Maryland, DC attorneys general suing Trump

Trump International Hotel

The attorneys general for Maryland and Washington D.C. filed a lawsuit Monday against President Donald Trump, alleging that he violated the Constitution's anti-corruption clauses by accepting payments from foreign governments since taking office.

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.

"The president is bound by oath to faithfully execute his office and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." the lawsuit says, and the president has to "disentangle his private finances" and to keep them aloof from domestic or foreign affairs to attain his oath and retrieve the peoples' trust.

Racine said he and Frosh chose to act because the Republican-controlled Congress has "wholly failed to fulfill its responsibility of serving as a check and balance on the president".

Frosh told the Post that the emoluments clause mandates that "the president put the country first and not his own personal interest first".

The lawsuit is the latest and most significant legal challenge to Trump over the issue of emoluments and thought to become another legal headache for Trump following special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible Russian meddling in the USA presidential campaign and court challenges to the president's controversial travel ban.




In New York, Trump Tower leases space to the Chinese government-controlled bank ICBC, and Trump World Tower and other properties also focus on foreign clients, including Russians, it said. "The behavior of past presidents suggests Trump is deviating from the norm". Rather, he has shifted responsibility to the foreign government delegations who stay at his hotel; they're the ones who should be tracking the cash they spend at Trump's hotels.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

"Never in the history of this country have we had a president with these kinds of extensive business entanglements", the D.C. Attorney General declared. Many people consider the Chinese government's move as a gift to the U.S. President and a conflict of interest.

"We have economic interests that are impacted, but the most salient factor is that when the President is subject to foreign influence, we have to be concerned about whether the actions he's taking - both at home and overseas - are the result of payments that he is receiving at the Trump Hotel, payments that he is receiving at Mar-a-Lago, payments that he is receiving at Trump Tower, payments that he is receiving in all of his other far-flung enterprises, and he brags about it", Mr Frosh said in an earlier interview. This includes the Trump hotel in Downtown Washington. They said the suit involves so-called emolument clauses of the Constitution - little-known anti-corruption provisions meant to shield the president from outside influence. An attorney for Trump said in January that the president was resigning from the Trump Organization and handing leadership over to his sons to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The Maryland and D.C. attorneys general are seeking an order in U.S. District Court in Maryland preventing Trump from continuing to receive government payments beyond his salary. The domestic emoluments clause forbids the president from receiving any other "emolument" while he's in office, generally defined as a payment or other financial benefit.

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