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President Trump Sued Over Foreign Government Payments To His Firms

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President Trump Sued Over Foreign Government Payments To His Firms

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Trump, Ethics, Terrorism

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A group of prominent constitutional and ethics lawyers sued President Donald Trump on Monday, accusing him of violating the U.S. Constitution by letting his hotels and other businesses accept payments from foreign governments.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington contended that Trump is “submerged in conflicts of interest” because of ties with countries such as China, India, and potentially Russia.

It seeks to stop Trump from accepting any improper payments, citing a constitutional provision known as the “emoluments” clause that bans them.

A spokeswoman for Morgan Lewis & Bockius, a law firm representing the president on ethics matters, said: “We do not comment on our clients or the work we do for them.”

The lawsuit is part of a wave of litigation expected from liberal advocacy groups against Trump, a Republican who took office on Friday.

On Jan. 11, Trump said he would retain ownership of his global business empire while president, but hand off day-to-day control to his oldest sons, Eric and Donald Jr..

Sheri Dillon, a partner at Morgan Lewis and a Trump adviser, at the time said profit generated at Trump’s hotels from foreign governments would be donated to the U.S. Treasury.

But the plaintiff said Trump’s refusal to cede ownership or set up a blind trust has resulted in conflicts of interest that leave him “poised” to violate the Constitution repeatedly while in the White House.

The emoluments clause forbids Trump and other U.S. officeholders from accepting various gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval.

According to the complaint, that means payments by foreign governments for such things as leases at Trump Tower in New York, stays at Trump’s hotels, rounds at Trump’s golf courses, and the rights to rebroadcast or create their own versions of Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice” are illegal.

The lawsuit said the Constitution’s framers intended to ban such payments, believing that “private financial interests can subtly sway even the most virtuous leaders, and entanglements between American officials and foreign powers could pose a creeping, insidious threat to the Republic.”

China, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom are among the countries with which Trump’s companies do or plan to do business, and Trump had been trying to do business with Russia for at least three decades, the complaint said.

The lawsuit also alleged that payments next month from a Washington hotel booking by the Embassy of Kuwait for its “National Day” celebration “will go directly to defendant while he is president.”

To justify its standing to sue, the plaintiff said it has been “significantly injured” by having to divert resources to the lawsuit, and field hundreds of media questions about Trump’s businesses.

Among the lawyers who worked on the complaint were constitutional scholars Laurence Tribe, from Harvard University, and Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California at Irvine’s law school.

Others include Richard Painter, who was a White House ethics lawyer under former Republican President George W. Bush.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Frances Kerry and Jonathan Oatis)

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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17 Comments

  1. A. D. Reed January 23, 2017

    Bravo to these folks. Let the litigation begin, and not end until long after Drumpf has been thrown out of office — and Pence with him.

    Reply
  2. bobnstuff January 23, 2017

    Everyone knows rules are for looser and Trump won so they don’t apply to him. The constitution is only guidelines for the Great and Powerful Trump.

    Reply
  3. Sundance98 January 23, 2017

    This boy is in more trouble than you can shake a stick at. Once they start uncovering his corruption as the highest levels…it will be HUGE! Meanwhile, his 2nd Press Briefing today shows he will try to use Halley’s Comet strategy to keep people eyes off his problems and wrong doing. If he his lips are moving….you know he is lying. Screwing up our trade deal with our US Auto Makers and Europe is NOT TOO SMART to begin with. Sean Spicer Goebbels and Kelly Ann Eva Braun…….will be running block and tackle excercises….with the American people and the press. Where was CNN”s Jim Acosta?

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 23, 2017

      Roger that! And yes folks, don’t look up for any comet, no matter what Donald says.

      Reply
      1. Sundance98 January 23, 2017

        *And don’t let him tell you what in on the dark side of the moon…either Aaron! Put another Lobster on the BarBee mate!

        Reply
  4. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 23, 2017

    The fox was allowed to waltz right into the chicken house by the conservative hens and roosters, unaware by reason of insanity and dulled senses, that the fox is secretly paving the way for their demise while smiling that patented goofy smile of his. (Paul has a similar goofy smile, and together they remind me of a sinister version of “Laurel and Hardy”).

    Reply
    1. Sundance98 January 23, 2017

      You really need to listen to “A Country Boy can survive!” by Hank Williams Jr. His reference to business men from NY is amazingly accurate.

      Reply
      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 24, 2017

        I’ll check that out. I’ll listen to the youtube version tonight. Thanks!

        Reply
  5. Dan S January 23, 2017

    The Bull is loose in the China shop. Will there be anything left to salvage after Trump destroys everything we treasure ? I feel like we’re stuck in some dystopian nightmare waiting to wake up from it. Not that I had great expectations of Trump but OMG he’s even worse than I ever could imagine. Stop this crazy train and dump this entire administration while we still have a country

    Reply
    1. Sundance98 January 23, 2017

      Hey, we are just so thrilled that the Women have stepped up to the plate. Pretty darn impressive..ya think? 5 Million girls, ladies and women. They all had to pay their own way to get to those protests, not like Trump who paid Non-Union Wages to folks just to show up at his rallys. True, he is going to do as much damage as possible, in the least possible amount of time. We can start by boycotting sponsors of the most egregious Media outlets and letting them know why. Every time Fox News runs a Big Pharma Ad…we simply call the company and say we are telling everyone NOT to buy their product. This is old time hockey that has worked since Henry Ford had his first Union Strike. No one bought Fords for two years and Henry had to capitulate. The same with the Railroad Magnets …..these people understand one thing clearly NO MORE CASH!

      Reply
    2. tonikuehl January 24, 2017

      Your can send your kid a pbj sandwich to school, and they won’t have to throw it away.

      Reply
  6. johninPCFL January 23, 2017

    Agent Orange has never cared a whit about this country or the Constitution, starting with his bunions keeping him out of the draft, working with his father to keep jews and blacks out of his buildings, etc.

    Nothing in 70 years of life has changed these attitudes, and having Putin give him the presidency certainly hasn’t.

    Reply
    1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 23, 2017

      Agent Orange’s bunions came at a very fortuitous time in his earlier days.

      Reply
      1. Sundance98 January 23, 2017

        *He didn’t need bunions dear friend….he just had his daddy call the Draft Board …….and threaten them.

        Reply
        1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth January 24, 2017

          Yes, certain unscrupulous fathers have been known to do that. But the bunions scenario is more colorful and is tailor-made as the ideal excuse for Donald.

          Reply
  7. tonikuehl January 24, 2017

    Did any of those foreign governments buy Obama’s books?

    Reply
  8. tonikuehl January 24, 2017

    The liberals can do as much as they want. He will work for America regardless.

    Reply

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