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Maryland and District of Columbia Sue Trump Over His Businesses - NYT

In a new legal challenge to President Trump, the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming that the president's failure to shed his businesses has undermined public trust and violated constitutional bans against self-dealing.

The complaint, filed in a Maryland federal court, makes many of the same arguments as a lawsuit filed this year by a Washington watchdog organization in a New York federal court. But some legal experts said the new suit may progress further because the plaintiffs were government entities, which could have stronger standing to sue the president.

It is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump's critics to force him to defend his continued ownership of his business empire. Some congressional Democrats are expected to file a third suit as early as this week arguing that his behavior is also unconstitutional.

The Constitution prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts or emoluments from foreign governments. It also prohibits the president from accepting economic benefits or emoluments from the federal or state governments, other than his salary. But in 230 years, no court has interpreted what exactly constitutes an emolument.

Brian E. Frosh, the Maryland attorney general, said if the lawsuit progressed to the discovery phase, he and Karl Racine, the attorney general for the District of Columbia, would seek to obtain the president's tax returns to gauge the extent of his business dealings.

"It is unprecedented that the American people must question day after day whether decisions are made and actions are taken to benefit the United States or to benefit Donald Trump," he said. "The president's conflicts of interest threaten our democracy."

Complaint file

by Bjinse on Tue Jun 13th, 2017 at 09:11:22 AM EST
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