Author Archives: Andy Grewal

The Separation of Powers Doctrine May Save Trump from Obstruction Charges

by Andy Grewal — Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017

Commentators have floated a number of theories under which President Trump could face criminal consequences for his firing of FBI Director James Comey. Under one view, that firing reflected an unlawful attempt to interfere with the ongoing Russia investigation, and an easy obstruction of justice case against Trump could be made. See, e.g., Samuel W. […]

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How the DOJ Should Fix Its Definition of “Emoluments”

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Oct. 23, 2017

Last week, a federal district court heard oral arguments in CREW v. Trump. No transcript or audio recording of those arguments is currently available, but persons who attended the hearing noted the wide range of issues discussed. (See Josh Blackman’s Blog, Slate, WSJ, and NYT). Because the litigation is at the motion to dismiss stage, […]

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Loss in Anti-Inversion Case Strikes Potentially Major Blow on IRS’s Rulemaking Authority

by Andy Grewal — Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017

In Chamber of Commerce et al. v. IRS et al., the plaintiffs scored a major victory in their challenge to the validity of some “anti-inversion” regulations issued under Section 7874 of the Internal Revenue Code. That statute, generally speaking, limits the tax benefits that might otherwise arise when a U.S. company re-incorporates as a foreign […]

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If Trump Jr. Didn’t Know Campaign Finance Law, He Didn’t Break It

by Andy Grewal — Sunday, July 16, 2017

A controversy has recently erupted over a June 2016 meeting between some members of the Trump campaign team, including the President’s son, Donald Trump Jr., and at least one Russian citizen. The Trump campaign’s version of events has shifted several times, and new details continue to emerge. However, it appears that Trump Jr.’s desire to […]

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Exploitation of Public Office and the Foreign Emoluments Clause

by Andy Grewal — Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Under the Foreign Emoluments Clause, a person holding an office of profit or trust under the United States (a U.S. Officer) cannot, without Congressional consent, accept an “emolument . . . of any kind whatever” from a foreign government. The clause has received many legislative and executive interpretations over the years, but it has only […]

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Three Reactions to the DOJ’s Brief in CREW v. Trump

by Andy Grewal — Saturday, June 10, 2017

On Friday, 6/9/17, the U.S. Department of Justice filed its brief in CREW v. Trump, in which the plaintiffs allege that the President has violated Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses through his continued ownership in Trump Organization entities. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on the case as it progresses, but here are […]

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The IRS Gets Handcuffed by the Congress

by Andy Grewal — Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The House and Senate recently reached agreement on a comprehensive spending bill and expect to pass it soon. Regarding the IRS, the bill freezes the agency’s budget at $11.2 billion and thus does not, as some feared, make substantial cuts to its funding. Nonetheless, the IRS may face hardships, because its funding remains significantly below […]

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Emoluments Clause: Ivanka Edition

by Andy Grewal — Monday, Apr. 24, 2017

Ivanka Trump, the daughter of President Trump, recently changed her position in the White House from informal advisor to unpaid government employee. See CNN (Mar. 29, 2017). Through this change, Ivanka, referred to here by her first name to avoid confusion with her father, became officially subject to various statutory ethics rules. Though the relevant […]

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Did the GSA Properly Find Trump’s “Full Compliance” With the D.C. Hotel Lease?

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Mar. 24, 2017

Commentators have argued that the Trump Old Post Office LLC (Trump Hotel LLC) has violated its lease agreement with the General Services Administration (GSA) from the moment that Donald Trump took the Presidential oath. The lease agreement, which relates to the federally owned property through which the D.C. Trump Hotel operates its hospitality business, states […]

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Flynn’s Foreign Emoluments Clause Problem and the Potentially Explosive Solution

by Andy Grewal — Friday, Mar. 17, 2017

As widely reported by numerous outlets, Rep. Cummings recently sent a letter to President Trump alleging, among other things, that retired Lt. General Michael Flynn violated the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting payments from Russian sources. The letter argues that Flynn now owes a debt to the United States on account of […]

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