Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh outlined details of the lawsuit in an interview with The Associated Press.
SEAN SPICER: The president's interests do not violate the Emoluments Clause.
The lawsuit on Monday said heavy spending by foreign diplomats and embassies at the Trump International Hotel just a few blocks from the White House, payments by foreign entities at his Trump Tower and Trump International Tower in NY, and other business operations effectively violate the US Constitution's ban on presidents enriching themselves while in office.
RACINE: President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution which explicitly bars presidents from receiving gifts or inducements from foreign or domestic government entities.
"Every time the president has spoken about drawing a line between his presidency and his businesses, he's walked those promises back", said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said at a news conference on Monday. I mean you never know what the courts are going to do.
The lawsuit also asserts that since Trump chose to maintain his financial interests in his global business empire, he is committing "unprecedented constitutional violations" by accepting those payments. Trump and his attorneys argue the clause does not cover fair-value transactions, such as hotel room payments and real estate sales.
A similar action by government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) was last week dismissed by a federal judge in NY. Since then, a restaurant group and two individuals in the hotel industry have joined as plaintiffs.
"The Justice Department said on Friday those plaintiffs did not suffer in any way and had no standing to sue, and that it was unconstitutional to sue the President in his official capacity", ABC News reports. At the heart of it is President Trump's decision not to divest himself from his business empire while he's in the White House. This lawsuit today is just another iteration of the case that was filed by that group, CREW.
The focus on Trump International Hotel stems in part from businesses in Washington and Maryland, some partly owned by the local governments, complaining that its link to the president effectively gives it an unfair competitive advantage.
The attorney generals argue that the constitutional clause that deals with this issue intends to limit the potential for corrupting influences from foreign governments.
"If the Justice Department is right, the emoluments clause has no meaning whatsoever", Frosh said. And presidents may not accept anything more than their salaries from either the federal or state governments.
The two attorneys general also hope the case will build a record against Trump through the discovery process in the court case. The Post cited that the president's son, Eric Trump, said his father would get regular updates about his company's financial health.