In his prior life as a real estate magnate and reality TV star, President Donald Trump was famously litigious and often threatened lawsuits even if he didn't always follow through. Now, he's reportedly set to be sued by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., who will allege the president has violated the Constitution by taking foreign payments through his businesses during his time in the White House. Another suit from a watchdog group has already alleged the same, and Democrats in Congress are reportedly considering a similar move.
The latest lawsuit from D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, both Democrats, reportedly alleges that Trump has not followed through with a promise to remove himself from his wide-ranging business dealings. The attorneys general plan to hold a press conference at noon, Eastern time, to announce the suit, according to CNN Money.
"Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President...disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers. Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription," the lawsuit reads, according to The Washington Post, which said it obtained a copy of the document.
Subscribe to Newsweek from $1 per week
President Donald Trump arrives at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, to spend a weekend at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on June 9.YURI GRIPAS/REUTERS
The lawsuit argues that Trump has violated the Constitution's foreign and domestic emoluments clause, over which the president has already been sued by the progressive watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).
"This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government," Frosh told the Post. "The emoluments clauses command that...the president put the country first and not his own personal interest first."
The emoluments clause is a serious anti-corruption statute from which Trump is not exempt. If a federal judge allows the case to go forward, an injunction will be sought to force Trump to stop conducting business the way he is alleged to be doing, but it would leave how to do so up to the court, according to the Post. Experts have said that if Trump was found to have violated the emoluments clause, he could be vulnerable to impeachment.
Democrats in the House and Senate reportedly have similar plans to sue Trump over alleged violations of the emoluments clause.
The Trump administration has argued the president's businesses are allowed to accept money from foreign governments while he's in office. Those suing Trump say his businesses have hurt competing businesses by taking advantage of his position in the White House. For example, officials from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Georgia have chosen to direct their business to Trump's D.C. hotel. The Embassy of Kuwait, for one, shifted an event from the local Four Seasons to Trump's property.