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Frosh joins DC in suing Trump over foreign payments

Two Democratic attorneys general in President Trump's backyard are behind a new legal attack against Trump's continued interests in his business empire.

Trump's ownership in hundreds of businesses hurts Maryland and D.C. and violates "emoluments" clauses in the Constitution that bar the president from accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval as well as from domestic governments under any circumstances, according to the complaint. It was later reported that Trump would receive updates about his businesses regularly, including financial information. In January, Trump declared he was shifting his business assets into a trust that his sons would manage in order to do away with possible conflicts of interests.

"The suit alleges that President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution", Racine told reporters on Monday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit activist group, has separately sued Trump in U.S. District Court in Manhattan alleging "countless conflicts of interest" in violation of the Constitution's so-called emoluments clause. 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.

The Emoluments Clauses were included in the Constitution as anti-corruption provisions, meant to shield the president from outside influence and ensure that he works in the nation's interest rather than focusing on his own bottom line.

Company policy detailed in a new pamphlet suggests that it is up to foreign governments, not Trump's hotels, to determine whether foreign governments self-report their business dealings.

He told the company in a letter last month that Trump should either divest his ownership or get permission from Congress to accept all sources of foreign money if it's too hard to identify those payments.

The Justice Department on Friday said that those plaintiffs lack the legal standing to sue because they can not properly explain or allege the particular harm caused by the Trump's businesses.

The Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution is at the core of the Maryland-D.C. lawsuit. Legal experts said the D.C. and Maryland suit is legally stronger because states have standing to sue the president.

They also said their action was non-partisan, and other state attorneys general, including Republicans, were welcome to join the suit. The suit, filed in Maryland federal court, seeks an injunction to bar the president from further constitutional violations.

Trump already faces a similar lawsuit brought in January by plaintiffs that include an ethics group, a restaurant group and a hotel events booker.

The White House didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

"It's unprecedented that the American people must question day after day whether decisions are made or actions are taken to benefit the United States or to benefit President Trump", Frosh said.



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