Trump's family business had said it would donate any profit derived from foreign government sources to the U.S. Treasury but softened that pledge last month when it said it would only estimate the profit its hotels earn from foreign governments. The lawsuit cites Trump's leases, properties and other business "entanglements" around the world as the reason for the suit, saying those posed a conflict of interest under a clause of the Constitution.
The lawmakers argue that congressional approval is required before the president or other government employees accept gifts or payments from foreign states, but that Trump has done so without giving them the opportunity to cast a vote to grant or deny their consent. The complainants argued that the payments to the president's enterprises from foreign and domestic governments through his hospitality empire draw business away from Maryland and DC venues and put local governments under pressure to give Trump-owned businesses special treatment.
The lawsuit will have the greatest number of congressional plaintiffs of any lawsuit against the president in the nation's history, according to Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee's top-ranking Democrat.
Because [President Trump] is not coming to Congress and identifying the emoluments he wishes to accept, the American people will have no way of knowing whether his actions as President reflect only his beliefs about what is best for the country, or whether they are partly motivated by personal financial considerations.
Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee's top-ranking Democrat, said that the lawsuit will have the largest number of congressional plaintiffs of any lawsuit lodged against the president so far in USA history.
The lawsuit comes one day after Maryland and Washington D.C. filed similar suits against Trump.
Andy Grewal, a professor of law at the University of Iowa, was less optimistic about the lawsuit's chances, explaining that legislators can typically only sue when they have suffered individual injury. "Ultimately, under the Constitution, the authority to oversee the Presidency rests with the Congress", stated Director of OGE Walter Shaub.
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Jurors have already discussed the case for more than 50 hours since Monday, leading to Cosby's lawyer to push for a mistrial. The judge's declaration of a mistrial came after he polled each member of the panel pulled from Allegheny County.
"As with all issues, our consideration of the issues raised by this case will focus on whether North Carolinians are being harmed by any wrongful activities", Brewer said in an email Tuesday afternoon.
"At the very least, he has to disclose what those business payments are", he said, citing the president's overseas business interests with Saudi Arabia, China, India, and Russian Federation. "And you can not get away with that in a rule-of-law system".
Blumenthal said Democrats believe Trump "must either sell his vast holdings ... or he must tell us and disclose now" all the benefits he receives from foreign governments.
"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. "How much is Russian money?"
In a response to the initial lawsuit, Justice Department lawyers argued that the framers of the Constitution never meant to prevent a president from owning a business or to ban ordinary, arms-length commercial transactions.
NORTHAM: Laurence Noble with the Campaign Legal Center, a government watchdog group, says today's suit involves government entities taking on a president for violating the Emoluments Clause for the first time.
The congressional lawsuit is just the latest legal challenge over whether the payments Trump accepts from foreign governments should be considered foreign emoluments.
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