[Rushtalk] As Trump Restricts Visitors From Some Majority-Muslim Countries, His Family Does Business In Others : NPR

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at juno.com
Fri Feb 17 18:58:55 MST 2017

How Does Trump's Immigration Freeze Square With His Business Interests? 

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday that puts a
freeze on immigration from seven countries: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia,
Yemen, Iraq and Sudan. 

Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images Even as President Trump takes steps
to restrict visitors from some majority-Muslim countries, he and his
family continue to do business in some of the others.

Ethics experts question whether that might indicate conflicts between
Trump's business interests and his role as U.S. president.

The executive action, "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist
Entry Into The United States," targets seven nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya,
Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump has no business interests in
those countries.


Key Justice Dept. Office Won't Say If It Approved White House Executive

One other thing they have in common, as NPR's Greg Myre writes: "No
Muslim extremist from any of these places has carried out a fatal attack
in the U.S. in more than two decades."

The 19 terrorists in the Sept. 11 attacks were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt,
Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, Myre points out. They are among
the Muslim-majority countries not affected by Trump's immigration
freeze, but where Trump does business.

He has significant commercial interests in Turkey and Azerbaijan, is
developing properties in Indonesia and Dubai, and has formed companies
in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. His daughter Ivanka said in 2015 that the
company was looking at "multiple opportunities in Dubai, Abu Dhabi,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia — the four areas where we are seeing the most

Trump Signs A Record Number Of Executive Actions — But Nothing About


Trump Signs A Record Number Of Executive Actions — But Nothing About

Critics said it appears that Trump is picking favorites, overlooking
terrorist links in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey that have
their own history of terrorism.

And there appear to be conflict-of-interest questions, which could raise
legal and constitutional concerns for the Trump White House.

Norman Eisen, a former ethics adviser to President Obama and a current
fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, told NPR in
an interview:

        "I don't believe that our Constitution allows the president to
        order State Department and other U.S. government employees to
        discriminate between otherwise identical people, favoring those
        from countries he likes because they give him unconstitutional
        foreign emoluments, and punishing those from other countries
        that do not pay such personal and illegal tribute to him."

Emoluments are gifts. A provision of the U.S. Constitution, called the
emoluments clause, prohibits U.S. officials from taking gifts of value
from foreign officials or governments.


Trump's Immigration Freeze Omits Those Linked To Deadly Attacks In U.S. 

Eisen said of Trump: "Normally he would, of course, have freer rein
legally in these foreign policy, immigration and refugee matters, but
his open and notorious violation of the Constitution changes that. This
is the corrupt misconduct of a medieval potentate, not an American

Speaking with NPR Friday, Eisen said the executive action may lead to
lawsuits, for example by American citizens whose family members are now
barred from joining them in this country. "These decisions about who to
let in and not to let into the United States can now be challenged,
because there's an unconstitutional basis for the president's decision,"
he said.

The Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, hit the same
point harder, saying Trump was "carpet-bombing U.S. foreign policy":

        One might think that Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the two countries
        that nearly all the 9/11 hijackers came from — and which are
        currently known to be backing ISIS and other terrorists, in
        Saudi Arabia's case, and facing serious terror attacks on their
        own soil largely in response to government repression, in
        Egypt's — would be included in Trump's twisted analysis as
        potential sources of terrorism.
        But no, those countries were ignored. Conflicts of interest?
        Nah, just a coincidence.


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