The attorney generals for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland announced they will sue President Trump on Monday alleging he violated anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution by accepting millions of dollars in payments from foreign governments since assuming office, The Washington Post reported late Sunday.
The lawsuit centers on Mr. Trump’s decision to retain ownership of his company when he became president. In January, Mr. Trump said he was shifting his assets into a trust managed by his sons to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) argue Mr. Trump has committed “unprecedented constitutional violations,” and that his continued ownership of his business has enmeshed the president with “a legion of foreign and domestic government actors,” according to the lawsuit:
“Fundamental to a Presidents 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.”
Messrs. Racine and Frosh say they want to force the release of Mr. Trump’s tax returns to examine if the president has any financial entanglements that would alter his ability to make decisions for the country’s best interest.
Lawyers and politicians across the country have argued that foreign governments may spend money at Trump Organization properties in an attempt to curry favor with the president, which they say would violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
The Emoluments Clause prevents any “person holding any Office of Profit or Trust” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
On Friday, the Department of Justice filed a 70-brief arguing that Mr. Trump’s businesses are legally allowed to accepted payments from foreign governments while he is in office.