Attorneys general to sue over foreign payments to Trump hotels, sources say

"We're concerned that foreign governments are coming to the Trump businesses for the single objective of couriering special favor from the president of the united states so that their interests can get a higher priority than the interests of the American people", said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine.

Trump's ownership in hundreds of businesses not only financially hurts Maryland and D.C. but also violates "emoluments" clauses in the Constitution that bar the president from accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval as well as from domestic governments under any circumstances, according to the attorneys' general complaint.

Just days after Trump's inauguration in January, the government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington also filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of NY.

According to a copy of the suit obtained by The Washington Post, the president is accused of "unprecedented constitutional violations" due to his ownership of a "global business empire".

Racine says the president has spoken about drawing a line between the presidency and his many businesses and properties but that he "has walked his promise back". She says the lawsuit represents "the kind of partisan grandstanding voters across the country have come to despise".

The Justice Department on Friday said that those plaintiffs lack the legal standing to sue because they can not properly explain or allege the particular harm caused by the Trump's businesses.

Trump's lawyers and the Department of Justice maintain that market-rate payments for goods and services at Trump's hotels, golf courses and the other businesses he owns are not "emoluments" as defined by the Constitution.

Racine said he and Frosh chose to act because the Republican-controlled Congress has "wholly failed to fulfill its responsibility of serving as a check and balance on the president".

White House officials did not respond to requests for comment. Trump's tax returns were the subject of much focus during his presidential election campaign.

Jancek also told The New York Times that Democrats should: "end their efforts to delegitimize his (Trump's) presidency". His son Eric has said the president will continue to get updates on profits.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said at his daily press briefing that Trump's "interests as previously discussed do not violate the emoluments clause".

"He doesn't seem to understand or care about these violations of the Constitution", Maryland Attorney General Frosh stated in turn.

The Trump Hotel in the nation's capital affects business in the Washington area and is part of the reason the lawsuit was filed, the two Democratic officials said. Instead, he moved his business interests into a trust managed by his sons.

Racine said he hopes the lawsuit will prompt Republicans in Congress and Trump to take steps that the suit is asking the court to take.

Shortly after taking office, Trump promised that all profits derived from foreign governments would be donated to the Treasury. According to the publication, the prosecutors were concerned about the operation of the Trump International Hotel which opened a year ago near the White House.

"We do not sue the president of the United States casually", Frosh said.

The plaintiffs believe that foreign investment in business trump contrary to the Constitution of the country.

The attorneys general argued they had standing to sue Trump because their citizens will be harmed if payments to Trump are used to influence his allocation of federal funds.

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