Adam Schiff Just Accused Trump Of ‘Violating The Emoluments Clause’ With ZTE Deal
Appearing on CNN Tuesday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accused President Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by making a deal with Beijing over Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.
“I certainly view this as a violation of the emoluments clause, yes. And many others as well, both foreign, in terms of the business effort to expand the Trump Organization,” Schiff told CNN’s “New Day,” referring to a constitutional clause that bars the president from accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments without congressional consent.
Schiff also pointed out that the president has been engaged in ethical violations by the constant milking of the federal government by requiring government officials to patronize Trump-related businesses.”
Trump over the weekend said he wanted to help ZTE get “back into business” after the Commerce Department earlier this year prohibited U.S. companies from selling to ZTE because the firm violated American sanctions.
Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post reported last week that the Chinese government will provide $500 million in state loans for the construction of MNC Lido City, a resort and theme park project in Indonesia that will include a golf course and hotels branded with the Trump name.
Richard Painter, who served as an ethics lawyer for former President George W. Bush, told the newspaper that he “would have advised” Trump to sell his his stakes in the project, which he said may violate the emoluments clause.
Norm Eisen, former President Obama’s ethics czar, also accused Trump of violating the emoluments clause due to the project.
The president on Monday defended his remarks about helping ZTE, saying they are “reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating” with China.
“ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from U.S. companies,” Trump wrote Monday on Twitter. “This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi,” he added, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Schiff in his Tuesday morning interview suggested Trump could also be willing to aid ZTE so China will help him work toward a deal with North Korea over its nuclear program.
“It obviously could be related to China doing this huge business favor. It also could be related to the fact that having walked out of the Iran deal, the president now needs a deal with North Korea more than Kim Jong Un,” Schiff said.
“And desperate to get a deal with North Korea, he is now seeking to curry favor with China.”
Watch Schiff’s interview below via CNN.
Rep. Adam Schiff on President Trump's attempt at a deal with Chinese company ZTE: "I certainly view this as a violation of the Emoluments Clause, yes" https://t.co/AvakVRNzYd pic.twitter.com/eMAfNLjzFv
— New Day (@NewDay) May 15, 2018