Prosecution that accuses Trump of unduly benefiting from his hotel in Washington

Maryland and the US capital argue that the president violates the Constitution’s prohibition of receiving emoluments from foreign countries

A federal judge accepted on Wednesday the lawsuit of Maryland and the city of Washington that accuses President Donald Trump of violating the constitutional prohibition of receiving gifts from foreign countries. The judge’s decision to allow the litigation to continue is a setback for Trump’s team, which aspired to bury him quickly.

The case revolves around the Trump International Hotel in the US capital owned by the president and opened shortly before the 2016 elections. The hotel, very close to the White House, has become a new epicenter of power in the city.

The State of Maryland and the city of Washington accuse Trump of violating the constitutional clause on emoluments that prevents the president and federal officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments and other US states.

The lawsuit alleges that, as a result of the start of the Republican presidency in January 2017, the Trump Hotel in Washington has attracted a greater number of foreign clients. For example, it has held several embassy events. This has negatively affected the companies located in the vicinity of the establishment, which claim to suffer unfair competition.

The Maryland federal judge handling the case said he understands the background of the lawsuit. “His accusation is backed by explicit statements by representatives of certain foreign governments who have clearly indicated that they chose to stay at the president’s hotel because, as one government representative said, they want him to know: ‘I love your new hotel'”, noted magistrate Peter J. Messitte.

The judge, however, rejected the plaintiffs’ claim to include other Trump properties outside of Washington. The case will be limited only to the hotel in the US capital, which Trump regularly visits for dinner on weekends. The essence of the demand also revolves around the ties that, despite his entry into the White House, the president maintains his business.

Upon assuming the presidency, Trump yielded to his two sons the management of his business conglomerate but he kept the ownership of the companies and can obtain money from his business whenever he wants.

The clauses of the Constitution that are the object of debate are intended to avoid cases of corruption and foreign influence. They prohibit high government officials from receiving gifts from foreign countries without express authorization from Congress. And they also veto the president to receive emoluments from countries.

The suit claims that, by avoiding completely divesting its businesses, Trump may be the object of desire of countries that want to influence their presidential decisions through their companies.

The case is unusual because there has never been a US president so rich or Trump’s business web. Representing the attorney representing the Justice Department, they did not reveal whether they will appeal the decision but reiterated their opinion that the case “should be dismissed”.If successful, the litigation could lead to the Trump Hotel in Washington had to disseminate documentation on the activities of customers of foreign countries and the American States.

A New York judge last year rejected a similar demand from a social organization arguing that it is Congress, as a legislative power, and not the judiciary that must first decide on the emoluments clause in the Constitution.

 

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