The clear and present danger test was established by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in the unanimous opinion for the case Schenck v. United States,concerning the ability of the government to regulate speech against the draft during World War I:
The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that the United States Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right.
We are not technically at war, but the presence of Donald Trump as the President-Elect presents a “clear and present danger” that his actions in office will result in a world war, and are likely to result in a violation of the Stock Act.
Perhaps Trump has been advised by his many attorneys that he exposes himself to criminal liability by getting confidential information. “The Stock Act bars the President, the Vice President, and all executive branch employees from: using nonpublic information for private profit; engaging in insider trading; or intentionally influencing an employment decision or practice of a private entity solely on the basis of partisan political affiliation.”
Donald Trump’s 2015 charitable foundation tax return posted on the non-profit monitoring website GuideStar shows the Donald J. Trump Foundation acknowledged that it used money or assets in violation of IRS regulations — not only during 2015, but in prior years. The New York attorney general’s office has announced its investigation of Trump’s foundation.
In response Trump said Saturday that he will dissolve his charitable foundation in an attempt too eliminate the appearance of any conflicts of interest before he takes office next month. The amazing this is that Trump has chosen to eliminate the only venture that’s not making him any money. The number of investments that present a greater conflict of interest is unrivaled by any previous president.
It is Trump’s massive business empire — towering skyscrapers and sprawling golf courses, menswear and furniture, and his licensing of his personal “brand” around the world — promises endless entanglements of business and politics.
Trump’s business empire touches at least 18 countries, presenting leaders around the globe with a tempting avenue to win favor with the next president and Trump with a way to use the power of the presidency to help his businesses. These foreign conflicts are massive, complicated, and hidden from view.
Domestically, the entanglement of Trump’s business and political interests could lead him to make appointments and policy that influence the economy in favor of Trump’s businesses and those of his political allies.
And while Trump’s brand was worth $3.3 billion during the campaign, according to its estimate, he’s already looking for ways to expand it — as are members of his family.
- Trump’s Washington hotel: Trump’s new hotel in the Old Post Office Pavilion in Washington, DC, worth $212 million, could be the biggest symbol of the conflict of interests he’ll face. As president, Trump will also appoint the head of the General Services Administration, which manages the hotel. The same desire to curry favor that foreign diplomats expressed when discussing booking rooms there could also apply to domestic groups, although so far, it’s mostly been the venue of choice for conservative organizations. Meanwhile, a controversy has arisen about whether he’s even allowed to hold the lease in the first place — a clause forbids any elected or government official from doing so.
- Labor disputes: Days before the election, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a Trump hotel in Las Vegas had violated labor law by refusing to recognize and negotiate with a newly formed union. As president, Trump will appoint members to the board, and while it’s common for Republicans to pick less union-friendly members than Democrats, Trump is unusual because the board’s decisions could directly affect his business interests in the future.
- Deutsche Bank:Deutsche Bank, one of Trump’s biggest lenders — his most recent financial disclosures say he owes the bank at least $364 million — is negotiating a $4 billion to $5 billion settlement with the Department of Justice over its packaging and sale of mortgage-backed securities. Talks were suspended after the November election, and the concern is that Trump’s administration might be more lenient on a Trump Organization creditor.
- The stock portfolio: Trump says he sold his stock portfolio, including stocks worth as much as $40 million, back in June. But so far, he hasn’t provided proof. It’s standard for presidents to sell their stock and put it in a blind trust, so they’re no longer aware what companies they own — and Trump owns small slices of big players in industries his policies will affect, from pharmaceuticals to technology companies.
- The trademarks: Before Trump secured the Republican nomination, he tried to trademark the phrase “American Idea.” Melania Trump has tried to trademark her name for use in a jewelry line. And after Ivanka Trump appeared in a 60 Minutes interview, reporters were notified that she was wearing a $10,800 bracelet from her own line of jewelry.
- Celebrity Apprentice: Trump will remain an executive producer on the reality television show, according to Variety, meaning that he’ll continue to receive income while in the White House. While presidents, including President Obama, have made money from royalties on books during their time in office, the TV show is just one small part of Trump’s ongoing business empire.