US President Donald Trump is set to be sued by the District of Columbia (D.C.) and the state of Maryland, for allegedly breaching a constitutional oath.
Attorneys general (AG) for D.C. and Maryland have accused Trump of violating anti-corruption clauses in the US constitution by accepting payments and benefits from foreign governments since taking office, the Washington Post reported.
Mixing business and politics
The lawsuit, which is the first of its kind to be brought by government bodies, hinges on the fact Trump retained ownership of his companies when he became President, despite stating in January that he would move his business assets into a trust managed by his sons.
However, D.C. AG Karl Racine and Maryland AG Brian Frosch said Trump has broken several promises to keep his public duties and private business interests separate.
Unprecedented constitutional violations
The lawsuit, which Racine and Frosch showed to the Washington Post, alleges that Trump is guilty of "unprecedented constitutional violations" and says the President's continued ownership of his property and resort empire leaves him "deeply enmeshed with a legion of foreign and domestic government actors” and deeply undermines the integrity of the US political system.
“Fundamental to a President’s fidelity to [faithfully execute his oath of office] is the Constitution’s demand that the President ... disentangle his private finances from those of domestic and foreign powers," the lawsuit reads. "Never before has a President acted with such disregard for this constitutional prescription."
The case could bring Trump's tax returns back under the microscope, as lawyers would likely demand access to the documents to gauge the extent of Trump's foreign business dealings. The legal battle could make it as far as the Supreme Court, according to Racine and Frosch.
Meanwhile, the UK and US governments have denied that Trump wants to delay his state visit to Britain.
Sadiq Khan called for the trip to be cancelled last week, after Trump published antagonising tweets aimed at the mayor of London in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack.
Boris Johnson said the visit should not be put off, but over the weekend reports emerged implying that Trump was not eager to make the journey unless he was assured of the support of the British public. However, both the US and UK administrations said there were no changes to Trump's plans.