Nearly 200 Democrats in the House and Senate are suing the President over claims that his continuation of business activities is in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning, says that Trump’s business ventures like the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which has hosted foreign diplomats and governments, represent a violation of the clause, which states in part, “[N]o Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
“As defendant makes countless other foreign policy decisions, he may similarly be influenced by how those decisions will affect his business pursuits,” the suit reads. “And because defendant is not coming to Congress and identifying the emoluments he wishes to accept, the American people will have no way of knowing whether his actions as president reflect only his beliefs about what is best for the country, or whether they are partly motivated by personal financial considerations. [Trump’s] conduct deprives the American people of assurances that their highest elected official is pursuing their best interest with undivided loyalty.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. John Conyers of Michigan are the lead plaintiffs. Thirty senators and 166 members of the House joined the suit.
The case joins another filed two days ago by attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia.
A piece in the Washington Times was quick to point out a potential hypocrisy in the attempt, however:
What’s a bit humorous about the Democrats’ suit, though, is that any finding that dings Trump will ultimately turn 180 degrees and ding them. If an emolument is defined by the court as a hotel bill — well then, watch the trickle-down effect for members of Congress. The emoluments clause is only intended for the executive and judiciary branches of government. But what’s good for the White House goose is certainly good for the congressional gander; can you imagine the optics of a political party proving illegality on the part of a president, but then carrying on with the same behaviors themselves?
Last night’s guest, Rich Lowry of National Review, wrote about Democrats’ feverish attempt to impeach the president in his piece, “The Impeachment War”:
What would Democrats impeach Trump for? This is a question of mere details. They will surely find a case somewhere amidst the feverish allegations of obstruction of justice, abuse of power and violations of the emoluments clause.
Let’s hope they haven’t found their cause.