Politico

Hugh Hewitt: Trump on 'constitutional thin ice'

Written by Lisa

Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday warned that President Donald Trump begins his administration on “thin ice” with Democrats, who could move to impeach the new president if they retake the House of Representatives in 2018.

Democrats and liberal groups have already launched an effort to impeach Trump over allegations of conflicts of interest, including with his new Washington, D.C., hotel. A watchdog group filed suit Monday, claiming Trump’s business dealings with foreign countries that rent space in his buildings or lend money to his real estate empire violate the foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution.

“I think it would occur after midterms and only if the House flips to the Democrats. So the potential is there, yes,” Hewitt told Yahoo News’ Katie Couric of the possibility that Trump faces impeachment. “If you abuse power, if you do anything — you don’t have a lot of goodwill in the reservoir. He’s beginning his presidency successfully in my view with a few very bold initiatives but with the highest negatives of any incoming president since Gallup kept track. That says to me: thin ice, move carefully.”

Hewitt, who is also a law professor at Chapman University, said his interpretation of the emoluments clause stipulates that “you can’t be paid a salary by a foreign government for an office, not an arms-length transaction.” He added that his former boss, Fred Fielding, White House counsel for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, helped Trump’s incoming White House counsel, Don McGahn, during the transition.

“And they came to the conclusion that clause does not apply to arms-length transactions with hotels,” Hewitt said. “However, a Democratic congressman introduced an article of impeachment already. So if President Trump gets wiped out in 2018 … and if, in fact, Democrats get a majority, Republicans will not throw themselves in front of a train to stop it. So President Trump has to be aware of the constitutional thin ice on which he skates.”

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