Tags: Donald Trump | electoral college | cant | vote | trump | violates | constitution

Lawyer: Electoral College Can't Vote Trump If He Violates Constitution


By    |   Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 01:22 PM

President-elect Donald Trump needs to seriously address the problem of conflict of interest with his business empire, because "I don't think the Electoral College can vote for someone to become president if he's going to be in violation of the Constitution on day one and hasn't assured us he's not in violation," Richard Painter told CNN on Wednesday.

Painter, who served as President George W. Bush's ethics counsel from 2005-2007, took issue with Trump's assertion to The New York Times "the law's totally on my side" when it comes to questions about conflict of interest and ethics laws, insisting "the president can't have a conflict of interest."

Ironically, Trump also told the Times he has never been a fan of the Electoral College and prefers the election to be determined by the popular vote.

Painter said, however, a president can have conflict of interests just like anyone else who is serving in the government.

He explained although certain conflict of interest statutes do not apply to the president, "the emolument clause of the Constitution does [which prohibits foreign governments from making payments to the president] . . . the anti-bribery statutes apply, there's a wide range of conflict of interest and anti-corruption laws that apply to the president."

But Painter wrote in a CNN opinion piece the main problem is not even legal, but ethical, because if Trump intends to keep his promise to rid Washington of all sorts of influence peddlers, he can hardly retain public confidence if he does not eliminate his own conflict of interests.

Otherwise, he said, "every time his administration does anything that appears to help one of [his] businesses, Trump will be accused of enriching himself at the expense of the public."

Although Painter admitted the U.S. law which requires executive branch employees to sell assets that create conflicts with their duties or to recuse themselves from all matters that affect those financial interests does not apply to the president and vice president, he said.

"Every other president has voluntarily complied with this law, even though not legally required to do so," he added. "Trump owes it to the American people to do the same. Only then will he be credible in telling the rest of Washington how to behave."

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President-elect Donald Trump needs to seriously address the problem of conflict of interest with his business empire, Richard Painter told CNN on Wednesday.
electoral college, cant, vote, trump, violates, constitution
Wednesday, 23 Nov 2016 01:22 PM
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