Zachary Stieber


A federal appeals court dismissed a case against President Donald Trump on July 10.

The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia brought a lawsuit against Trump, claiming he violated the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution by receiving money from his hotel in Washington.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Maryland and Washington did not have legal standing to bring the claim, which Trump had asserted when he filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.

The so-called clause says government office-holders cannot “accept” any present, emolument, office, or title from foreign officials.

The Trump International Hotel is seen in Washington on March 22, 2019. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

“The District and Maryland contend that the President’s ‘continued ownership interest in a global business empire’ provides him with ‘millions of dollars in payments, benefits, and other valuable consideration from foreign governments and persons acting on their behalf, as well as federal agencies and state governments,’ and that the President is therefore receiving ’emoluments’” that are prohibited by the Clauses,” the appeals court panel wrote in the decision.

In deciding to dismiss the suit, the panel noted that “up until the series of suits recently brought against this President under the Emoluments Clauses, no court has ever entertained a claim to enforce them.”

“The District and Maryland have manifested substantial difficulty articulating how they are harmed by the President’s alleged receipts of emoluments and the nature of the relief that could redress any harm so conceived,” the court added.

“The District and Maryland’s interest in enforcing the Emoluments Clauses is so attenuated and abstract that their prosecution of this case readily provokes the question of whether this action against the President is an appropriate use of the courts, which were created to resolve real cases and controversies between the parties.”

Even if the court had ruled that the president couldn’t receive money from the hotel, government officials would still patronize the hotel, the panel said.

According to the liberal Center for Responsible Politics, citing Office of Government Ethics documents, Trump’s Washington hotel made $40.8 million in 2018, a roughly $500,000 increase from 2017.

Trump celebrated the dismissal on Twitter.

“Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt. Unanimous decision in my favor from The United States Court of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit on the ridiculous Emoluments Case,” he wrote.

“I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).”

Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, also sent a statement to news outlets.

“Today’s pair of decisions by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals is a complete victory,” he said in the statement. “The decision states that there was no legal standing to bring this lawsuit in the first place. This latest effort at Presidential harassment has been dismissed with prejudice.”

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Appeals Court Dismisses Emoluments Case Against Trump, President Reacts

President Donald Trump said that it’s crucial to have the citizenship question on the 2020 Census for a range of issues.

“You need it for many reasons. Number one, you need it for Congress, you need it for Congress, for districting, you need it for appropriations, where are the funds going. How many people are there? Are they citizens, are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons,” Trump told reporters in Washington on July 5.

The president said earlier Friday that he was mulling an executive order that places the question on the census.

Trump said that he spoke with Attorney General William Barr on Friday about the situation.

President Donald Trump talks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for his Bedminster, N.J. golf club in Washington on July 5, 2019. (Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

“We have a number of different avenues. We could use all of them or one. We’re doing very well on that. We’re spending 15 to 20 billion dollars on a census. We’re doing everything. We’re finding out everything about everybody. Think of it: 15 to 20 billion dollars, and you’re not allowed to ask them, are you a citizen?” he said.

“And by the way, if you look at the history of our country, it’s almost always been asked. So we’re fighting very hard against the system, that’s a very difficult system but we’ll make a decision. The attorney general is working on that right now.”

Trump said that an executive order is one of four or five options that are on the table, also saying his administration could print the census now without the question and add it on later.

Trump has focused intensely on the issue this week, repeatedly giving updates on the situation. He said that he told government workers to “do whatever is necessary” to get the question on the census, while Department of Justice lawyers indicated they were looking at possible “legally available” paths forward in a conference call with a federal judge on Wednesday.

Lawyers told the judge that the administration was not giving up the fight to add the question to the census, according to a court filing in Maryland. “[I]f a viable path forward is found, DOJ’s current plan would be to file a motion in the Supreme Court to request instructions on remand to govern further proceedings,” the filing stated.

A U.S. Census Bureau letter in a file photo. (Michelle R. Smith/AP Photo)


After the Trump administration announced it wanted the question placed back on the census—it was on for centuries until the 1950s—legal groups challenged the plan, claiming it would lead to illegal immigrants declining to respond to the once-in-a-decade census.

A federal judge in February ruled that the question could be on the census. The Supreme Court in June said that the administration’s rationale for including the question wasn’t sufficient but didn’t close the door on the question being included if the administration provided an explanation for including the question that the nation’s highest court considered appropriate.

Some have said the ruling leaves room for Trump to print the census now with the question on it.

“Completely. Print the census with the question—and issue a statement explaining why—’because we should.’ Done,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said.

“Neither the Constitution nor the Roberts opinion say the question cannot be included,” he added. “The President can add it & SCOTUS didn’t say otherwise—just that it wanted a better rationale than Commerce gave… so POTUS ought to do that.”

One former judge said Trump had the authority to place the question on the census through an executive order.

Steven Schier, a professor of political science at Carleton College in Minnesota, told KTSP that he thinks Trump’s chances of getting the question on the census are around 50/50.

“This has been a central theme of the Trump presidency and the Trump campaign in 2016. It was all about citizenship and immigration. He does not want to let this issue go,” Schier said.

“If there is an avenue by which this ends up on the census, it will be an unprecedented avenue, but on the other hand, we’ve got an unprecedented presidency.”

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Explains Why He Wants Citizenship Question on Census as He Considers Executive Order

President Donald Trump took aim at the polls on June 12, calling them fake.

“The Fake News has never been more dishonest than it is today. Thank goodness we can fight back on Social Media,” he began in a missive posted on Twitter. “There [sic] new weapon of choice is Fake Polling, sometimes referred to as Suppression Polls (they suppress the numbers). Had it in 2016, but this is worse.”

“The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist. WE WILL WIN AGAIN!” he added.

The missive came as a number of polls claimed that Trump would lose against any of the top six Democratic presidential candidates in 2020. Most polls leading up to the 2016 presidential election had Trump losing to his opponent, former first lady and secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Media outlets and polling companies began pegging Trump’s odds at winning the presidency in 2015, with one claiming in mid-2015 that he only had a 1 percent chance to nab the Republican nomination, much less the general election.

After he won the GOP primary, Trump was repeatedly reported on as a longshot, with the New York Times, FiveThirtyEight, and other popular left-leaning outlets reporting that he had little chance of beating Clinton.

The openly liberal and anti-Trump New York Times reported on Oct. 18, 2016, that Clinton had a 91 percent chance of winning. On election day, it said Clinton had an 85 percent chance of winning. Princeton University professor Sam Wang, a top election forecaster, gave Clinton a 98 percent to 99 percent chance of winning.

Nate Silver’s 538, perhaps the most popular data-driven media outlet, had Clinton’s chance of winning at 71.4 percent and Trump’s chance at just 28.6 percent. It said there was just a 10 percent chance that Clinton would win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College, which is what happened. The forecast relied in part on polls from the openly anti-Trump HuffPost, the nonpartisan RealClearPolitics, and other polling firms.

“The polls were largely bad, including mine,” Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told 538.

“It is real error and the public’s right to question polls is justified,” added Nick Gourevitch of Global Strategy Group.

Murray told the left-leaning Business Insider: “Polls might not be capable of predicting elections.”

Quanta writer Pradeep Mutalik said that prediction models can provide accurate forecasts “but they depend on a crucial assumption—that the data points are all independent.”

“This year we saw something different: Almost all the swing state polls overscored Clinton’s numbers by two to six percent. This error is called ‘systematic’ or ‘correlated error.’ Since it affected most or all polls, it was probably caused by some common disrupting factor or factors that were outside the well-established and hitherto reliable poll methodology itself. It was this correlated error that completely threw off the prediction models,” he wrote.

It wasn’t just polls, either. Outlets like CNN would report that Trump couldn’t win the office. For example, Maeve Reston wrote on Oct. 14, 2016, that “Trump’s path to the 270 electoral votes needed to capture the presidency is looking more and more impossible by the day.” She used polling, a Republican pollster, and a former Barack Obama adviser to support her claim.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Slams ‘Fake Polling,’ Says Pollsters ‘Suppress the Numbers’

President Donald Trump saluted, shook hands with, and spoke with every graduating member of the Air Force Academy in Colorado on May 30.

The president traveled to the academy to give a commencement speech and stuck around to salute the graduates one-by-one as they were announced.

That part of the graduation took over an hour. There were nearly 1,000 cadets graduating on Thursday

Trump said he was told he didn’t have to stay for the rest of the ceremony.

“They gave me a choice. They said, ‘Sir, you don’t have to shake any hands, some people do that.’ Some people do that. Those are the smart ones. They’re out of here.” Trump told the audience, prompting laughter.

“You can shake one hand, to the one person, top of the class. You can shake 10, 50 or 100, and you could also stay for 1,000, OK?” Trump added as the crowd cheered.

During the speech, the president praised the cadets for choosing the Air Force.

“To the nearly 1,000 cadets who will soon become Second Lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force: You could have chosen any school, any career you wanted, but you chose a harder path and a higher calling: to protect and defend the United States of America. I know what you’ve been through, and it’s tougher. But you know what? In the end, it’s better. You’re going [to] see. You’ll see,” he said.

“When you choose the Air Force, you choose the noble road of service and duty and devotion. You choose to break old boundaries, and unlock new frontiers, and live life on the cutting edge.”

“And that is what your time at this great academy has been all about: preparing you to do whatever it takes to learn, to adapt, and to win, win, win. You’re going to win so much. You’re going to get so tired of winning, but not really. Not really. We never get tired of winning, do we?” he added.

President Donald Trump speaks during the 2019 United States Air Force Academy Graduation Ceremony at Falcon Stadium at the United States Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
United States Air Force Academy cadets celebrate after receiving their diplomas during their graduation ceremony at Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colorado on May 30, 2019. (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

Trump said that only 10 percent of the applicants to the academy are accepted and that many people who think about applying choose not to because of how hard it is to get in. Even for those who are accepted, one out of five do not graduate.

“Only the best survive to the very end. And here, under the majestic peaks of the Rockies, you have risen to every challenge, overcome every single obstacle, and proven yourselves worthy of the bars that will soon adorn your uniform,” Trump said.

“You survived BCT, made it to Recognition, and earned your Prop and Wings. You soared in gliders, piloted aircraft, and launched satellites that are now orbiting way, way above us, looking down on us. You performed advanced research, developed new techniques. You honed your skills as cyber operators, and jumped out of planes thousands of feet above the Earth. Not easy. For America’s airmen, the sky is never, ever the limit.”

The president later noted that he approved funding for 56 new Air Force F-35s, a stealth aircraft, in addition to new Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft and 10 new helicopters, among other things.

“We’re also asking Congress to invest more in hypersonic weapons. We have things under development, the likes of which you’ve never seen; the likes of which you can’t even conceive. Artificial intelligence, nuclear weapons and modernization, and space superiority,” he said. “And we’re soon having, as you know, something that I started. And it started a little slow, and now everybody has embraced it: Space Force. And you’re going to be working with them.”

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Trump Shakes Hand of Every Air Force Academy Graduate Following Commencement Speech

Attorney General William Barr said that special counsel Robert Mueller was wrong when Mueller said he could not recommend charging President Donald Trump with a crime if enough evidence existed.

Mueller, speaking for the first time since the submission of his report to Barr, claimed on May 29 that his team’s avoidance of a traditional prosecutorial decision—a recommendation to press charges or not—was due to Department of Justice policy.

“Under long-standing Department policy, a President cannot be charged with a federal crime while he is in office. That is unconstitutional. Even if the charge is kept under seal and hidden from public view—that too is prohibited,” Mueller said, citing the department’s Office of Legal Counsel.

“Charging the President with a crime was therefore not an option we could consider,” he added.

Barr, the head of the department and therefore Mueller’s boss, said that that simply was not true.

“I personally felt he could’ve reached a decision,” Barr said during an interview with CBS on May 30. Barr said Mueller “had his reasons” for not making a recommendation but declined to explain, adding: “I’m not going to, you know, argue about those reasons.”

Barr said the office’s opinion was relevant but didn’t prohibit what Mueller thought it did.

“The opinion says you cannot indict a president while he is in office, but he could’ve reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity,” Barr said.

When Mueller’s team punted on making the decision on obstruction, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stepped in and reviewed the 10 cases Mueller highlighted in his report. They also reviewed other evidence and found there wasn’t enough to conclude that Trump obstructed justice.

Barr was also asked about Mueller seeming to suggest that Congress continue the investigation, which lasted for about two years and cost tens of millions of dollars.

“I’m not sure what he was suggesting,” Barr said. “But the Department of Justice doesn’t use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress.”

Barr said on May 1 during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he and Rosenstein were surprised that Mueller’s team didn’t reach a decision on obstruction.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller arrives to make a statement about the Russia investigation at the Justice Department in Washington on May 29, 2019. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“We did not understand exactly why the special counsel was not reaching a decision and when we pressed him on it, he said his team was still formulating the explanation,” Barr said of the March 5 meeting he and others had with Mueller.

“We don’t conduct criminal investigations just to collect information and put it out to the public,” Barr added. “I think that if he felt that he shouldn’t go down the path of making a traditional prosecutive decision, then he shouldn’t have investigated.”

Barr’s latest statements come as the department and special counsel’s office issued a joint statement seeking to clarify confusion over Mueller’s comments.

“The Attorney General has previously stated that the Special Counsel repeatedly affirmed that he was not saying that, but for the OLC (Office of Legal Counsel) opinion, he would have found the President obstructed justice. The Special Counsel’s report and his statement today made clear that the office concluded it would not reach a determination—one way or the other—about whether the President committed a crime,” said Kerri Kupec, spokeswoman for the Department of Justice and Peter Carr, spokesman for the special counsel’s Office, in the joint statement.

“There is no conflict between these statements,” they added.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber

Author: Zachary Stieber

Source: The Epoch Times: Barr Says Mueller Was Wrong, ‘Could’ve Reached a Decision’ on Obstruction

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