Thursday, December 8, 2016

Artisanal Legal Documents

The Times story, which showed up on their website at 8:00 or so last night, was a report on the ongoing planning for how the president-elect is going to put himself beyond suspicion of self-dealing to the benefit of his far-flung business holdings when he's running the country, which is, surprise surprise, not at all. He and Grand Duchess Ivanka will simply go on leave of absence from their respective positions in the Trump Organization, leaving Grand Dukes Donald and Eric to mind the store.

This will make it self-evidently unpossible for anybody to bribe the president by, I don't know, feeding money into one of his hotels, because why exactly?

How could this expedient possibly have any effect on whether anybody chooses to bribe him through his businesses at all?

President-elect Donald J. Trump is considering formally turning over the operational responsibility for his real estate company to his two adult sons, but he intends to keep a stake in the business and resist calls to divest, according to several people briefed on the discussions.
Emperor Trump simply won't be able to find out whether he's been bribed or not because the check went to one of the Grand Dukes? What are they using for magical secret keeping, the Fidelius Charm?

The Trumps are exploring what was described by one person briefed on the discussions as a “legal structure” that would give Mr. Trump and his daughter separation from the company. The New York Times spoke to two people involved in the transition process who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about continuing negotiations.
Oh, I see, a legal structure. Just as whenever Trump gets married, he enters a legal structure that makes it impossible for him to commit adultery—just can't happen!—or whenever he signs a deal with a subcontractor he enters a legal structure in which he can't avoid paying the full agreed amount on completion of the work, or whenever he sets up a charitable foundation he calls into existence a legal structure that can only be funded by charitable donations (never payments for services being laundered through the foundation for tax evasion purposes), and only disburse funds for eleemosynary purposes (never to pay his personal expenses or debts).

Really, when Trump starts talking about legal structures you need to check your wallet.

And note by the way that nobody's even mentioning the Emoluments Clause of Article 1 Section 9 of the US Constitution, which forbids a president or other federal office holder from receiving any kind of payments or gifts or benefits from a foreign company. Trump's plan addresses conflict of interest statutes by saying the president can't have a conflict of interest (not true: it's that he's allowed to have conflicts of interest, unlike all other officials, or rather that the only legal remedy to such deeply improper breaches of trust is impeachment). But by being president while owning a business that has foreign government customers, like a DC luxury hotel, or receives foreign government benefits or favors, like a Scottish golf course, Trump will be in serious violation of Constitutional law even when he's not taking bribes (which is bound to be the case some of the time, e.g. when he's asleep), and the proposed "legal structure" won't make any difference to that.

Grand Duke Eric Donaldovich, caught by Sam Hodgson/New York Times in the vestibules of the Winter Palace. 
I don't understand why the Times story doesn't seem to have roused any excitement; maybe because it doesn't add anything to last week's Twitter decree:

But I thought of that as just Trumpian bullshit ("I feel it is visually important" meaning he thinks it's nothing but PR and "The Presidency is a far more important task!" as if the only important point is to avoid distraction, like Obama limiting his clothing options to just the two suits). Now it seems clear that the "crafting" of those documents is really taking place (like artisanal instruments being handmade by some hipster law firm in the Hudson Valley, and they intend to get away with it, and the dry Times coverage makes the story part of The Normalizing, though they do point out

The Office of Government Ethics has told Mr. Trump’s lawyers that only a divestiture would resolve ethical concerns, guidance that was made public in an extraordinary stream of posts on the office’s Twitter feed. Officials with the office did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the plan under consideration.
Pay attention! This is not a joke! It's corruption on a scale we've hardly started imagining, being constructed right before our eyes.

Image via Steemit.

No comments:

Post a Comment