President Trump Has Already Violated The Constitution, Lawsuit Claims

NEW YORK Agovernment ethics watchdog filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against President Donald Trump, claiming that he is violating the Constitution by enriching himself off of foreign governments through his global business ties.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washingtonis represented in the lawsuit by a number of prominent law professors,a leading progressive Supreme Court lawyer and ethics experts who have worked for both Democratic and Republican presidents.

The suit was filed in federal court in Manhattan, where the Trump Organization, Trumps business empire, is headquartered. The suit alleges that Trumpviolated the Constitution during the opening moments of his presidency and is poised to do so continually thereafter for the duration of his administration.

CREWs legal argument rests on Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution the once-obscureForeign Emoluments Clause, which since Trumps election has gained enormous attention for how it appears to cover the presidents business dealings.

The clause states that noPerson holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State. It has never been interpreted by the Supreme Court.

Read the lawsuit below.

The watchdog argues that the text and history of the provision point to the prevention of corruption and self-dealing by federal officials who might be able to profit from and thus be influenced by foreign governments.

The lawsuit asks a federal court to declare that Trump is covered by the clause, and seeks an injunction to prevent its violation.The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

Ethics watchdogs and public policy experts have called the conflict of interest posed by Trumps complex, opaque global business entanglements unprecedented.

The lawsuit points to some of these arrangements around the globe to make its case, including Trumps interests in luxury golf resortsin Scotland and Dubai, residential towers in Turkeyand two real estate projects in Indonesia.

The president also holds at least an estimated $1 billion in debt, much of it to foreign entities. Trump owes over$300 million in loans to Germanys Deutsche Bank and hundreds of millionsto the state-controlled Bank of China, which also leases office space in Trump Tower.

CREW claims that the presidents acceptance of any… payments from these foreign entities violates the Constitution.

According to a pool report from the White House, Trump on Monday called the lawsuit without merit.

Breaking with longstanding presidential tradition, Trump hasrefusedto release his tax returns. However, the lawsuit could arguably allow CREW to get judicial access to the tax returns in order show the extent to which Trump is indebted to both foreign and domestic lenders.

An early barrier for CREWs legal effort will be showing that the group itself has suffered direct harmfrom Trumps alleged violations. The lawsuit filed Monday notes that Trumps labyrinthine business arrangements have put a drain on the groups resources and prevented it from doing other watchdog work in the public interest.

But some legal scholars contend that CREWs injury isnt particularized enough, and that an inquiry into whether the president is being enriched by a foreign government is a political question that only Congress can remediate either by refusing consent to the presidents dealings or, in the case of a violation, by impeachment. If Abrams agrees with either argument, the lawsuit would be dismissed.

Trumps son Eric, the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, called the planned lawsuitpurely harassment for political gain.

Frankly, I find it very, very sad, Eric Trump told The New York Times on Sunday.

Noah Bookbinder, CREWs executive director, said the group had hoped for a resolution before the situation turned to lawsuits.

We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office, Bookbinder said in a statement. He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action.

Carlo Allegri / Reuters
Then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media on the golf course at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016.

Trump has insisted that as president,he is exempt from having conflicts of interest. Congress could technically exempt the president and vice president from conflict-of-interest laws due to the presumption that no leader would bring such conflicts to the Oval Office in the first place.

A little over a week before taking the oath of office, Trumpheld a press conferenceto indicate that he would not sell his global hotel chain, would continue to accept reservations bankrolled by foreign leaders and would donate the profits from those bookings to the U.S. Treasury a move that could net him a healthy tax break.

The lawsuit says the Constitution contains no exception to accommodate these maneuvers, and that in any event, Trumps plan has no enforcement mechanism and does nothing about the underlying issue of foreign influence and corruption.

Trump promised at the conference that his eldest sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, along with a longtime Trump Organization employee, would assume complete and total control of his businesses.

But an investigation by ProPublica in the lead-up to the inauguration found no recordof Trump actually resigning from his companies.

The framers of our Constitution did everything they could to protect against corruption, especially foreign corruption, Fordham law Professor Zephyr Teachout, one of the legal experts representing CREW, said in a statement. President Trumps insistence on taking payments from foreign governments is a blatant violation of a foundational clause in our Constitution, and a foundational principle of our country.

Kim Bellware reported from Chicago; Cristian Farias reported from New York.

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World’s smallest MRI helps tiny babies – BBC News

Image caption This is one of only two purpose-built neonatal MRI machines in the world

Doctors in Sheffield are pioneering the use of a compact MRI scanner for imaging the brains of premature babies.

The machine, at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, is one of only two purpose-built neonatal MRI scanners in the world.

At present, ultrasound is normally used to scan the brains of newborns.

Prof Paul Griffiths, of the University of Sheffield, said MRI was better at showing the structures of the brain and abnormalities more clearly.

Clearer images

So far about 40 babies have been imaged in the MRI scanner, which was built by GE Healthcare with funding by the Wellcome Trust.

Media captionSee the scanner – one of only two in the world – in action

One of them, Alice-Rose, was born at 24 weeks and had two bleeds in the brain.

Her parents, Shaun and Rachael Westbrook, said the MRI scan was very helpful.

Shaun told me: “It’s a much crisper image and a lot easier to understand than the ultrasound.”

Rachael added: “It’s been a rollercoaster since Alice-Rose was born on 6 November: not everything was fully formed, and she still weighs only 2lb 13oz (1.28kg).

“The MRI was reassuring as it meant you got a better look at her brain.”

Ultrasound of the brain is possible in newborn babies only because the bones in their skull are not yet fused.

Ultrasound v MRI

The sound waves can travel through the two fontanelles – the soft spots between the bones.

Prof Griffiths said: “Ultrasound is cheap, portable and convenient, but the position of the fontanelles means there are some parts of the brain which cannot be viewed.

“MRI is able to show all of the brain and the surrounding anatomy, making the images easier to explain to parents.

“From a diagnostic point, the big advantage is that MRI is able to show a wider range of brain abnormalities, in particular those which result from a lack of oxygen or blood supply.”

Image caption Ultrasound image (left) of Alice-Rose with MR image (right). The MRI shows the structures of the brain with greater clarity

MRI scans are rarely performed on severely premature babies because the risks involved in transferring and handling a sick infant can outweigh the benefits.

Prof Griffiths said: “MRI machines are huge, heavy objects which are sited in the basement or ground floor of hospitals, whereas maternity units are usually higher up, or in a completely different building, so it can mean a complicated journey to get a baby to and from the scanner.”

The compact baby MRI machine at the Royal Hallamshire is not much bigger than a washing machine and just metres away from the neonatal intensive care unit, meaning that specialist staff are on hand in case of problems.

The concept for a dedicated neonatal scanner was originally developed more than a decade ago by Prof Griffiths and Prof Martin Paley, of the University of Sheffield.

Two prototype 3 Tesla neonatal MRIs were eventually built – the other is in Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts – although it is no longer in use.

Neither machine has regulatory approval for clinical use, and both remain purely for research.

Prof Griffiths said the next step would be to do a trial in premature babies to show definitively that MRI produces a better diagnosis and whether it altered the clinical management of children.

It is not known how much a neonatal MRI machine would cost, should the system eventually get commercialised, but full-size scanners are typically priced at several hundred thousand pounds.

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has a 1.5 Tesla neonatal MRI scanner that was adapted from adult orthopaedic use.

Related Topics

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Sean Spicer Argues White House Can Disagree With The Facts

In his first appearance sincelying to the publicon Saturday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer was unapologetic, disputing what constitutes facts and ranting about demoralizing media coverage of President Donald Trump.

I believe that we have to be honest with the American people, but I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts, Spicer told reporters Monday in his first press briefing under Trump.

Our intention is never to lie to you, he added.

On Saturday, Spicer called a press conference at the White House, where he proceeded to accuse the media of being dishonest about the size of the crowd at Trumps inauguration and then refused to take questions.

He doubled down Monday on claims about the inauguration crowd, sayingits unquestionable that Trumps inauguration was the most-watched in history, despite evidence that the event drew a smallerphysical crowdand lower television viewership than past inaugurations.

Spicer went on to complain about coverage of Trump,saying that when the media reports facts about the Trump administration, its always demoralizing.

Its not about one tweet. Its not about one picture. Its about a constant theme. Its about sitting here every time and being told no. Well, we dont think he can do that. Hell never accomplish that. He cant win that. It wont be the biggest. Its not going to be that good. The crowds arent that big. The narrative, the default narrative, is always negative. And its demoralizing, and I think that when you sit here and you realize the sacrifices the guy made of leaving a very, very successful business because he really cares about this country and he wants to, despite your partisan differences, he cares about making this country better for everybody, he wants to make it safer for everybody. And so when you wake up every day, and thats what youre seeing over and over again, and youre not seeing stories about the cabinet folks that hes putting up or the success that hes having trying to keep American jobs here, yeah, it is a little disappointing.

Spicer alsocontinued his criticism of Time reporter Zeke Miller, who incorrectly reported that the bust of Martin Luther King Jr. had been removed from the Oval Office. Miller quickly corrected his false report and has apologized for the mistake several times.

On Monday, Spicer asked where Millers apology was for the incorrect report, despite having accepted Millers apology on Jan. 20.

Aside from debating what constitutes a fact, Spicer took several questions on policy issues. The Huffington Post pointed out that 2016 was the hottest year on record and asked how Trump plans to address the fact that scientists say climate change is close to harming human civilization.

Hes going to meet with his team and figure out what policies are best for the environment, said Spicer. One of the things he talked about during the campaign is theres a balance, and hes trying to make sure we use our resources appropriately, that we maximize things to make sure that we dont do so at the detriment of economic growth and job creation.

His response didnt clarify much, but its worth noting that Trump previously called climate change a hoax created by China, and that his team is composed of people divided on how much human activity contributes to the greenhouse gases heating up the planet. Ninety-seven percent of published scientific studies conclude that human activity is the biggest driver of climate change.

Spicer was also vague on the status of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem something Trump pledged to do in his campaign, which would mean bucking 20 years of precedent by past presidents.

Were in the beginning stages of this decision-making process, Spicer said. His team is going to continue to consult with stakeholders to see if we get there.

He also demurred when asked if he could say unequivocally that Trump wont send more U.S. troops into Iraq to, as Trump has put it, take the oil.

Im not going to talk about what we may or may not do, said Spicer. I think the president has been very clear that he doesnt telegraph… taking options off the table. Thats not a good negotiating skill. Thats not how he works.

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Banks face mental health challenge – BBC News

Image copyright Thinkstock

Banks must offer basic account options, as given to other vulnerable people, to assist those struggling with mental health conditions, a think tank says.

Mental health problems affected everyday activities such as budgeting and paying bills, the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (MMHPI) said.

Setting spending limits on cards and allowing people to set how banks contacted them would help, it said.

The trade body for High Street banks has vowed to improve inclusion.

In its mission statement covering 2016-18, the British Bankers’ Association said that the “crucial part of the industry commitment to raising standards” should include working with mental health initiatives.


The MMHPI said one in four people could suffer from mental health issues in any one year. It has published research suggesting that periods of poor mental health put people at risk of financial trouble.

For example it found that people with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder were likely to struggle with short-term memory, making Pin numbers harder to remember.

Those experiencing bipolar disorder or ADHD often struggled to resist impulses, potentially leading to dramatic spending sprees, it said.

People with borderline personality disorder or psychosis could find it very difficult to compare financial options and found it more difficult to plan ahead.

Extreme anxiety could also stop people opening letters or taking calls from banks.

The MMHPI is challenging banks to adapt some systems already available to help those with mental health problems. For example

  • The ability to delegate limited permissions to someone else to manage an aspect of your finances, as is available to wealthy individuals
  • Setting spending limits on cards or blocking access to some merchant codes, as is possible on many corporate cards
  • The ability to set communication preferences on an account, which is generally offered to people with visual or hearing impairments.

Polly Mackenzie, the Institute’s director, said: “For too long, it has been assumed that when people with mental health problems get behind on bills, or struggle to stick to their budget, it is because they are lazy or incompetent. Our research proves beyond doubt that’s just not true.

“Mental health problems can severely affect consumers’ ability to stay on top of their finances, shop around, or manage a budget.

“It is time for the financial services industry to adapt its services to help support people when they are unwell – just as they do to help people with physical disabilities who struggle to access a branch or engage on the phone.”

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Air pollution ‘very high’ in England, says Defra – BBC News

Image copyright GrahamD / Weather Watchers
Image caption The weather has increased the pollution levels in eight regions of the UK

Air pollution levels have reached “very high” or “high” in eight regions across the UK, the government has said.

Greater London, the south-east and eastern England had “very high” levels in some isolated pockets, due to high pressure and light winds, Defra said.

People with lung problems, adults with heart problems, or older people should avoid strenuous physical activity in the most badly hit areas, it said.

In London, the Mayor issued a separate “very high” alert about “filthy” air.

Northern Ireland, south-west England, West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humberside all had “high” pollution levels in some areas, according to Defra.

‘Take extra care’

By Michelle Roberts, BBC health reporter

Experts say young, fit people are unlikely to encounter any serious short term problems, but some people should take extra care.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Asthma sufferers may need to take their inhalers more

Adults and children with lung or heart problems should take it easy and avoid strenuous physical exertion, particularly outside.

People with asthma may be more breathless than usual and need to use their reliever inhaler more often.

Anyone experiencing discomfort, such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat, should consider taking it easy and limiting the time they spend outdoors.

For the latest forecasts and health advice, visit Defra UK Air.

“High” levels are expected to be seen again on Tuesday in many places across England and Wales, with “very high” levels possible again in south-east, central and eastern England, Defra said.

And on Wednesday, moderate to high levels of pollution are expected in southern and eastern parts of England.

The last time “very high” levels were recorded was on 1 December 2016 in two regions.

The government advised people to check its five-day pollution forecasts and to follow Defra’s health advice.

Defra has 5,000 monitoring stations across the UK to record pollutant levels in specific locations.

Meanwhile the figures in the capital on which Mayor Sadiq Khan based his alert come from King’s College London.

Warnings are being issued at bus stops, roadside signs and Tube stations in the capital under the new alert system he set up.

Air pollution: What you should do

  • Low pollution (levels 1-3): Enjoy the outdoors as usual
  • Moderate pollution (levels 4-6): Adults and children with lung or heart problems should consider taking it easy if they experience symptoms
  • High pollution (levels 7-9): Adults and children with lung or heart problems should reduce strenuous physical exertion
  • Very high pollution (level 10): These people should avoid strenuous physical activity, while people with asthma may need to use their inhaler more often

Source: Defra Air Quality Index

In the east of England, the highest levels were recorded in Norwich, but other areas like Luton and Cambridge had very low pollutants.

For the south east region, Chatham in Kent recorded the highest levels, followed by Oxford and Storrington in West Sussex, but Brighton and Canterbury remained low.

And in Greater London, the worst levels were in North Kensington, Marylebone Road and Camden, although areas such as Haringey and Hillingdon had low pollution.

Defra’s warnings measure levels of five pollutants: ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and PM2.5 and PM10 particulate matter.

Monday’s warnings focus on the levels of PM2.5 – a type of pollution involving fine particles less than 2.5 microns (0.0025mm) in diameter – and PM10 – coarser particles with a diameter of up to 10 microns.

Both particles – which may contain smoke, dust, soot, metals, nitrates, sulphates, water and rubber from tyres – can get into the lungs and potentially cause serious health problems.

Air pollution is linked to the early deaths of around 40,000 people a year in the UK. It also causes health problems, including heart and lung diseases and asthma.

Have you made changes because of the pollution? Are you staying indoors or working from home? Have you made other changes? You can email with your experiences.

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