The attorneys general for the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland have banded together to move forward with an effort to sue U.S. President Donald Trump, claiming that he has violated anti-corruption clauses in the Consititution by accepting millions of dollars from foreign governments during his presidential term thus far. Specifically, there is the foreign emolument clause, which forbids anyone in an elected office from receiving any form of profit from a foreign government. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted to sue Trump over this clause, as a D.C. restaurant in March sued over the Trump International Hotel receiving unfair profits over its association with the President.
The case also cites the fact that Trump has not fully given up his business assets despite assuming the role of President, which they say is confirmed by Eric Trump admitting that he still updates his father regularly on the financials of his companies. According to the lawsuit, the Trump business empire makes the president “deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors”, thus weakening the strength usually expected of a U.S. president dealing with foreign dignitaries. “Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription,” the lawsuit claims. Furthermore, the District of Columbia attorney general says that they are filing this lawsuit because, “We’re getting in here to be the check and balance that it appears Congress is unwilling to be.”
The attorneys general say that, if the case is allowed to proceed, their initial plan is to demand copies of Trump’s personal tax returns during the discovery process, hopefully unearthing more details on how much business Trump has done with foreign countries. Of course, they expect that this may cause the case to be pushed up to the Supreme Court, as Trump’s camp has repeatedly refused to make his full cache of tax returns public.