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Trump sued over business benefits

WASHINGTON (AFP) -- Maryland and Washington sued President Donald Trump Monday, saying he is violating laws by raking in money from foreign governments and businesses at his luxury hotels and office towers.

The lawsuit said heavy spending by foreign diplomats and embassies at the Trump International Hotel just a few blocks from the White House, payments made by foreign entities at his Trump Tower and Trump International Tower in New York, and other business operations effectively violate the US Constitution‘s ban on presidents enriching themselves while in office.

US President Donald J. Trump (EPA-Yonhap)
US President Donald J. Trump (EPA-Yonhap)

“The suit alleges that president Trump is flagrantly violating the constitution, which explicitly bars presidents from receiving gifts or inducements from foreign or domestic government entities,” said Washington Attorney General Karl Racine.

“Never in the history of this country have we had a president with these kinds of extensive business entanglements. Or a president who refused to adequately distance themselves from their holdings,” Racine said.

The suit says that despite billionaire Trump having placed his extensive business holdings in a trust after he was elected president, he still owns the properties and is conscious of the money they are earning him.

“The defendant continues to own -- and be well-aware of the activities of -- the Trump organization” and other businesses he formerly actively ran, the suit said.

“Although he formed a trust to hold his business assets, he may obtain distributions from his trust at any time.”