US President sued after foreign officials stay at Trump Hotels

US President sued after foreign officials stay at Trump Hotels

Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Monday.

"President Trump has violated important anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution". The diplomatic post had originally booked the Four Seasons hotel to host the event, but changed reservations to the President's property reportedly under pressure from officials within Trump Organization, the suit alleges. It marks the first time ever that government bodies have sued a sitting President for betraying the Emoluments Clause. And ProPublica discovered in April that the President can withdraw money from his many business holdings at any time.

The lawsuit is being presented due to "wide-ranging business entanglements [that] violate the Constitution's Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses". Kuwait held its national day celebration at the hotel, and Saudi Arabia has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars there, the suit claims.

"The State of Maryland has suffered financial harm because it has a sovereign interest in the receipt of tax revenues from facilities ... that are in competition with businesses owned by [Trump] and/or his affiliated enterprises outside of the state", the lawsuit says. "By contrast, University of Iowa Law Professor Andy Grewal marshalled historical evidence (mainly from the 19th century) showing that the traditional understanding of "emoluments" was limited to salary and other financial benefits attached to the holding of an office, and did not cover outside private business interests".

Attorney General Frosh told The Washington Post that the case "at its core" is about citizens having the right to know about their President's business dealings and possible breaches of the constitution.

If the case moves forward, Racine and Frosh will demand Trump release his tax returns, which he has controversially refused to do so far.

Trump said in January that he was shifting his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

Indeed, as Prof. Kontorovich notes, President George Washington even asked a British official to help find renters for his land: "On Dec. 12, 1793, Washington wrote to Arthur Young, an officer of the U.K. Board of Agriculture ..." For example, the President continues to own luxury hotel and resort properties - including a new one just down the street from the White House - catering to foreign and state government business. The president called an earlier, similar lawsuit about the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution an issue "without merit, totally without merit".

"It's not hard to conclude that partisan politics might be one of the motivations behind the scenes", Spicer claimed.

However, the two attorney generals argue there are "unprecedented constitutional violations" by Trump and that both Washington D.C. and Maryland are being adversely affected by the Trump International Hotel near the White House.