News World Donald Trump to be sued for alleged corruption

Donald Trump to be sued for alleged corruption

DC and Maryland attorneys general to sue Donald Trump
The case argues residents of D.C. and Maryland were adversely affected by the 2016 opening of the Trump International Hotel. Photo: Getty
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Donald Trump faces a whole new battle, with news that law makers from two US states are about to sue the President.

The Washington Post reports that the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland say they will sue the President on Monday (US time), alleging he has violated anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution.

The lawsuit will allege that by retaining ownership of his company when he became President, he had continued to benefit to the tune of millions of dollars from foreign governments.

The case is founded on elements of the Constitution known as the “emoluments” clauses, which prohibit any US officials from accepting gifts or deriving benefit from foreign governments.

The potentially explosive case could compel Mr Trump to release copies of his personal tax returns to assess the extent of his foreign business dealings – assuming a federal judge allows the case to proceed.

Mr Trump said in January that he would move his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to avoid any potential conflicts of interests.

But the Post reports that D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) allege that Mr Trump has failed to keep his promise to separate his public duties from private business interests.

The attorneys general claimed that the residents of the District of Columbia and Maryland had, for example, been adversely affected by the 2016 opening of the Trump International Hotel near the White House.

“The hotel has tilted the playing field in the city’s travel and entertainment industry in favour of a venue leased by a Trump company,” the Post report read.

The Embassy of Kuwait held an event at the hotel after initially booking at competitor hotel, Four Seasons, while Saudi Arabia – the destination of Mr Trump’s first overseas trip – has booked rooms at the hotel on more than one occasion since Mr Trump’s inauguration, the article noted.

“The hotel may be drawing business away from both the taxpayer-owned D.C. convention centre and one in nearby Maryland subsidised by taxpayers,” the lawmen told the paper.

The lawsuit represents a battle on entirely new and different front for Mr Trump, who is currently dealing with two separate investigations into the possible collusion between Russian government and his associates during the 2016 presidential campaign.

“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government,” Mr Frosh told the Post.

“The emoluments clauses command that … the President put the country first and not his own personal interest first.”

Mr Racine told the paper he had decided to act against Mr Trump because the Republican-controlled Congress “has not taken the President’s apparent conflicts seriously”.

“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” he said.

“We’re bringing suit because the President has not taken adequate steps to separate himself from his business interests.”

The lawsuit is the second emoluments case brought against the President, with the first filed in January by a Washington-based watchdog body, the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

A group of Democrats in Congress have been saying for some time that they will file a suit against the President for failing to either sell the real-estate interests that provide the potential for conflict, or place them in a blind trust.

But a former legal adviser in the Obama administration told the Post that that latest push had a better chance of succeeding.

Norman Eisen, the White House’s ethics lawyer under former president Barack Obama, said jurisdictions such as D.C. and Maryland would make the “most perfect plaintiffs” to sue over emoluments because they have a coequal say in making sure the Constitution is being enforced.

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