Dem calls for House inquiry into foreign payments to Trump hotel

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia sued President Trump on Monday, claiming he is violating the Constitution by taking millions of dollars in payments from foreign governments through his real estate empire.

- Sheila Jackson Lee (@JacksonLeeTX18) June 12, 2017The congresswoman's call comes on the same day the Maryland and Washington, D.C., attorneys general filed a lawsuit seeking Trump's financial information and alleging the president violated the clauses by maintaining a financial stake in the D.C. hotel.

The attorneys general said that the President violated the Constitution by failing to sever ties to his business empire and accepting foreign payments while in office.

Ahead of the Monday lawsuit, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a 70-page legal brief on Friday arguing that Trump's businesses are legally permitted to accept market-rate payments from foreign governments while he is in office.

The suit says Trump's global business has made the president "deeply involved with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors" and sabotaged the integrity of USA politics.

"If the Justice Department is correct, the emoluments clause has no meaning whatsoever", said Frosh, the Maryland official. "And the one thing we know about the president is he understands the value of walls".

White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted that response at a White House press briefing.

Newly filed lobbying disclosures show the Saudi government recently spent about $270,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington as part of a larger lobbying campaign to ease a US terrorism law. The two Democrats specifically cite Eric Trump's past statements indicating the president would continue to receive regular updates about the company's financial performance.

The lawsuit focuses on the fact that the president opted to keep ownership of his businesses when he was elected. Since Trump's inauguration [VIDEO], Saudi Arabia has also booked hotel rooms several times.This was the first claim of similar content of state structures against President #Donald Trump, the newspaper concluded.

The attorneys general said they had legal standing to pursue the case on behalf of the residents they represent - much in the way state attorneys general have opted to challenge Trump's travel ban in the courts. According to the publication, the prosecutors were concerned about the operation of the Trump International Hotel which opened past year near the White House.

"This is about whether the president is loyal to the American people and the American people alone", Gupta told the AP. A nonprofit restaurant group and others have joined the suit since.

Trump announced his intention in January to shift his business assets into a trust managed by his sons in an effort to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

"We are a nation of laws, and no one, including the president of the United States, is above the law", Racine said at a press conference.

The lawsuit says foreign countries could try to curry favor with the Trump administration by staying at his extensive holdings.

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.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh also underscored that the framers of the Constitution included the clause for good reason.

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