Two U.S. Attorneys General to sue over
foreign payments to Trump hotels
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[June 12, 2017]
By Dan Levine
(Reuters) - The attorneys general of
Maryland and the District of Columbia plan to file a lawsuit on Monday
alleging that foreign payments to President Donald Trump's businesses
violate the U.S. constitution, according to a source familiar with the
Trump already faces a similar lawsuit that was brought in January by
plaintiffs including a ethics non-profit group.
However, the case from two Democratic attorneys general could stand a
better chance in court as the first government action over allegations
that Trump, a Republican, violated the constitution's so-called
Democrat AGs have taken a lead role in litigating against Trump's
policies, successfully blocking executive orders restricting travel from
some Muslim-majority countries. They are also resisting efforts to roll
back environmental regulations and insurance subsidies under the
Affordable Care Act.
A spokesman for Maryland's attorney general declined to comment on the
latest emoluments case. DC attorney general Karl Racine and a
spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice could not immediately be
In the case filed in January in Manhattan federal court, an ethics
non-profit, restaurant group and hotel events booker allege Trump
violates the Constitution's "emoluments" clause, which bars him from
accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval,
by maintaining ownership over his business empire despite ceding
day-to-day control to his sons.
The Justice Department on Friday argued that those plaintiffs lack the
legal standing to sue because they cannot allege enough specific harm
caused by Trump's businesses. The government also said Trump hotel
revenue does not fit the definition of an improper payment under the
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President Donald Trump waves before his departs from Newark Liberty
International airport after a weekend at Trump National Golf Club in
Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., June 11, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
AG Racine told Reuters in a March interview that the District of
Columbia has suffered particular harm because it subsidized the
construction of hotels that are now impacted by foreign payments to
That puts the district in a "unique position" to file legal claims
over the emoluments clause, Racine said.
The Washington Post earlier reported the AG lawsuit.
(Reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Michael Perry)
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