June 19, 2018

Woman running for New York Attorney General has Trump in her sights

Intercept - Zephyr Teachout twice pressed former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to lead the judicial challenge to President Donald Trump’s violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, and both times he refused, she told The Intercept in an interview.

Teachout, who announced that she would be running to replace Schneiderman, formally launched her campaign . Within a week of her announcement, she had raised more than $100,000, with the average donation coming in at $31, her campaign told The Intercept. Schneiderman stepped down following allegations that he physically abused multiple former girlfriends.

“I called him in December and I sat down with him in the first week of January 2017, before Donald Trump took office, and I brought with me precedents from the Office of Legal Counsel, cases about standing, law review articles and said, New York should be leading the charge of bringing a lawsuit against Donald Trump the minute he takes office for violating the foreign and domestic emoluments clause of the Constitution,” Teachout said.

The emoluments clause is a once-obscure constitutional provision that prohibits certain government officials, like the president, from receiving gifts or other payments from foreign governments without congressional approval. Legal experts believe that Trump may be violating the Constitution by maintaining ownership of businesses that take in foreign profits.

Teachout’s argument for a legal challenge, she said, rested on the physical presence in New York of an enterprise involved in alleged ongoing criminal activity, the Trump Organization. “New York has to do that because it is the epicenter of the Trump empire,” she said. “Of the 500 or so Trump companies affiliated with the Trump Organization, they connect in New York state, and the New York attorney general — to protect the people of New York and to stand up for the people of the country — has to be the leading voice on this. Eric did not take action.”

... Teachout, known in legal scholar circles for her work on antitrust law, said that Trump would be a focus of her approach as New York’s top law enforcement official. She added that state law also gives the attorney general significant power in confronting monopoly concentration on behalf of consumers and workers, power that she plans to leverage.


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