President Donald Trump’s acceptance of business from foreign governments will be be examined in court this week as a lawsuit brought by members of congress, including Senator Richard Blumenthal, gets a hearing
In contrast to previous presidents, Trump has not sold his business interests before taking office, or put them into a blind trust.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that’s lead to all sorts of conflicts of interest, as foreign governments try to curry favor with the president.
In a conference call with reporters ahead of the court hearing this week, Blumenthal listed a few of his concerns. “The trademarks from China to him," he said, "the deals with the Trump organization around the world, the pattern of dealings by the Trump Hotel here in Washington with foreign governments, and in fact the appointment of a sales manager to deal with those foreign governments specifically.”
Blumenthal is a lead plaintiff in the suit, brought by 200 members of Congress, which seeks to enforce the emoluments clause of the Constitution. That says that all elected officials shall receive no gifts, payments or benefits from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.
“We are the only ones," said Blumenthal. "We are the only ballgame, the only parties that can enforce the emoluments clause against defiance and lawbreaking by the president of the United States on a core principle and tenet of the United State Constitution.”
Several lawsuits have been brought around the emoluments clause involving businesses that compete with the Trump organization, but Blumenthal believes Congress has the best chance of gaining standing to move forward with legal action.
The Justice Department, which is representing the administration, has called the lawsuit politically motivated.