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DC & Maryland Sue President Trump

by Countable | 6.12.17

The Attorneys General for D.C. and Maryland, Karl A. Racine (D-D.C.) and Brian E. Frosh (D-MD), are suing President Trump over alleged violations of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

There are already a handful of related suits in the legal pipeline waiting on decisions about whether or not the plaintiffs have legal standing to sue the president. This newest suit will be the first time any state, much less two, has ever sued a president individually, but D.C. and Maryland may have the strongest standing for cause.

The Washington Post, who received copies of the court documents Sunday night, report that the suit alleges:

"Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President ... disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers. Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription."

One of the significant aspects of the case, if the federal district court allows it to proceed, would be the likely request in discovery of the president’s tax returns. The two litigants expect that the case could, if it proceeds, go as far as the Supreme Court, with the president’s attorneys having to argue why the president shouldn’t have to release his returns to the court.

D.C. and Maryland, being the frequent recipients of foreign dignitaries and delegations traveling to see the president, are particularly affected by the existence of Trump properties in the D.C. area. The suit alleges that planned events at other D.C. hotels have already been rescheduled to Trump properties or have circumvented other D.C. venues entirely, opting instead to grease the wheels of diplomacy by choosing Trump hotels and then thanking the president publicly afterwards. The president himself has reportedly appeared at the Trump hotel and greeted guests repeatedly since the inauguration.

The Post outlines the suits justifications to pursue the case under both foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. The overarching issue, however, is the integrity of the U.S. political system. The states argue that strict adherence to the emoluments clause:

"ensure that Americans do not have to guess whether a President who orders their sons and daughters to die in foreign lands acts out of concern for his private business interests; they do not have to wonder if they lost their job due to trade negotiations in which the President has a personal stake; and they never have to question whether the President can sit across the bargaining table from foreign leaders and faithfully represent the world’s most powerful democracy, unencumbered by fear of harming his own companies.”

The suit seeks to force the president to stop violating the Constitution, but leaves the means for that halt to be decided by the court.

Should this suit by D.C. and Maryland of the president proceed? Use the Take Action button to tell your reps what you think!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr / Creative Commons )

Countable

Written by Countable

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(608)
  • Kim
    06/12/2017
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    Yes! He should be held to the standards and laws of the constitution and those preceding him.

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  • Norjon
    06/12/2017
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    I cannot believe it is taking this long for someone to do something about President Trump's involvement with foreign governments and entities regarding financial dealings that benefit him privately! Time to stop this violation of our constitution. Please representatives, step up and stop this!

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  • Yolanda
    06/12/2017
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    Get his tax returns!! We support you all the way!!

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  • Edward
    06/12/2017
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    This suit is basic to our republic and the trust that we the people have in our elected representatives. All government officials should have to follow the law. No one is above it.

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  • Mary
    06/12/2017
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    All presidential candidates should be required to disclose their current financial situations, including tax returns for a period of several years. And clearly US law should prevent sitting presidents, and their companies from receiving payments from foreign countries. This situation stinks. Do something to prevent this situation from ever happening again.

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  • Richard
    06/12/2017
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    He should follow the standards of the Constitution. How do we know if he makes decisions for the American people or for his own financial interests? This law was meant to protect the American people. He should not be above the law.

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  • Kellie
    06/12/2017
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    Just like the current proceedings regarding Obstruction of Justice, ignorance of the law does not mean you are exempt from following it. I fully support proceedings to force the president to divest himself of foreign business interests or alternatively step down.

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  • Pamela
    06/12/2017
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    I am in support of this course of action. If there is nothing to be found, so be it; however, I as a citizen am held to standards, rightfully so the President. THANK YOU FOR HOLDING HIM ACCOUNTABLE!

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  • Karen
    06/12/2017
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    Donald Trump and his business enterprises have been directly benefiting from him being in the office of the president of the United States. This is in direct violation of the emoluments clause. It's time for us to take action and ensure that our Constitution is a upheld.

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  • Donald
    06/12/2017
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    Hurray

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  • Cindy
    06/12/2017
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    Yes this suit should proceed. It's should have happened week one! He needs to be impeached and his entire administration thrown out of D.C. Including pence.

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  • Carolyn
    06/12/2017
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    We have had bad presidents, good presidents, and great presidents. But this is the first president we have ever had, in the entire history of our country, who has proven himself to be incompetent, ignorant, insulting to our nation, and even treasonous. Whether you are Democrat or Republican you know this man should be impeached. What has happened in our country is equivalent to appointing a janitor as your neurosurgeon. Whether you are Republican or Democrat you know that Pence is a far better choice than Trump. We are endangering our nation having this megalomaniac leading it. These states that are suing are doing the right thing. But they shouldn't have to. Our Congress should stand up, remove this man, and let Pence finish the term. Although you may not agree with Pence's politics you can't say he is unqualified or deranged, two words that aptly describe Trump.

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  • Suzy
    06/12/2017
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    YES YES AND MORE YES.

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  • PaulaCares
    06/12/2017
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    Of all the things our president is accused of this is the one that is bothering me the most. He does not seem to put the American people ahead of his own ability to profit. Every single thing he has introduced helps him in business either directly or indirectly. In my opinion this is the biggest provable abuse of power and it is clear he will choose himself, friends, and family over what is good for the majority of the population he represents. It is a violation of the constitution and should be taken seriously.

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  • Gerardo
    06/12/2017
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    I hope this is the beginning of the end for trump. If Russia interfered they attacked our democracy. All involved need to be held accountable.

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  • Joan
    06/12/2017
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    I believe that this suit must proceed unencumbered by any political agenda by Republicans to downplay the unconstitutional behavior of the current administration. Trump's outrageous behavior has continued unchecked by either of the other two branches of government! Enough is enough!

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  • Ticktock
    06/12/2017
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    The integrity of the US political system has already been breached we're now trying to recover that lost integrity. Compare how Trump treated the Saudi's and Philippine's to the way he is treating our British and European allies. Both Saudi Arabia and the Philippine's have large Trump investments located in them, the Saudi's spent over $300,000 recently at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C. and the recent arms deal. Just how does one determine when a person is being bought? Also the offer to sell visas to the wealthy Chinese by Trump's son and daughter-in-law. I have not mentioned the illegal advertising from the Trump Administration for Trump family products from the White House. Trump chose to enter the political arena he should follow the Foreign Emoluments Clause. If Trump is such a terrific business man he should have read the rules before he decided to play. This ain't Monopoly. If he fails he to divest himself of control of his business interest beyond his immediate family he should be impeached and if laws were broken for which he can be charged he should pay the penalty.

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  • Jennie
    06/12/2017
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    I agree whole heartedly with this suit and it should definitely move forward

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  • Rick
    06/12/2017
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    Yes. It is about time that we the people do something to stop this existential threat to our democracy. Trump must adhere to the constitution at the very least. He is in clear violation of the law this time, no longer in the gray area where he usually likes to land. Get his tax returns and follow the money.

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  • Ginny
    06/12/2017
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    The Supreme Court role will make history. They need to stand on the just side of history as trump is clearly in violation of the emoluments clause. And I would hope that after this "new low " experience with trump that congress adds some ethical controls for the future. Even Bush's ethics lawyer says trump has violated the constitution.

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