News & Politics

President Trump Sued Out of the Gate for Business Conflicts

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

In a move clearly planned to follow immediately upon the inauguration of Donald Trump, a non-profit organization will bring suit against the new president of the United States. From NBC News:

Heavy-hitting lawyers plan to sue President Donald Trump in federal court Monday over business interests that they say put him in violation of the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments.

The nonprofit good-government group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, will file the suit Monday morning in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the organization said.

The suit alleges that Trump violated the Constitution the moment he was sworn in as president on Friday because he had not divested his interests in the Trump Organization…

At issue is the interpretation of the “emolument clause,” used in the Constitution to prohibit federal officers from receiving payments from foreign entities. Is Trump in violation of that clause because he profits from foreign bookings at Trump hotels? That’s one of the things a federal court may ultimately decide, provided a judge first finds that CREW has standing for their suit.

As politically motivated as this suit may be, it presents an opportunity for the looming question of business conflicts to be settled once and for all. Unsurprisingly, the White House holds a different view than CREW regarding the emolument clause. Given the lack of precedent for a businessman of Trump’s status holding the presidency, this question will need to be resolved whether through the means of this suit or not.