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

The attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., announced Sunday night that they plan to file a "major lawsuit" against President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

"What we are saying the Constitution is being violated", said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced at a news conference in Washington, D.C., as cited by NBC News.

"We have a duty to enforce the law and that's why we are taking action today", Racine added.

RACINE: President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution which explicitly bars presidents from receiving gifts or inducements from foreign or domestic government entities. Since then, a restaurant group and two individuals in the hotel industry have joined as plaintiffs. "Or a president who refused to adequately distance themselves from their holdings", Racine said.

"The president's conflicts of interest threaten our democracy", Frosh told journalists. It rests on the "Emoluments Clause", an 18th century provision in the Constitution that was aimed at keeping European royalty from corrupting American ambassadors with expensive gifts, and has never been fully tested in court. Trump said he was shifting assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

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 president has called references to his alleged violation to the Emoluments Clause "without merit, totally without merit".

The Justice Department on Friday argued that those plaintiffs lack the legal standing to sue because they can not allege enough specific harm caused by Trump's businesses.

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"Mr. Trump is unique in American history in violating the emoluments clause", Frosh said.

Attorneys General say foreign governments are spending at Trump Hotels in order to curry favor with President Trump; they have mentioned Saudi Arabia in particular.

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.

This suit could "open a new front for Trump", which had already faced the investigation of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller about Trump's ties with the Russian government during the presidential campaign of 2016, which was denied both in the White House and in the Kremlin.

On Monday's broadcast of CNN's "Situation Room", CNN Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin stated the lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia and Maryland against President Trump "is a political attempt to interfere and damage the presidency".

Artists in Washington, D.C. projected messages on the Trump International Hotel instructing guests to drop off their foreign bribes on May 15.

Frosh said attorneys would attempt to obtain copies of Trump's tax returns as part of the lawsuit.

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

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