Trump faces new lawsuit over business empire

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

Maryland and the USA capital sued President Donald Trump saying he is breaking laws by raking in money from foreign governments and businesses at his luxury hotels and office towers.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued President Trump on Monday, claiming he is violating the Constitution by taking millions of dollars in payments from foreign governments through his real estate empire.

Frosh said in a statement on Monday that Trump's "wide-ranging business entanglements violate the Constitution's Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses". That is what I think this lawsuit is really about.

"The President's conflict of interests threaten our country". Legal experts disagree on what constitutes an emolument and whether Mr. Trump has violated the clause or not.

"Again, the reason why we're here is because the president of the United States, in a wholly unprecedented fashion, has made a decision to maintain a sprawling global business empire that accepts money without account from foreign governments", Racine said. Foreign governments - including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Georgia - have all booked rooms at Trump's new Washington hotel.

The hotel opened in October previous year with Trump in attendance and questions have swirled around it ever since, particularly in light of patronage by foreign officials, including 100 foreign diplomats who were there for an event in November.

This is the first time a lawsuit like this has been brought by state governments against a president.

US President Donald J. Trump (R), First Lady Melania Trump (C) and their son Barron Trump return to the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 11 June 2017, after a trip to New Jersey.

The foreign emoluments clause prohibits the president and other government employees from accepting foreign gifts and payments without congressional approval.

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The lawsuit says despite billionaire Trump having placed his extensive business holdings in a trust after he was elected president, he still owns the properties and is well-aware of the money they are earning him.

The Justice Department sought to have that suit dismissed on Friday, arguing that none of the plaintiffs had suffered an injury that would give them standing to sue, according to papers filed in Manhattan federal court.

But if the lawsuit is successful, the big payoff could be finally getting a look at Trump's tax returns.

"It's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations behind the scene".

At their news conference, the two Democrats said their effort is non-partisan and that other attorneys general, including Republicans, were welcome to join their effort.

President Trump faces a new legal challenge, this time from the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia. However, that trust is managed in part by his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, who said they brief the president on his company's profits.

The Republican National Committee called the lawsuit "absurd".

Racine and Frosh said in a news conference that the Trump hotel, just blocks from the White House, creates unfair competition for other businesses in the District and Maryland. That means it the business will not try to identify people who haven't specifically identified themselves as representing a foreign government.

Turley said the odds are likely against the case, but "the merits of the constitutional claim have good-faith arguments on both sides".

Other reports by VgToday

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