House, Senate Democrats sue Trump over business dealings

By Melissa Quinn

Nearly 200 Democrats in the House and Senate are suing President Trump, and charge that he violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The lawmakers filed the suit in federal court Wednesday morning. It is the fourth legal action, and the second filed this week, challenging the president’s businesses and its dealings with foreign governments.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., are the lead plaintiffs. Thirty senators and 166 members of the House joined the suit.

The Democrats allege Trump violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from accepting gifts or money from foreign governments.

“As defendant makes countless other foreign policy decisions, he may similarly be influenced by how those decisions will affect his business pursuits,” the suit said. “And because defendant is not coming to Congress and identifying the emoluments he wishes to accept, the American people will have no way of knowing whether his actions as president reflect only his beliefs about what is best for the country, or whether they are partly motivated by personal financial considerations.”

The lawsuit cited numerous business ventures the president’s company has been involved in as potential violations of the emoluments clause. As examples, the Trump Organization has continued to profit from foreign governments, and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., has hosted foreign diplomats and governments.

Additionally, state-owned entities are currently tenants of Trump Tower.

“[Trump’s] conduct deprives the American people of assurances that their highest elected official is pursuing their best interest with undivided loyalty,” the lawsuit stated.

The Democratic lawmakers are represented by the Constitutional Accountability Center, a liberal, legal nonprofit.

The new case was filed just two days after attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia filed their own lawsuit in federal court arguing Trump violates the emoluments clause through his business dealings.

A government watchdog group also sued the president in January over his business dealings.

On Friday, the Justice Department urged the court to dismiss that suit.