President Trump is violating the Constitution according to a new lawsuit being filed by a team of lawyers. The lawsuit, filed in New York Federal Court, was announced this morning by a watchdog group made up of constitutional scholars, Supreme Court litigators and former White House ethics lawyers. They allege that President Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his hotels and other business interests accept payments from foreign governments.
At issue is a provision in the Constitution known as the 'Emoluments Clause' which does not allow Presidents to accept any form of compensation from foreign powers. The clause was inserted by the Founders over concerns that officials could be corrupted by gifts or payments.
The Emoluments Clause of Article I, Section 9 prohibits any “Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]” from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The lawsuit does not ask for damages, but instead will ask the New York Court to order the President to stop taking payments from any foreign government entities. Some of the businesses would include Trump's hotels and golf courses, loans and leases with tenants who have been renting space from the President over the years.
Erwin Chemerinsky, one of the plaintiffs in the case, spoke with Handel this morning about why the watchdog group filed the lawsuit.