D.C. and Maryland file lawsuit accusing Trump of violating emoluments clause

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine speaks Monday during a news conference in the District in which he and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) announced a lawsuit against President Trump. (Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency)

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a federal lawsuit Monday accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s anti-corruption emoluments clause by profiting from payments from foreign government sources. Trump has retained ownership of his real estate empire but transferred day-to-day control to his sons, although he continues to get information on the Trump Organization’s operations and profit reports. “The suit alleges that President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution,” said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who like Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is a Democrat. The lawsuit, the first of its kind filed by government entities, also seeks Trump’s tax returns, which he has declined to release, through the discovery process.Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on matters related to Russia’s alleged meddling in last year’s presidential election. Lawmakers are expected to follow up on last week’s testimony by former FBI Director James Comey, whom President Trump fired last month, by questioning Sessions on his involvement in Comey’s dismissal, despite his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his own contacts with Russian officials. Comey said last week that the FBI had information on Sessions that would have made it “problematic” for him to be involved in the inquiry into Russia’s attempts to interfere with the election, and the possible collusion of Trump associates. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated the administration’s argument that Trump has not violated the emoluments clause, saying the lawsuit appeared to be motivated by “partisan politics.”

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