Trump Sued For "Unprecedented Constitutional Violations" By DC And Maryland

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh left accompanied by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine speaks during a news conference in Washington Monday

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh left accompanied by District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine speaks during a news conference in Washington Monday

US capital city Washington D.C. and nearby state Maryland on Monday filed a lawsuit against US President Donald Trump, alleging he violated clauses in the Constitution by accepting payments and benefits from foreign governments since his inauguration. But in a brief filed last week in response to the NY case, the department argued that the earlier lawsuit should be dismissed because the emoluments clauses were never meant to prohibit a president from owning a business while in office.

The lawsuit cites the U.S. constitution's emoluments clause, which says no federal official should receive a gift or a fee from a foreign government.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland names 10 countries it says Trump has profited from as president.

"This lawsuit today is just another iteration of the case that was filed by that group CREW, filed actually by the same lawyers", Spicer said. Trump warpath, part one: The president has. They also said their action was nonpartisan, and other state attorneys general, including Republicans, were welcome to join the suit.

"It's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be more the motivations behind the scenes", he added.

These clauses were included in the Constitution as a corruption counter balance provision within the Title of Nobility Clause.

The Justice Department had no immediate response. "The president can stand over here with his president of the United States hat and he's not allowed to take payments, but he takes a step over here and puts on his businessman hat they can funnel as much money to him as they want".

Although the lawsuit marks the first time a state or municipality has sued the President for emoluments violations, DC-based watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), brought a similar action in April. "That is the indispensable foundation of a democracy", said Attorney General Frosh.

"He bragged about that on the campaign trial", Frosh said. But which Washington hotel gets to host embassy parties is hardly the most important question involved.

Racine noted that the emoluments clause hasn't been tested by the Supreme Court or federal circuit courts. Trump said he was shifting assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interest. It also charges that the Trump International Hotel in Washington has "specifically marketed itself to the diplomatic community" since the Presidential election, and points to the fact that Trump has appeared there multiple times.

While the chance of success is slim, the lawsuit seeks to shine a light on Trump's personal tax returns to assess the magnitude of his foreign business dealings.

"The president's interests, as previously discussed, do not violate the emoluments clause", Spicer said during a press briefing. The shaping need not entail a specific quid pro quo with a foreign state; general affinities or preferences, or a natural inclination to favor those who have bestowed favors-or profitable business-in the other direction may be sufficient to shape policy in ways detrimental to USA interests.

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