Trump Team Enters Panic Mode After Report Of Impeachable China Payoff Emerges

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This week, the media has been a buzz following the resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn’s departure has cast a bright light on the Trump administrations’ potential ties to Russia.

The question now, however, is whether or not the latest fiasco has served more as a distraction from more pressing issues the Trump administration would prefer the American people not know about?

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As the public rehashes Flynn’s mistakes, a series of developments causing major concern have now surfaced: President Trump may have violated the Constitution in his latest moneymaking escapade. Surprise, surprise!

Bear with me as I unpack Trump’s moves over the past decade.

Since 2006, Trump has tried to trademark his brand in China, which ultimately led to a series of failures in court. According to Fox News, on December 7, 2006 he applied for rights to the Trump trademark for construction services but was beat to the punch, so to speak, by Dong Wei who submitted a similar application two weeks prior. In China, trademarks are issued on a first-come-first-serve basis, thus the Trademark Office rejected Trump’s initial application. This, of course, led our commander-in-chief to appeal the decision with the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board before going to the Beijing Intermediate People’s Court, and finally to the Beijing High People’s Court.

But it was all bad news for Trumpie. He lost not one, but all three times in court.

Flash forward ten years, and President-elect Trump wins the 2016 U.S. presidential election to become the 45th President of the United States. Shortly after his victory, Trump contacted Taiwanese President Tsai Ying-wen, resulting in yet another media storm over his decision to contact the island with which the United States government has had no diplomatic relations since 1979. Due to the “One China” policy, Taiwan’s sovereignty isn’t recognized by the United States, thus Trump’s phone call risked a diplomatic dispute of epic proportions with the Chinese government.

Jump ahead to last week, and Trump changed course yet again. On February 9 he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping in what was described as an “extremely cordial” phone call, during which Trump agreed to honor the United States’ One China policy. According to The Economist, Mr. Xi refused to talk to Trump until he specifically committed to honoring the policy.

Still with me? Good, because yesterday, the most shocking development occurred.

Ready?

The Chinese government awarded President Trump his own 10-year trademark for construction services. The trademark became official February 14 and was published on China’s Trademark Office website Wednesday.

As ABC News notes: “This may well be the first foreign trademark to be handed to Trump during his presidency, but is unlikely to be the last. In China alone he had 49 pending trademark applications and 77 marks already registered in his own name, most of which will come up for renewal during his term.”

As ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum notes, this is the perfect example of emolument; a direct violation of the United States Constitution.

Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution states:

‘No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any president, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.’

In summation, no elected official is permitted to profit from a foreign state. As a private citizen, Trump as unable to obtain the trademark of his brand from the Chinese Government. As President, however, he did.

To make matters even worse, back in 2011 Trump admitted to former U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke that he’d spent hundreds of thousands of dollars seeking a trademark for his brand in China.

Trump’s blatant violation of the Constitution is grounds for impeachment, in case we really needed yet another reason.

ThinkProgress editor Judd Legum highlighted the events on Twitter in a series of tweets. They can be read below:

Feature Image via Getty Images.

[H/T: Judd Legum]