On March 8, 2017, Democracy 21, joined by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and the Campaign Legal Center, sent a letter to Preet Bharara, then U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
The letter called on the U.S. Attorney to take whatever steps may be necessary to prevent The Trump Organization from receiving any financial benefits from foreign governments that benefit President Trump, as owner of the organization, and that violate the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The letter set forth a powerful case based on published reports that The Trump Organization and related Trump business entities have received payments or other financial benefits from foreign governments that benefit President Donald Trump and that do not comply with the Emoluments Clause.
On March, 11, 2017, three days after our letter was sent, Bharara was fired after refusing to join other U.S. Attorneys in submitting their resignations.
The Bharara firing was unexpected and highly unusual in light of the fact that he previously had been asked to stay on in this position by both President Trump and Attorney General Sessions and had agreed to do so.
Today, our groups resubmitted our March 8th letter and our request to Joon Kim, Deputy U.S. Attorney and now acting head of the Office of Southern District for New York.
It is essential that President Trump and his White House and Justice Department keep their hands off any investigation of or action against The Trump Organization that may be undertaken by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
President Trump has failed the American people in refusing to divest his business enterprises and in insisting on reaping a fortune off his presidency. The founders made it clear with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that the President of the United States should not receive any payments or other financial benefits from foreign countries. The purpose of the Emoluments Clause is to prevent opportunities for corruption of our government leaders.
Yet it appears clear from published reports that President Trump is receiving illegal Emoluments through payments and other financial benefits provided by foreign governments to The Trump Organization that are received for the President’s benefit.
In today’s letter submitted to Deputy U.S. Attorney Kim, our groups again called for an investigation and appropriate action by his office to prevent The Trump Organization from serving as a conduit for illegal emoluments provided by foreign governments and benefiting President Trump.
Both Preet Bharara and the U.S Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York have long had reputations for nonpartisanship and independence in their approach to law enforcement and for following the facts and the truth wherever it leads.
Our letter today calls on Mr. Kim, as acting head of this office, to continue this approach and to make known to the public any efforts by President Trump’s White House or Justice Department to interfere with any investigation or action the Southern District Office may pursue against The Trump Organization.