Would President-elect Donald Trump's numerous business holdings present a conflict of interest? 

Judge Andrew Napolitano explained this morning why Trump would not be in violation of the Constitution's Emoluments Clause. 

It states: 

"No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office."

In plain terms, the judge said it prevents a government official from acting officially in a way that would benefit him or herself financially. 

But the judge said the federal laws prohibiting conflicts of interest apply to everyone working in the government - from a four-star general to a senator to a janitor - except the president and vice president. 

"None of the laws that govern senators and members of Congress and members of the cabinet pertain to the president," he said.

Napolitano said this is more of a political issue for Trump, not a legal one. He proposed a hypothetical scenario in which Trump's children were trying to build a hotel in Brazil and President Trump asked the country's president for help.

"There is nothing wrong with that legally because the law that would prohibit other members of the government from doing that does not apply to the president," he explained.  

Napolitano said that laws governing pay-to-play would have applied in the case of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she was alleged to have made decisions to benefit the Clinton Foundation. 

He said Trump would probably have a "happier presidency" if he placed his assets in a blind trust in order to avoid political accusations and investigations.

Watch his full analysis above. 


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