Trump May Face Lawsuit For "Unprecedented Constitutional Violations"

Trump May Face Lawsuit For

Just days after Mr Trump's inauguration in January, the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of NY.

The lawsuit, first reported by the Washington Post late Sunday, hinges on Trump's decision to maintain ownership of his company after becoming president, the D.C. Attorneys General's office confirmed to ABC News Sunday night.

The president has called references to his alleged violation to the Emoluments Clause "without merit, totally without merit". "The Domestic Emoluments Clause prevents individual states from competing against each other by giving the President money or other things of value", according to the Washington Post.

"What we are saying the Constitution is being violated", said Racine. "The suit was filed by two Democratic attorney generals, the lawyers driving the suit are an advocacy group with partisan ties", Spicer said, referring to the involvement of the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. For instance, the president still receives routine updates on the company's finances.

They pledged to pursue no new foreign deals during Trump's presidency but have traveled the globe - from Dubai to the Dominican Republic - to work on projects conceived before their father took office. However, in a response Friday to a similar suit, the Trump administration argued that the money flowing to Trump's businesses from foreign governments does not violate the Constitution because it's in the form of payments for goods and services, rather than straight-out gifts.

The Trump Organization has promised in the past to take steps to address some ethics concerns.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday disputed that Trump's interests in his businesses violated the emoluments clause, pointing to the arguments raised by the Justice Department in its motion to dismiss the case in NY.

Attorney General Racine told Reuters in a March interview that the District of Columbia has suffered particular harm because it subsidized the construction of hotels that are now impacted by foreign payments to Trump properties.

When taking office, Trump broke with many presidential traditions, including putting assets into a blind trust to avoid conflict of interests.

"By not divesting himself from his businesses", Trump is flouting the constitutional protections against corruption, Racine said.

As a result, the hotel may be drawing business away from both the taxypayer-owned D.C. convention center and one in nearby Maryland subsidized by taxpayers, Frosh and Racine said. A nonprofit restaurant group and others have joined the suit since.

It is at least the third filed by groups and businesses anxious that Trump might be profiting personally from his presidency. The Justice Department has asked a federal judge to dismiss the complaint, arguing the emoluments clauses do not prohibit sitting presidents from owning businesses.

"This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government", said Frosh.

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