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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 23, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 25
Pramila Jayapal joins suit against Donald Trump:

He 'repeatedly violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause'
Section One
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Pramila Jayapal joins suit against Donald Trump:

He 'repeatedly violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause'

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Seattle-area Rep. Pramila Jayapal has joined more than 200 of her congressional colleagues in a lawsuit against Donald Trump for violating the emoluments clause of the US Constitution.

The Emoluments Clause of the Constitution states that 'no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.'

Trump has failed to seek congressional consent for his business dealings with foreign powers, the lawsuit says. Consequently, members of Congress have been denied the opportunity to cast a binding vote that either gives or withholds their consent to his acceptance of these emoluments.

The denial of that voting opportunity injures them within the meaning of Article III of the Constitution and provides standing to sue the President.

Jayapal and her co-plaintiffs charge that Trump's businesses have benefited from investments made by foreign governments since he took office, thus violating the Constitution.

In January 2017, for example, a lobbying firm working for Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 on rooms and other expenses at Trump's Washington, DC, hotel after Inauguration Day.

Last month, Trump made Saudi Arabia the first country he visited as president, and unlike previous presidential visitors to the kingdom, he completely ignored their human rights violations.

In another example, the Chinese government recently granted preliminary approval of 38 new trademarks worth millions to Trump and one of his companies. In an apparent concession to China, Trump has softened his previous rhetoric about China, and reversed course on a campaign promise to label China a 'currency manipulator.'

Currently, President Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries, Jayapal's office said in a June 21 statement.

'When a president acts as though he is above the law, our democracy is deeply shaken and our country slides toward autocracy,' said Rep. Jayapal.

'Since the day he took office, President Trump has repeatedly violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause by profiting from foreign governments without the consent of Congress. This pattern of behavior, like so much from this administration, is shocking and disturbing. Stymied from playing our constitutional oversight role by Republicans, we must seek accountability in the courts.

'The Constitution is clear,' Jayapal continued. 'It was written to prevent abuses of power, and I am confident that justice will prevail over the president's flagrant law-breaking.'

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