Almost 200 Democratic members of Congress have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, alleging that he violated the Constitution by not dispelling his ties to the Trump Organization and failing to request permission from Congress to accept foreign gifts and benefits.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is filing the suit in federal district court and is joined by 196 other congressional members as plaintiffs.
Only a few days after it was reported that the attorneys general of D.C. and Maryland were preparing to sue Trump, nearly 200 congressional Democrats have filed a suit of their own. President Trump's ongoing failure to obtain the consent of Congress before accepting payments, benefits, or gifts from foreign states violates one of the Constitution's critical anti-corruption provisions: the Foreign Emoluments Clause. They are accusing him of violating the United States Constitution, specifically the Emoluments Clause which prohibits US officials from accepting payments and other gifts from foreign powers.
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh made the announcement at a jointly held news conference in Washington, confirming the suit has been filed in federal court in Maryland.
Among the allegations is that Trump is profiting from foreign diplomats who stay in his hotels.
Democratic Rep. John Conyers of MI accused Trump of using the office of the presidency to enrich himself.
At least one other lawsuit questioning the president's business dealings and whether they violate constitutional protections has been filed as well.
"If he stonewalls us. we can not consent even if we want to do so", Blumenthal said.
"Courts are more and more receptive to the idea that a large group of federal lawmakers can sue over being deprived of their constitutionally conferred powers", Grove said.
The new suit the third of its kind says the full scope of foreign payments to the Trump Organization can not be known because the president has not made public his tax returns.
Trump has the right to take cash payments from the trust anytime he wants. But the Democrats say Trump didn't get approval from Congress to receive the money, which could violate the Constitution.
In New York, Trump Tower leases space to the Chinese government-controlled bank ICBC and Trump World Tower and other properties also focus on foreign clients, including Russians, it said.
The Trump International Hotel Washington D.C. has hosted a party for the Kuwaiti Embassy. "The president's conflicts of interest threaten our democracy". Trump also has a continued stake in the NBC television show "The Apprentice", which has foreign spinoffs that must pay a licensing fee, a portion of which goes to the president.
Yet, the Justice Department on Friday said those plaintiffs did not suffer in any way and there were no grounds for the suit. "He has not sold his ownership interests in the Trump Organization, he has not established a blind trust, he continues to be enriched by the proceeds to that organization". However, a non-governmental organisation, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew), lodged a similar legal action at the turn of the year.