Ethics lawyers to sue Trump over foreign
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[January 23, 2017]
By Dan Levine
(Reuters) - A group including former White
House ethics attorneys will file a lawsuit on Monday accusing President
Donald Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign
governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit, brought by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington, will allege that the Constitution's emoluments clause
forbids payments to Trump's businesses. It will seek a court order
forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, said Deepak Gupta, one of
the lawyers working on the case.
Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the
Philippines, the group noted in a statement.
"When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these
countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he
will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman," it
A Trump representative referred questions to a law firm representing the
president on ethics matters.
"We do not comment on our clients or the work we do for them," said the
representative of the firm, Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
The case is part of a wave of litigation expected to be filed against
Trump by liberal advocacy groups. It will be filed in a Manhattan
federal court, Gupta said, and attorneys for the plaintiffs will include
Richard Painter, a former ethics lawyer in Republican President George
W. Bush's White House.
The impending lawsuit was earlier reported by the New York Times.
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President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement
Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the
White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua
Trump's son Eric Trump, an executive vice president of the Trump
Organization, told the Times on Sunday that the company had taken
more steps than required by law to avoid any possible legal
exposure, such as agreeing to donate any profits collected at
Trump-owned hotels that come from foreign government guests to the
"This is purely harassment for political gain," Trump told the
(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Cooney)
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