Speed Reads

Trump abroad

The Trump Organization is opening a golf course in Dubai in February and it's already threatening the 'emoluments clause'

The first Donald Trump-connected property to open after Inauguration Day will also be Trump's first in the Arab world, an 18-hole golf course in Dubai. Due to open in February, the Trump International Golf Club will be managed by Trump Organization employees, but it is already raising concerns about the potential for foreign leaders to pressure the incoming U.S. president — or please him — by how receptive they are to his ventures.

"He has so many properties that his business interests become an obvious target for both bribes and threats," legal historian Robert W. Gordon, of Stanford University, told The Associated Press. "The dangers really come in two directions: One is that foreign powers will try to use Trump's interests as a way of bribing him into public policies in a way that are friendly to them or use them put pressure on him."

Take the Dubai property, for instance. The golf course sits inside a massive development belonging to Dubai-based real estate company, DAMAC Properties, which bought the land from Dubai's government in 2012:

All services to the property — electricity, water, roads — come at the discretion of the government. The club's bar will need government approvals to serve alcohol, not to mention other regulatory issues.

That could raise concerns about the so-called "emoluments clause" of the U.S. constitution, which bars public officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments and companies controlled by them without the consent of Congress.

Any negotiations involving the Trump brand at the least could create the appearance of impropriety, legal experts warn. [The Associated Press]

"Trump himself tends to treat his businesses and his public policy as sort of extensions of himself," Gordon said. "He seems to be completely unembarrassed about scrambling up and conflating his business enterprise and the actions and policies of the U.S. government."