April 20, 2018

Maryland, DC attorneys general suing Trump

26 June 2017, 01:48 | Guillermo Sutton

Pool Getty Images

Pool  Getty Images

"We're concerned that foreign governments are coming to the Trump businesses for the single objective of couriering special favor from the president of the united states so that their interests can get a higher priority than the interests of the American people", said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

He told the company in a letter last month that Trump should either divest his ownership or get permission from Congress to accept all sources of foreign money if it's too hard to identify those payments.

"This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government", Frosh said, referring to part of the Constitution known as the emoluments clause, which prohibits USA officials from taking gifts or other benefits from foreign governments.

"The suit alleges that President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution", Racine told reporters on Monday. Racine on Tuesday said DC and Maryland's "unique sovereign status" meant they had an obligation to protect the interests of residents.

The GSA initially said Trump would have to fully divest from the hotel after the election. Forbid foreign dignitaries and lobbyists from booking rooms or having meals there? Furthermore, it prohibits the president from accepting gifts or emoluments from state governments. "He continues to take money from foreign governments.He doesn't seem to understand or care about these violations of the constitution".

The Washington Post earlier reported the AG lawsuit.

Mr Frosh and District of Columbia attorney general Karl Racine have scheduled a news conference to announce the lawsuit.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday rejected the claim that Trump's business interests violated the Constitution and said "partisan politics" were behind the lawsuit.

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If the case is allowed to proceed, one of the first things the state attorneys general plan to do is ask a federal judge to force Trump to turn over his tax returns, so they can see just how much of his real estate empire is dependent upon foreign government business.

"Traditional checks and balances are failing us", Racine said.

The case by Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, both Democrats, has a better chance in court as the first government action over allegations that Trump, a Republican, violated the Constitution's so-called emoluments clauses, legal experts said. 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. A nonprofit restaurant group and others have joined the suit since.

Constitutional scholars debate whether or not the Emoluments Clause applies to the president, or to businesses owned by him.

On Friday, the US Department of Justice claimed that those plaintiffs lacked the legal standing to sue because they were unable to allege specific harm to the president's integrity brought on by foreign revenue to his conglomerate. Who knows what they would show?

Despite a pledge to isolate himself from the business, Trump held on to his assets and placed them in a trust in his name. If Trump doesn't, the overseas properties could amount to a national security threat. "I don't think we have ever believed that officers of the USA can't own stock in a company that does business overseas", McConnell said.

However, Derek Muller, a professor at Pepperdine University School of Law, said it was unclear that this harm could be remedied by a favorable ruling. Winkler was featured last week at the American Constitution Society's annual meeting.

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