Within his first week in the Oval Office, Donald Trump has already been hit with a lawsuit.
According to reports, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, otherwise known as CREW, is suing the newly sworn in Head of State for violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments through his business. The suit argues that the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution should block the former reality star from receiving anything from foreign administrations without the approval of Congress.
“We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office,” the ethics group Executive Director said on Sunday. “He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we are forced to take legal action.”
Trump’s organization declined to comment.
About three weeks ago, a lawyer for Trump, refuted the argument that accepting business from foreign government would violate that clause in the Constitution.
“No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an emolument,” the lawyer, Sheri Dillon said.
According to CNN Money, Trump has his hands in at least 564 business and partnerships that have done businesses in at least 25 foreign countries. Despite being advised to let go of those businesses or partnerships, Trump has refused to sell anything he owns. Instead, he said he’s placed them in a trust, which is being supervised by his two sons, while he maintains ownership. Which, experts believe can influence his decisions as president.
Trump’s refusal to sell any holdings that could cause potential conflict of interest, means “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,” CREW states.
“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.”
Update : 1/23/2017 4:01 p.m.
In a letter signed by Donald Trump, dated January 19, 2017, the former reality star says he has resigned from “each and every office and position I hold,” in over 400 business or partnerships listed. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer confirmed the resignation at a briefing Monday afternoon.
“He has resigned from the company as he said he would before he took office,” Spicer said. “Don and Eric are fully in charge of the company.”
However, it is unclear if, as Sherri Dillon stated at a previous press conference, Trump will continue to receive reports on the overall profit of the Trump Organization.
The Organization’s General Counsel Alen Garten told CNN on Monday that Trump, “resigned from all positions of management and authority with The Trump Organization and its affiliates.”
He added, Trump “transferred title, management and authority of those companies to a trust,” to his sons and organization executive Allen Weisselberg. “Company records will be updated with the various states in the ordinatory course as and when required by law,” he said.