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Dem calls for House inquiry into foreign payments to Trump hotel

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The state of Maryland and the Distrıct of Columbia have sued U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, alleging he has violated the constitution's anti-corruption clauses, APA reports quoting Anadolu Agency.

This morning, June 12, the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland announced that they filed what they call a "major lawsuit" against President Donald Trump.

The announced lawsuit adds to Trump's woes as he grapples with congressional and a special prosecutor's probes into his campaign's alleged ties with Russian Federation, which United States intelligence agencies say meddled aggressively in the 2016 election to held Trump win. It claims Trump violated two anti-corruption rules in the Constitution that prohibit the president from pulling in profits from businesses he owns, controls or prospers from. It comes amid investigations by special counsel Robert Mueller III of conspiracy between Trump associates and the Russian government during the presidential campaign past year. Trump said in January that he was shifting his business assets into a trust managed by his sons to eliminate potential conflicts of interests.

The Emoluments Clause is not a piece of law that has been the subject of debate or clarification by the courts, largely because it has rarely been an issue.

Although both Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Mr. Racine are Democrats, they said the lawsuit was not a partisan action.

The suit detailed the popularity of the opulent Trump International Hotel with foreign officials since his January 20 inauguration, alleging the hotel "has specifically marketed itself to the diplomatic community".

Monday's lawsuit, the first by a government body against Trump over the emoluments provision, comes on the heels of other lawsuits, challenging Trump's decision to financially benefit from his enterprises while serving in the White House.

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Deepak Gupta, a lawyer for one of the plaintiffs, told the Associated Press on Friday that the suit has proper standing because it includes plaintiffs who compete with the president's hotels and restaurants for business from foreign governments.

"Like the unfairly maligned press corps and the courts, state attorney generals are serving as a necessary check and balance in the Trump era where others fail", he said.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But the two Democratic attorneys general say their lawsuit is unique, because they are suing as sovereign entities on behalf of residents of Maryland and Washington, D.C. They say the Trump Hotel in the nation's capital affects business in the Washington area.

While Frosh and Racine note several instances of foreign diplomats staying at the Trump hotel - and that the Kuwaiti Embassy appears to have moved an event to the hotel from another Washington venue - it does not cite an example of a guest pulling out of a Maryland hotel to stay at the Trump property. "But he takes a step over here and puts on his businessman hat, they can funnel as much money to him as they want".

The Justice Department filed papers on Friday asking a judge to dismiss the NY suit, arguing that the challengers lack standing to sue, and that the emoluments clauses don't apply to the types of private commercial transactions at issue.

The lawsuit is the latest and most significant legal challenge to Trump over the issue of emoluments and thought to become another legal headache for Trump following special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into possible Russian meddling in the US presidential campaign and court challenges to the president's controversial travel ban.

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