John Avlon did a reality check segment on emoluments this morning on New Day.
"It's a fancy word for a simple concept, emoluments. What are they? President Trump, is he violating the law that surrounds emoluments? finally, somebody will explain emoluments," Alysin Camerota said.
"We will demystify everything. Emoluments. It's Hard to say and even harder to explain. But basically, emoluments is OG constitutional language for 'potentially corrupting compensation or perk.' The Founding Fathers thought it was important enough to invent Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution. No president or officer can accept emoluments from any foreign government. If that has you scratching your head saying 'WTF,' you're not alone."
I can't even tell you what it says at this point.
Avlon said that a big deal because there are three lawsuits accusing Trump of accepting emoluments. "For example, the Saudi-backed lobbying firm that reserved 500 nights of rooms around the inauguration to the tune of a cool quarter million -- and this applies to the president not divesting himself of business deals past, present and future. Trump Tower Moscow comes to mind."
The Founding Fathers were trying to stop officials from taking money or gifts that might undermine integrity. Some tried to stop President Obama from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, calling it an emolument, Avlon said.
"And the barks from government watchdogs are getting louder. The director of the GSA who leases the building to Trump just did so after the election. The lease itself specifically says elected officials need not apply. Trump's lawyers say that's moot because he signed it before he was elected. The lawsuit is presently on hold because of the government shutdown. That's right. Trump's shutdown has frozen Trump's lawsuit.
"The clock tower in Trump's hotel is technically a national park, supposed to be closed like the rest of them. But it's not. Three park rangers are still on the job while some 800,000 other non-essential federal employees are about to go without their second paycheck. Somehow, the Trump administration found the money to pay these guys and now there are calls for an investigation.
"Say it loud, emoluments, a word both you and nominee Bill Barr will be hearing a lot."