Watchdog Group To Sue Trump Over Business With Foreign Governments

January 23, 2017 8:38 am

The liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) will on Monday morning file a lawsuit against President Trump, accusing him of violating the Constitution by accepting money from foreign governments.

“We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement Sunday evening announcing the lawsuit. “He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action.”

CREW argues that Trump violated the Constitution’s emolument’s clause, which bars presidents from receiving payments from foreign governments, including businesses owned by governments.

The lawsuit was first reported by the New York Times on Sunday. The suit will ask a federal court in New York to demand that Trump stop taking money from foreign governments.

The Trump Organization leases space to state-owned companies and rents space at its hotels to foreign dignitaries, as the Washington Post noted. In the complaint, CREW argues that by renting to state-owned companies, accepting payments from those who attend Trump’s golf courses, and obtaining loans from foreign state-owned banks, Trump has violated the emoluments clause, according to the New York Times.

CREW will be represented by several prominent constitutional scholars, former White House ethics staffers, and Supreme Court litigator Deepak Gupta.

“The framers of the Constitution were students of history,” Gupta told the New York Times. “And they understood that one way a republic could fail is if foreign powers could corrupt our elected leaders.”

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