While in conversation with California’s Dianne Feinstein on Tuesday, Bill Barr, President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, admitted that he didn’t understand what the Emoluments Clause of the U.S Constitution means.
Yes, surprisingly, Barr actually suggested to Feinstein that Trump had a right to intervene in investigations as long as he had no personal stake in them.
“An easy, bad example would be if a member of the president’s family or a business associate or something was under investigation and he tries to intervene,” Barr said. “That would be a breach of his obligation under the Constitution to faithfully execute the laws.”
“Including the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution?” Feinstein asked.
“Well, I think there’s a dispute as to what the Emoluments Clause relates to,” he replied after a brief pause and as he nervously shifted. “I have not personally researched Emoluments Clause. I can’t tell you what it says at this point.”
“Off the top of my head, I would have said emoluments are essentially a stipend attached to some office,” he continued. “But I don’t know if that’s correct or not. I think it’s being litigated right now.”
Ummm, perhaps someone should enlighten Mr. Barr that the clause is meant to protect the United States system of government from “corrupting foreign influences” by restricting government officials from receiving “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
You can watch the Barr/Feinstein exchange here:
— Bryan Dawson (@BryanDawsonUSA) January 15, 2019