Updated Oct 11, 2019

Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump "wants to be a king"

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.). Photo: Chuck Kennedy/Axios

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said Friday President Trump is trying to work the Oval Office as a business play, and has "converted the presidency into self enrichment and re-election."

Why it matters: Raskin told Axios' Margaret Telev at an Axios event that Congress must hold President Trump accountable, citing the domestic and foreign emoluments clauses, which outline the payments a president may not receive.

What he's saying:

  • "He wants to be a king. ... Every time they go to Mar-a-Lago, it’s totally unconstitutional."
  • Raskin referred to the foreign emolument clause regarding the July 25 phone call between the Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky and Trump, when the Ukraine president says he stayed at a Trump hotel in New York.
  • "We've got to get back to constitutional basics here," Raskin says.
  • On GOP reaction to some of Trump's actions: "It’s amazing to me that our Republican colleagues can call out the president for his betrayal of the Kurds but most still can’t call out the president for his betrayal."

The big picture: Several House committees, including Judiciary and Oversight on which Raskin sits, have subpoenaed a number of people, including U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, as part of their investigation into President Trump’s alleged efforts to push Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

  • The Trump administration has so far tried to block them administration officials from testifying in their Ukraine investigation. Sondland is expected to testify next Wednesday before the House committees, Axios’ Alayna Treene reports.
  • Raskin notes that polls are indicating a daily rise in public support for impeachment despite the lack of White House cooperation.

Go deeper... Trump-Ukraine scandal: The key players, dates and documents

Go deeper

News Shapers: National Security

Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice on the Axios stage last Friday. Photo: Chuck Kennedy for Axios

Friday morning, Axios' Politics and White House Editor Margaret Talev hosted a series of one-on-one conversations on the news of the day, focused on topics around national security and international relations.

Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Ambassador to the United States

European Union Ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, discussed relations between the EU and the U.S. around tariffs, and the recent decisions made regarding Turkey's offensive in Syria. He discussed how the conflict between Syria and Turkey fundamentally weakens the relationship between the EU and the U.S., and stressed the need for collaboration and strengthening our alliance.

  • On tariffs: “[They’re] bad for the U.S. economy and very bad for the European economy…There are no winners in tariff wars.”
  • On shifts in foreign investment: "You see industrial manufacturing slowing down in the US...with the instability, people outside the US don’t want to take the risk."
  • On China: "Only if we work together can we ensure that China plays by the rules — and where rules need to be amended it can be done with maximum consensus from countries around the world."
Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) focused on the ongoing impeachment inquiry and drew from constitutional history in his discussion of the role of the presidency and Congress.

  • On how the Founders designed U.S. government: We’re in a period of rediscovering we’re not co-equal branches...our constitution was written by people who were overthrowing kings and replaced it with a government by the people.
  • On the role of presidency: The President’s main job is to make sure that laws are faithfully executed, and we have the power to impeach the president if he doesn’t do that.
  • On the role of Congress: "Congress is the most important branch of the government. We must return to the original design of the constitution — we have this imperial presidency that is completely off the rails."
  • On Republican colleagues' reaction to the decision on Turkey: "It’s amazing to me that my Republican colleagues are willing to call out the President for his betrayal of the Kurds, but refuse to call out the President for his betrayal of Americans."
Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Susan Rice, Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations discussed her recent memoir, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, the crisis in Syria, and the Nobel Peace Prize this past Friday.

  • On Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed: “I’m hopeful that the peace will sustain itself and that normalization will continue.”
  • On whether the U.S. has clearly sent a message to Turkey on its position in Syria: "Yes. The position is green light."
  • On the impeachment inquiry: For Democrats, this is so bad it’s beyond political calculation. What they’re saying is: if we don’t stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law, then when?
  • On the current political climate's impact on foreign policy decisions: "We’re losing a sense of what is normal. When we lose that, we lose any compass in how to affect the national interest...We’ve got to remember what normal is and get back to it"

Go deeper: EU ambassador: Turkey and Syria conflict "weakens the alliance we have", Rep. Jamie Raskin: Trump "wants to be a king"

Thank you, Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

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Perry tells WSJ Trump directed him to contact Giuliani on Ukraine

Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday that President Trump directed him to contact Rudy Giuliani in the spring about alleged Ukraine corruption concerns.

Why it matters: Per the WSJ, Perry's comments about the phone call he had with Trump's personal lawyer Giuliani concerning unsubstantiated allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. election demonstrates "how closely the president’s personal lawyer worked with the administration on Ukraine policy."

Go deeperArrowOct 17, 2019

Scoop: EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland to testify next week

Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland will testify next Wednesday before the House committees investigating President Trump and Ukraine, despite being blocked by the State Department from appearing at a closed-door deposition this week, 4 congressional sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Sondland's lawyer confirmed Friday that the ambassador does plan to testify — "notwithstanding the State Department's current direction not to testify."

Go deeperArrowOct 11, 2019