President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause by making a deal with Beijing over Chinese telecommunications company ZTE, Rep. Adam Schiff told CNN’s “New Day” on Tuesday.
Just 72 hours after the Chinese government agreed to put a half-billion dollars into an Indonesian project that will personally enrich Donald Trump, the president ordered a bailout for ZTE, HuffPost reported.
And this comes only two weeks after ZTE phones were banned by the U.S. military for use on its bases for fear they could be used to track the locations of soldiers after the Chinese company was described as a security risk by the intelligence community.
“I certainly view this as a violation of the emoluments clause, yes. And many others as well, in terms of the business effort to expand the Trump Organization,” Schiff told CNN’s “New Day.”
The California Democrat added that “I can’t imagine China going forward with this transaction, helping a Trump-branded property in Indonesia to the tune of half a billion if the president continued the sanctions on ZTE.”
The clause bars the president from accepting payments or gifts from foreign governments without congressional consent.
Schiff also suggested Trump could 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,” he said. “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. And desperate to get a deal with North Korea, he is now seeking to curry favor with China.”
The congressman said that Trump was also engaging in unethical use of his presidential powers in the U.S. “by the constant milking of the federal government when the president requires the federal government to patronize Trump-related businesses.”
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