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
Kavanaugh Supreme Court Nomination Meets #MeToo Senate confirmation looked like a done deal, but gender politics are disrupting the process. Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s unblemished record is up against a woman’s lifetime of trauma--depending on who you believe. What are the options for Senate Republicans less than two months before this year’s elections?
White House ‘Norms:’ Past and Present President Trump has famously violated traditional rules of presidential behavior. Now Barack Obama has broken the studied silence maintained by former presidents. He’s even attacked Trump by name. Warren explores the historical context and future implications with Tim Naftali, who once ran the Richard Nixon Library and Museum.
Climate Change and Big Money for New Technology California leads the nation in reducing greenhouse emissions, but Governor Jerry Brown concedes that’s just the beginning. Will his global conference on climate change make any difference? Not without trillions of dollars, which will have to come from private investors. We’ll hear about some exotic technologies attracting that kind of money.
The Supreme Court and the End of Judicial Restraint Senate confirmation for SCOTUS nominees has become a political circus. That’s because unelected judges have seized legislative powers--when Congress fails to take action. Ruth Bader Ginsburg says Roe v. Wade is bad constitutional law, even though she agrees with the outcome. Should abortion have been left to the voters? Will Brett Kavanaugh make a difference?
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