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Former Bush Counsel: Electoral College Can’t Vote For Trump if He’s in Violation of Constitution

richard-paintereditedWhile meeting with the New York Times yesterday for an on-the-record interview, President-elect Donald Trump stated that the president cannot have conflicts of interest and that the law was on his side. This comes in response to numerous concerns over Trump using his position to further enrich himself and his personal businesses.

During a discussion on CNN this morning, former White House lawyer Richard Painter made the case that if it appears that Trump will be in violation of the emolument clause of the Constitution, then the Electoral College must decide to not vote for him next month.

After he and fellow guest Jan Baran agreed that there isn’t an actual law that prevents Trump from being involved in his businesses while in the White House but that it does present numerous ethical issues, Painter said that he informed Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway of concerns around the emolument clause.

(The clause states that “no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”)

Stating that Trump could ease worries if he were to submit to an audit that clause could at least be dealt with, even if other conflicts of interest concerns would still be apparent, Painter insisted Trump would be sending a message that he doesn’t care if he ignores this. He then said the Electoral College would need to take action.

“He needs to comply with the constitution at a bare minimum,” Painter said. “And either recognize the problem and address it.”

“And if he doesn’t do that before the Electoral College meets,” the attorney continued. “I don’t think the electoral college can vote for someone to become president if he’s going to be in violation of the constitution on day one and hasn’t assured us he’s not in violation.”

Painter, who served as President George W. Bush’s ethics counsel from 2005 to 2007, also took a shot at Trump over his past birtherism.

“This is just as important as your birth certificate. more important than your birth certificate or proof of age, whatever other requirements there are to be President of the United States,” Painter concluded.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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