Published: Sat, June 24, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

DC, Maryland AGs to file suit against President Trump over business dealings

DC, Maryland AGs to file suit against President Trump over business dealings

Plaintiffs typically only have standing to file lawsuits under federal law if they can show they have been injured and a court ruling would remedy the harm.

Ahead of the Monday lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a 70-page legal brief on Friday arguing that Trump's businesses are legally permitted to accept market-rate payments from foreign governments while he is in office. No state has accused a president of violating the emoluments clause.

The Justice Department on Friday argued in the other emoluments lawsuit filed in January that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to sue because they can not allege enough specific harm caused by Trump's businesses.

"The emoluments clauses are a firewall against corruption", said Frosh.

Racine said he felt obligated to file suit against Trump in part because the Republican-controlled Congress has not taken the president's apparent conflicts seriously.

According to them, Trump repeatedly and continues to violate the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses through payments obtained from leases of Trump properties held by foreign-government entities, hotel accommodations, restaurant purchases, use of venues for events, and purchases of other goods and services by foreign governments and diplomats at hotels, restaurants, and other domestic and global properties licensed, owned, or operated by the President.

"[Americans] must know we won't enter into a treaty because the president owns a golf course there", Frosh said. "Foreign governments are spending money there to curry favor with the president of the United States".

The suit, a signed copy of which Racine and Frosh provided to the Washington Post Sunday night, accuses Trump of "unprecedented constitutional violations".

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"Like the unfairly maligned press corps and the courts, state attorney generals are serving as a necessary check and balance in the Trump era where others fail", he said. "It's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations" for filing suit, Spicer said.

"The actions of the attorneys general represent the kind of partisan grandstanding voters across the country have come to despise", Jancek said. "The suit challenges the sort of business transaction that everyone from Penny Pritzker, who served in the last administration, and others have engaged in while in office".

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. Norm Eisen, chair of CREW's board, was at the press conference on Tuesday with Racine and Frosh.

The President has continually brushed off calls from Democrats to release his tax returns.

The lawsuit also asserts that since Trump made a decision to maintain his financial interests in his global business empire, he is committing "unprecedented constitutional violations" by accepting those payments.

"The president's interests, as previously discussed, do not violate the emoluments clause", Spicer said.

Trump's business portfolio boasts of hotels in New York City, Las Vegas, Chicago and Miami.

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