Donald Trump may be facing a threat of impeachment after a mysterious deal to save a Chinese telecommunication company that may have a direct connection to Trump’s own business ventures.
This week, Trump announced that he was helping the Chinese company ZTE, which had violated U.S. sanctions. As CBS News reported, Trump said he would help the company to “get back on track” even as both Democrats and Republicans complained that the company posed a security risk to the United States as a contributor to Chinese espionage. The company had also been accused of misleading American regulators regarding sanctions in North Korea and Iran, the report noted.
Trump said he was working with Chinese President Xi Jingping to help ZTE find “a way to get back to business, fast” after the U.S. government cut off ZTE’s access to suppliers from the United States. This came after Trump had continually attacked China while on the campaign trail and in office, saying that the country is stealing jobs from Americans.
There are now allegations that Donald Trump may have helped ZTE in return for help to his own company. As Quartz noted, some experts believe Trump “blinked” in negotiations with the Chinese, backing down from his tough rhetoric. But others believe that Trump may have another motivation.
“The South China Morning Post reports that Chinese state enterprises will provide $500 million in loans to a development project in Indonesia that will include Trump-branded hotels, residences and golf courses,” the report noted. “The project, part of China’s Belt and Road plan for infrastructure spending, stands to funnel millions of dollars into the Trump Organization, the president’s private business.”
Donald Trump is already facing some heat for the deal. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said he believes the deal with ZTE is a violation of the emoluments clause, which prohibits certain government officials from receiving gifts, offices, titles, or emoluments from foreign leaders.
Schiff said that the White House is “now completely submerged” by the so-called swamp that Trump had promised to drain in one of his chief campaign pledges.
Many have pressed the emoluments clause as a potential avenue to impeach Donald Trump, though Schiff did not explicitly say that he believes Trump should face impeachment proceedings.