In an unprecedented move, nearly two hundred members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate will file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump.
NPR reports that lawsuit will be filed today, Wednesday, June 14.
The lawsuit claims Trump remains in clear violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which states that a president may not receive payments or gifts from foreign governments. Trump is in violation because he remains deeply invested in his substantial real estate empire – a business which continues to thrive from business tied to foreign governments.
Politico reports the news was confirmed by senior House Judiciary member Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who said, “We’ll be suing to stop his violations of the emoluments clause.”
Politico goes on:
The legal case is just the latest volley in an ongoing war between the White House and lawmakers — mostly Democrats — over potential conflicts of interests related to the Trump corporation’s overseas business deals and foreign governments looking to curry favor with the administration.
While similar to an existing lawsuit that was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – a case that continues to add more and more plaintiffs (including a number of hotel and restaurant owners who claim to be losing business because foreign leaders chose to have a Trump venue host their event) – Nadler thinks this particular lawsuit has teeth that the other suit does not.
“Members of Congress we say have standing because the emoluments clause says without the permission of Congress, you can’t accept any gift, etc., etc., from a foreign state. We are injured by being denied our right to vote on this, that’s our standing.”
Nadler goes on:
“There is almost no litigation on this since the Constitution was established…because no one has ever violated this the way we think Trump has. This president has huge business interests and hasn’t divested himself. And the result is if you go to a Trump hotel, you’re putting money into Trump’s personal pocket. And there’s nothing wrong with that, except if you’re a foreign government.”
Trump has “repeatedly and flagrantly violated” the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters on a conference call.
The clause says that “without the Consent of the Congress,” the president can’t accept benefits “of any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Blumenthal said Trump “has never sought the consent of Congress” for the profits from deals in the more than 20 countries where he has business operations.
Just one example he offered: Trump has sought — and obtained — valuable trademarks from China’s government, but did not clear those transactions with Congress.
Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it took “a lot of research” involving legal experts to determine who would have legal standing to successfully sue the president. “We have standing that no one else has” because the Constitution makes it clear “the consent of Congress is absolutely essential,” he said.