Richard Painter says it's "absolutely critical" to find out about foreign money that's going into the Trump and Kushner business empire.
June 17, 2017

In today's AM Joy opening panel, Scott Dworkin was angry about Jared Kushner lying on his security application.

"When I was working for Obama, I would have been fired, locked up," he said.

"There would have been no doubt about it. Nobody would have asked any questions about it further. He's guilty of a crime and definitely should not be in the White House at the moment."

Reid asked Richard Painter, who was the Bush White House ethics lawyer and is now a board member of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, to comment on the Justice Department memorandum saying Trump can accept foreign payments.

"I do think it's premature to say Jared Kushner is guilty of a crime and belongs in jail," he cautioned.

"But it's absolutely critical to find out the facts as to what's going on with respect to foreign government money and other foreign money that's going into the Trump business empire and into the Kushner business empire.

"The Department of Justice is just flat-out wrong in the argument; emoluments (clause) does not permit receiving payments of foreign governments. I'm on the other side of that case with some good lawyers, a great team. We feel very strongly that emoluments clause specifically prohibits any person holding a position of trust with the United States from receiving profits or benefits and dealings," he said. "We need to get to the facts here in this investigation."

"In our (emoluments) case in the southern district of New York, we have asked a federal judge to find out the facts. Once we find out the facts, we can figure out what payments the president can keep. The same should be done with respect to Jared Kushner. If there is any criminal activity, of course, those who are doing it should be held accountable," he said.

Reid asked authoritarian expert Sarah Kendzior about Trump's recent financial disclosure statement -- and who would enforce Trump violations.

"I'm not sure anybody would enforce it," Kendzior said.

"The entire pattern of his presidency is him brazenly breaking laws and nobody enforcing it. So many laws rest on good faith, that the president is out for the public, not to make money off the executive power of the presidency.

"Unfortunately, that's what he's doing. We're in a new situation. I think we need more documentation. The documentation you referred to shows the money he made, doesn't show his debt, doesn't show his transactions. Of course, we still don't have his tax returns."

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