FROM THIS EPISODE
At this week's Senate confirmation hearings, Donald Trump's choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had harsh words for China's island-building in the South China Sea. China's state-run media have called that a threat that might require retaliation. Chinese officials have responded differently.
David Wertime, senior editor at Foreign Policy magazine, says there is often a great gap between political speech and government policy.
The Constitution prohibits public officials — including the President — from financial conflicts of interest — domestic or foreign. Recent Chief Executives have sold off assets or placed them in blind trusts, but Donald Trump’s lawyer says there’s no way he could be “blind” to his very public investments.
Trump may be violating America's basic law the moment he takes the oath of office a week from today. Many legal scholars -- and ethics watchdogs -- say he's failed to avoid financial conflicts as demanded by the Constitution. But as opponents whisper about possible impeachment, other experts insist he's done all that he can as the richest man ever elected to serve in the White House. We hear about Constitutional law -- and politics: is Trump right to say that most Americans don't care enough to make him change?
Peter Nicholas, Wall Street Journal (@PeterWSJ)
Elizabeth Wydra, Constitutional Accountability Center (@ElizabethWydra)
David Rivkin, BakerHostetler (@DavidRivkin)
David Greenberg, Rutgers University (@republicofspin)
Nicholas on government ethics chief's criticism of Trump's conflict-of-interest plan
Rivkin on it being unrealistic, unfair to make Trump use a blind trust
Wydra on presidential ethical standards being rooted in the Constitution
Pew Research Center on negative views of Trump's transition
Gallup Poll on views of Trump's transition
In October, just 10 days before the election, FBI Director, James Comey sent a letter to select Congressional leaders, announcing that the criminal investigation into Hillary Rodham Clinton's private email server had been re-opened. That investigation went nowhere.
Photo by Rich Girard
But yesterday, Comey himself became the target of another investigation — by the Inspector General of the Justice Department, Michael Horowitz. He said he's responding "to complaints from members of Congress and the public." Did Comey violate Justice Department rules and set a dangerous precedent by going public about Clinton's emails during the heat of last year's campaign? Matthew Miller, former chief spokesperson for the Department of Justice, says the Trump Administration may not pursue the investigation as rigorously..
More From To the Point
Did Trump get conned by Kim? Six months after threatening nuclear warfare, “little rocket man” and the “dotard” were talking peace in Singapore. Beyond the hype, did President Trump and Kim Jong Un really mean it? A seasoned diplomat, a UN nuclear weapons inspector and veteran journalists provide contrasting assessments.
Post primary wrap, what’s the takeaway? California’s billed as the heart of “resistance” to President Trump. But in this month’s Golden State primary, young and Latino voters stayed home. That’s produced a clash of voices between Progressive Democrats and Clinton-era Centrists. What will that mean come November with control of the Congress at stake?
The politics of prison reform Prison reform is moving in Red States, Blue States and (maybe) on Capitol Hill. But America still incarcerates more people than any other country-- including China. Meantime, the Trump White House is divided. Jared Kushner is pushing sentence reform, while Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to stay “tough on crime.” What are the prospects for much needed change?
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