial interests, it paves way for corruption. The Justice department’s interpretation of the Constitution’s prohibition on emoluments is ambiguous. This shows a clear clash between President’s interest and public interest. 

By: Usman Khan Pathan, CIGA Research Associate



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