Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress have filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump, alleging that he violated the Constitution by not dispelling his ties to the Trump Organization and failing to request permission from Congress to accept foreign gifts and benefits.
“We do this not out of any sense of pleasure or partisanship, but because President Trump has left us with no other option,” said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who filed the 37-page complaint in federal court on Wednesday.
“This legal action is designed to help lift our nation out of this morass of conflicts and restore faith in our government, just as our Founders intended,” he added.
The announcement comes less than a day after D.C. and Maryland attorneys general announced a joint lawsuit against Trump for “flagrantly” violating the emoluments clause outlined in the Constitution.
The new lawsuit claims that the president is required by the Foreign Emoluments clause to request permission from Congress prior to accepting any foreign gifts or benefits.
The Trump Hotel is the Washington Emolument, a monument to foreign payments, kickbacks, and sweetheart contracts.
— Rep. Jamie Raskin (@RepRaskin) June 14, 2017
But the lawsuit has greater weight coming from members of Congress, according to analysis from The Washington Post, who obtained an advanced copy of the legal complaint.
“No American should have to wonder if President Trump is putting his personal wealth before the interests of our country,“ said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). ”But at every turn, we are forced to confront this issue — and we simply don’t know the answer.”
Other Democrats are more reluctant to support such efforts.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Independent Journal Review that even though he has concerns about the president's business ties, he didn't sign onto the lawsuit.
“I wish the president would have separated himself completely from his business. I think that would have been the right thing to do,” Warner said in an interview on Wednesday evening. “We knew these kinds of questions were going to come up.”
Conyers is expected to speak publicly about the lawsuit Thursday.