WATCH: CNN Panel Lashes Out at Paris Dennard in Heated Clash on Trump’s Business Conflicts
A panel on Anderson Cooper: 360 went off on pro-Trumper Paris Dennard in a debate about the emoluments clause, during which he asserted the legality of President Donald Trump‘s actions.
“He’s legally allowed to not separate himself from being able to profit, if you will, from his business holdings,” Dennard said. “There’s nothing illegal about that. But what they have to be able to prove is that there is a deliberate quid pro quo because they stayed at the hotel or had an event at the hotel.”
“That’s not quite right,” former Democratic representative for New York Elizabeth Holtzman said. “The emoluments clause doesn’t require a quid pro quo. The emoluments clause means you just can’t take the money. The framers of the Constitution said, you know something? We don’t want foreign governments messing with the United States officials. So you can’t take money from them, whatever their intent was and whatever your good motives are, period.”
“I highly doubt that the framers of the Constitution were thinking about hotel stays and whether or not you went and had a cocktail at a hotel bar,” Dennard replied.
Then things started to get heated and voices began to overlap as Dennard pushed his not-Constitutionally-supported argument.
“When President Obama received money from the Nobel Peace Prize, there was no some type of emoluments issue there,” he said. “If a foreign government happened to buy copies of his book because they just thought it was a good book, and the president in turn profited from it, there was nobody screaming we have an emoluments issue then.”
“No. It is a lot more than that,” Democratic strategist Maria Cardona replied. “Because President Obama or frankly, I don’t think any president before him or before Trump has had the kind of business entanglements that this president has, which is why people were advising him to completely divorce himself from his businesses while he was in office.”
After some more squabbling and frustration, Dennard asserted that what Trump is doing is not illegal, which Cardona and others contested.
“Look, this is just such an obvious conflict of interest,” political analyst Kirsten Powers finally said. We don’t need the Constitution to tell us that. It’s very obviously a conflict of interest where people can try to curry favor with you by staying at your hotel. I just don’t even see why this is something to even debate. It’s just inappropriate.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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