The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia plan to file a lawsuit on Monday the WaPo reported late on Sunday, alleging that foreign payments to President Donald Trump’s businesses violate the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit is to be announced at noon on Monday.
While Trump already faces a similar lawsuit that was filed in January by plaintiffs including an ethics non-profit group, the case from two Democratic AGs could stand a better chance in court as the first government action over allegations that Trump, violated the constitution’s so-called emoluments clause, Reuters adds.
In recent months, Democrat AGs have taken a lead role in the “resistance” against the president, litigating against Trump’s policies and successfully blocking Trump’s executive order restricting travel from some Muslim-majority countries.
They are also resisting efforts to roll back environmental regulations and insurance subsidies under Obamacare.
In a previous lawsuit 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. According to Reuters, the DOJ 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 constitution.
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 Trump properties. That puts the district in a “unique position” to file legal claims over the emoluments clause, Racine said.
Trump has yet to tweet his response to the latest news.