What if U.S. government policy were shaped around increasing the wealth of one family?
If that sounds like a Mafia movie full of gruesome violence, you're thinking much too small and much too pleasant.
Trump son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner's real estate firm asked the Qatari government to finance a skyscraper in New York. Upon being turned down, Kushner backed a blockade of Qatar led by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates -- a blockade that has thrown already violent and chaotic relations in the region into greater turmoil. Kushner then reportedly blocked efforts by now-fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to ease tensions.
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Governments known to have been plotting ways to influence U.S. policy by gaining leverage over Kushner through his often debt-laden real estate investments include the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel, and Mexico. Kushner's company has sold a share in a Brooklyn building to a company whose largest shareholder is the government of Japan. Kushner also received a big loan for his company after meeting in the White House with a billionaire who was seeking a White House job.
While it's helpful that a special prosecutor investigating Russia and an election is reportedly looking into some of this Trump family corruption, Congress has a duty to impeach Trump now and remove him and his family from office for violating the Constitution's emoluments clauses. Tell your Congress member what you think.
Meanwhile, Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump will be paid over $1 million this year by the Trump family business, even while jetting around the world to meet with foreign leaders and lobby Congress on behalf of her father, the U.S. President. The Trump family business has investments in many foreign nations and U.S. states.
For Trump to have even the possibility of profiting from the decisions of the U.S. government, any U.S. state, or any foreign nation puts him in violation of the U.S. Constitution. Claims that his business is donating profits from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury fall short in several ways:
1. No such claim is being made with regard to U.S. and state profits.
2. Future profits for many years to come from current actions are not included.
3. Congress is not overseeing these calculations.
4. The Constitution includes no loophole to allow for such arrangements.
Click here to let Donald Trump know there are limits to what he can get away with.
Trump clearly believes there are no such limits. He's just nominated an advocate of illegal wars to be Secretary of State, and a sadistic torturer to run the CIA. He drags guests to his own hotels, including his for-profit Weekend White House in Florida. He scorns competence and rewards loyalty. And his war in alliance with his loyal Saudi friends against the people of Yemen is far bloodier than all Mafia movies ever produced combined.
Basta! Enough! Put an end to it now.
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P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Frances Fox Piven, Lila Garrett, Phil Donahue, Sonali Kolhatkar, and many others.