Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), aware of the breaking story alleging that Hunter Biden introduced his father, former Vice President Joe Biden, to a Burisma executive a year before Joe Biden urged Ukraine to fire the prosecutor investigating the energy company, used the opportunity given to interview Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Wednesday to speak of the story.

Terming it as a series of “hypotheticals” while its reach was being limited by social media companies, Hawley said to Barrett, “Let me ask you about another set of questions, just briefly, that you had this morning. Senator Leahy asked you about the Foreign Emoluments clause, which is in Article 1, Section 9, Paragraph 8. He asked you whether it was best characterized as an anti-corruption clause —you might remember that— in terms of foreign influence and foreign interference, and then he referenced the president and various allegations about foreign influence.”

Hawley continued to Barrett, “Since he asked you about it, and since he asked about foreign influence in government, I think it’s only fair that I ask whether hypothetically speaking, just hypothetically, if there were, let’s say, a Vice-President of the United States who hypothetically had an adult son, who hypothetically worked for a foreign oligarch, who then sold access to his father, the Vice-President, and then his father then intervened in a case to make sure that that oligarch wasn’t prosecuted, hypothetically, would that constitute the kind of foreign corruption that the Constitution’s concerned about?”

Barrett responded, “I can’t answer hypotheticals.”

Hawley concluded, “Well, I thought you might say that, and I’m glad you don’t and won’t, because who knows? That case may come before you. But I think it’s a fair set of questions to ask.”

The Foreign Emoluments clause “generally prohibits federal officeholders from receiving any gift, payment, or other thing of value from a foreign state or its rulers, officers, or representatives,” notes. It states, “No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”

The Foreign Emoluments clause has been cited by Democrats to attack President Donald Trump; in February, a federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by Democrats asserting Trump violated the clause by permitting his businesses to receive money from foreign governments without prior approval of Congress, as CNBC reported.

The D.C. Circuit stated that the Democratic “members can, and likely will, continue to use their weighty voices to make their case to the American people, their colleagues in the Congress and the President himself, all of whom are free to engage that argument as they see fit. But we will not — indeed we cannot — participate in this debate. The Constitution permits the Judiciary to speak only in the context of an Article III case or controversy and this lawsuit presents neither.”

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