Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

The Trump crime family cashes in before the Special Counsel closes in

Most of you are already familiar with the three emoluments clause cases filed against Donald Trump for profiting off of foreign governments at his properties as president.

The first case filed by the ethics group CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) was dismissed for lack of standing, but that case is currently on appeal.

In the second case brought by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia (No. 8:17-cv-01596), U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte of the District of Maryland ruled that D.C., Maryland can proceed with lawsuit alleging Trump violated emoluments clauses. Judge Messitte rejected an argument made by critics of the lawsuit — that, under the Constitution, only Congress may decide whether the president has violated the emoluments clauses. But Messitte’s ruling also narrowed the lawsuit’s scope to the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., saying that the District and Maryland had standing to sue because they could plausibly claim to have been injured by Trump’s receipt of payments from foreign and state governments.

The third case was filed by more than 200 Democratic members of Congress, Blumental et. al v. Trump in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:17-cv-01154), and is presently scheduled for a hearing on a motion to dismiss on June 7, 2018.

The Trump Hotel is only the tip of the iceberg according to reporting over the past week.

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Saudi Arabia faces a royal dilemma

President Obama visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on January 27 to pay his respects to the late King Abdullah and establish ties with newly reigning King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, age 78. The importance of Saudi petroleum and regional securityPres O and King Salman concerns arising from matters like the Islamic State (ISIS) problem factored into the president’s discussions with King Salman. Governed by a traditional monarchy, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is home to 16% of world proved oil reserves. It is the world’s largest exporter of petroleum. Saudi Arabia accounts for around 19% of current world crude oil exports with 68% of shipments going to countries in Asia, 19% to the Americas and about 10% to Europe.

Until the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire controlled the area along Saudi Arabia’s west coast, including the Muslim holy sites of Mecca and Medina, and much of the coast on the eastern side. The interior, a land of unforgiving desert, was the domain of fractious Bedouin tribes. Over time, the al-Saud clan rose to supremacy. After a 30 year campaign of conflict and tribal alliances secured through marriages, its shrewd leader, Ibn Saud, unified the country in 1932. It had been a long process, a previous attempt by the al-Saud tribe to make a state had been wrecked by the Ottomans in 1818.

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