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Maryland, DC attorneys general sue Trump over business ties

26 Juin 2017

The attorneys general allege that Trump has violated the Constitution through leases of Trump properties held by foreign governments as well as foreign governments buying condominiums and hotel rooms in properties owned by the Trump organization, including the Trump hotel in Downtown Washington.

The lawsuit was announced at a news conference by Washington Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. It was later reported that Trump would receive updates about his businesses regularly, including financial information. Trump was supposed to shift business assets into his sons' trust to eliminate the prospects of his son having conflicts of interests.

"The president is bound by oath to "faithfully execute" his office and 'preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States", the lawsuit says, and the president must "disentangle his private finances" from domestic or foreign powers to honor that oath.

"President Trump has violated important anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution". Therefore, the lawsuit seeks the directive to stop Trump from defying the Constitution but the final decision on what should be done lies with the court. It claims Trump violated two anti-corruption rules in the Constitution that prohibit the president from pulling in profits from businesses he owns, controls or prospers from.

The lawsuit says foreign countries could try to curry favor with the Trump administration by staying at his extensive holdings.

The attorneys general accuse Mr. Trump of breaking many promises to keep his presidential responsibilities separate from his business interests, the report said.

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In 2009, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, "But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it". The measure encountered immediate trouble as four GOP senators said they opposed it but were open to negotiations.

Lindsay Jancek said Monday that Trump has been committed to "complete transparency and compliance with the law".

The Justice Department said on Friday that those plaintiffs did not suffer in any way and had no standing to sue, and that it is unconstitutional to sue the president in his official capacity. Trump's refusal to release his tax returns, which would reveal more about his enterprises, could become part of the case. A Trump official said the company would donate profits from the Saudi payments to the U.S. Treasury. Trump is usually seen at the hotel interacting with the guests. He also appears frequently at Trump establishments, "using his role as president to raise their public profile", Frosh said, adding that Trump continues to take money from foreign governments while in office.

Newly filed lobbying disclosures show the Saudi government recently spent about $270,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington as part of a larger lobbying campaign to ease a USA terrorism law.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted that response at a White House press briefing Monday.

"We are a nation of laws and no one - including the President of the United States - is above the law", said Attorney General Racine.

During the press conference, Racine and Frosh denied that the case was partisan or political motivated and invited Republican attorneys general to join their lawsuit.