A collection of legal scholars, ethics lawyers, and money in politics experts are suing President Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
According to a statement from CREW:
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is bringing a federal lawsuit to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution by illegally receiving payments from foreign governments. The lawsuit will be filed in the Southern District of New York when the court opens at 9 AM on Monday.
The foreign emoluments clause of the Constitution prohibits Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, including foreign government-owned businesses, without the approval of Congress.
Since Trump refused to divest from his businesses, he is now getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad. Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, and now that he is President, his company’s acceptance of any benefits from the governments of those countries violates the Constitution. When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman.
The plaintiffs will not be seeking monetary damages. Instead, they are looking for something much more dangerous for Trump. They want access to his tax returns.
CREW will have two hurdles to overcome in this lawsuit. First, they will need to demonstrate that they have legal standing. They will also need to successfully argue that the Emoluments Clause covers payments from a foreign government to a member of the president’s family. President Trump has been very crafty over the years with putting his kids’ names on his business interests.
The Emoluments Clause states, “[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them [i.e., the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
If the CREW legal team, which includes Norman Eisen, Richard Painter, Erwin Chemerinsky, Laurence H. Tribe and Zephyr Teachout, and Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler PLLC is successful, America will finally find out what it is that Donald Trump is hiding.