Rule of Law

We need transparency from Trump

Regarding the May 12 editorial “Legitimate subpoena power”:

Subpoenas for President Trump’s tax returns were seeking information that could have considerable bearing on issues and questions of critical importance to Americans. Most assuredly, complying is among his major responsibilities!

Such information, for example, could offer further evidence regarding Mr. Trump’s deference to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the extent to which it has jeopardized our national security and our electoral process.

When Mr. Trump has so paralyzed our health agencies and furthered our inability to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Supreme Court has a great responsibility to exercise the fullest extent of its powers for the country’s safety and future. And in doing so, fulfill its responsibilities under the Constitution if the liberties we value are to be preserved.

Joseph G. FeinbergGaithersburg

Regarding the May 15 Metro article “Trump hotel suit is revived by court”:

The recent decision by the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit allowing the emoluments clause suit by the District and Maryland to continue shows that the courts need not sit idly by as the president ignores some of our Constitution’s most powerful anti-corruption provisions.

President Trump needs to comply with the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses — just as presidents from both political parties have done for hundreds of years. The American people deserve to be assured that when a president makes decisions, these decisions are made in service of the best interests of the nation, not the best interests of the president. Unfortunately, as demonstrated by $970,000 in U.S. government payments to Mr. Trump’s company, the American people currently have no such assurances.

Elizabeth WydraWashington

The writer is president of the Constitutional
Accountability Center, which represents
members of Congress in their lawsuit alleging
violations of the foreign emoluments clause.

Hopefully, all nine Supreme Court justices will agree that “we need the president’s tax returns” as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) explained in his May 17 Outlook essay.

Mr. Raskin focused on the substantial emoluments clause issues designed to guard against foreign corrupting influences. There also is strong evidence of financial conflicts of interest that are the responsibility of Congress to address. This includes a large subset of conflicts concerning the government payments to the president’s businesses and relatives at taxpayers’ expense.

The president’s tax records are relevant for Congress to determine whether and what legislation is needed. For example, it might consider laws that would require the Secret Service and other government agencies to select public or private facilities at competitive rates for official business, including working with and protecting the president, at facilities that are not owned or controlled by any federal official.

Congress, the people’s branch, has the constitutional power of the purse. To do its duty, it needs to oversee the executive branch and legislate rules governing its spending, including what the administration spends on the president. And it needs the tax records to trace whether the spending benefited the president’s income and whether it was accurately reported. It is telling that the president refuses to make available information that could clear the air and exonerate him.

Nicholas W. AllardWashington

The writer was minority staff counsel on the

Senate Judiciary Committee for Sen. Edward
Kennedy (D-Mass.) and chief of staff for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.).