U.S. President Donald Trump is set to face a legal battle with lawmakers from two states for allegedly violating anti-corruption clauses of the Constitution.
The state of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia (DC) Attorney General Karl Racine, announced on Sunday night that they would sue Trump, alleging that foreign payments to his businesses clearly violated the U.S. Constitution.
According to reports, the case will focus on the fact that Donald Trump retained ownership of his businesses despite holding the highest position in the government. The two Democratic attorneys will be the first government entities to file a major legal action against the president.
It can be recalled that Trump has faced a similar lawsuit in January by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a DC-based watchdog group. At that time, Trump declared that he had formally given “complete and total” control to his sons, claiming that he “isolated” himself from his businesses.
However, Racine and Frosh claimed that Trump did not fully separate from his ventures. The lawmakers pointed out that the president has failed to keep his promises of separating his public duties as a government official and private business interests. For instance, his son Eric Trump previously said that the president would continue to receive regular updates about his companies, including its financial status.
The Washington Post cited part of the lawsuit, clarifying that the president must “disentangle” his businesses from his position in the government at all cost.
“Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President… disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers. Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription.”
Meanwhile, Racine and Frosh revealed that once the lawsuit proceeds, they will demand to meticulously examine copies of Donald Trump’s tax returns. The process will reportedly determine the extent of the president’s foreign business dealings.
“We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be,” Racine said. “We’re bringing suit because the president has not taken adequate steps to separate himself from his business interests.”
On the other hand, Frosh reiterated that U.S. officials are prohibited from “taking gifts or other benefits from foreign governments.”
“This case is, at its core, about the right of Marylanders, residents of the District of Columbia and all Americans to have honest government. The emoluments clauses command that… the president put the country first and not his own personal interest first.”
Reports also revealed that both the District and Maryland will elaborate on how their livelihood was affected by the president’s businesses, particularly the Trump International Hotel.
There were claims that the Trump-owned hotel has affected the city’s travel and entertainment industry, especially since major events of foreign governments ended up booking the fancy venue. Frosh and Racine claimed that this might draw businesses away from other establishments such as the taxpayer-owned DC convention center and one near Maryland.
In fact, when the Embassy of Kuwait held an event in the city, Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah moved the venue to the Trump Hotel despite initially booking at the Four Seasons. However, the official insisted that no one pressed him to change the location of the event. In an interview, he even pointed out that he does not know the president or any of his people.
“I do not know President-elect Trump. do not know any of his people. None of his people have contacted me. I thought would be exciting for our guests to see a new venue. It looks great. It looks cool. So let’s do it.”
In April, the Ambassador of Georgia also stayed at Trump Hotel and even complimented the place on social media. There were also claims that Donald Trump himself has visited the hotel and greeted the guests personally multiple times since becoming the president.
The anti-corruption charges against President Donald Trump will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]