Published: Tue, June 27, 2017
Global Media | By Garry Long

Over Foreign Payments to Trump Hotels, Two US Attorney Generals to Sue

Over Foreign Payments to Trump Hotels, Two US Attorney Generals to Sue

The attorneys general said that the President violated the Constitution by failing to sever ties to his business empire and accepting foreign payments while in office.

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

The suit was filed by the attorney generals of Maryland and Washington, D.C., Brian Frosh and Karl Racine, respectively, The Inquisitr reports.

Frosh told the Post that the emoluments clause mandates that "the president put the country first and not his own personal interest first". The Post cited that the president's son, Eric Trump, said his father would get regular updates about his company's financial health.

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia announced they sued President Donald Trump on Monday, alleging he has violated the Constitution by taking payments from foreign governments as president.

The lawsuit comes after last week's announcement that the first hotels to open under the Trump Organization's new budget hotel chain will be in MS through a partnership with a company whose co-owner donated to the president's campaign, the New York Times reported.

Payments to Trump's hotels do not qualify as a violation of the emoluments clause, which is meant to cover personal services performed by the president, the government said.

Maryland and the District of Columbia argue that they should be shielded from "undue pressure to provide emoluments to the president", and that other states can "curry favor from the president by providing emoluments that other states lack".

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Racine and Frosh allege Trump's leases, properties and other business "entanglements" around the world pose a conflict of interest under a clause of the constitution.

He referred to a similar suit filed in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a DC-based watchdog group, and said "it's not hard to conclude that partisan politics is behind this suit".

Racine and Frosh are planning to demand copies of Trump's personal tax returns shall a federal judge allows the case to proceed.

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a joint press conference with visiting Romanian President Klaus Iohannis (not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on June 9, 2017.

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.

"Mr. Trump is unique in American history in violating the emoluments clause", Frosh said.

"The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia who's government has important business and policy before the president of the united states has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump International Hotel", Racine said.

But Stanford's Michael McConnell disagreed that the clause applies, saying Trump's ownership stake in the Trump Organization, which does business overseas, is not the same as Trump dealing with another country personally.

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