Congressional Democrats sue Trump over foreign payments

Friday, 16 Jun, 2017

Almost 200 Democratic members of Congress plan to file a lawsuit against President Trump on Wednesday, claiming that his business empire violates the Constitution.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia hope a little-known clause in the Constitution will force President Donald Trump to separate himself from his businesses and release his tax returns and other financial information, contending in a lawsuit he is corruptible to foreign governments who make payments to his businesses from around the world.

The lawsuit said Trump maintains the Foreign Emoluments Clause does not require him to obtain approval from Congress "before accepting benefits arising out of exchanges between foreign states and his businesses".

According to The Washington Post, the suit alleges that Trump violated constitutional anti-corruption clauses by taking payments from foreign governments while in office.

Attorneys general in Washington D.C. and Maryland filed a lawsuit on Monday over the emoluments clause and focused their complaint on the Trump hotel just blocks from the White House. The department has also argued that fair-market payments to a business aren't a benefit that violates the emoluments clause.

On Monday, attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia sued Trump "in his official capacity" for allegedly trampling constitutional restrictions barring the nation's commander-in-chief from making money on the side from interactions with foreign countries and individual state governments.

The move is first of its kind because there has never been a businessman-turned-president in the ilk of Mr Trump. "So it's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations behind the suit".

Those involved in litigation brought by congressional Democrats say that they will encounter no such standing issues, because of the special status the emoluments clause grants Congress in such controversies.

Blumenthal argued that because of the "unique role" the framers granted members of Congress, they have "standing [to sue] that no one else has". The case is being led by Richard Blumenthal in the Senate and John Conyers in the House. As a result, questions about conflicts of interest and allegations that Trump and members of his family are using the presidency to further enrich themselves have dogged the administration from the beginning.

US President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka walk on the South Lawn of the White House before visiting Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The suit detailed the popularity of the opulent Trump International Hotel with foreign officials since his January 20 inauguration, alleging that the hotel "has specifically marketed itself to the diplomatic community". Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Dem senators press FCC not to allow straight-to-voicemail telemarketing MORE (D-Conn.) called on President Trump Wednesday to disclose more information about his business dealings abroad, questioning how the public can be sure the president's foreign policy decisions are not influenced by his overseas business interests. It also gives incentives to government that will give businesses owned by Trump preferential treatment.