Democratic lawmakers sue Trump as gunman fires on Republicans
More than 190 United States (U.S.) Democratic lawmakers sued President Donald Trump in federal court yesterday, saying he had accepted funds from foreign governments through his businesses without congressional consent in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The complaint said Trump had not sought congressional approval for any of the payments his hundreds of businesses had received from foreign governments since he took office in January, even though the Constitution requires him to do so.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment but has said Trump’s business interests do not violate the Constitution. The Trump Organisation has said it will donate profits from customers representing foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury but will not require such customers to identify themselves.
About 30 U.S. senators and 166 representatives were plaintiffs in yesterday’s lawsuit, representing the largest number of legislators ever to sue a U.S. president, according to two lawmakers who are among the plaintiffs, Voice of America reported.
The Constitution’s “foreign emoluments” clause bars U.S. officeholders from accepting payments and various other gifts from foreign governments, without congressional approval.
“The president’s failure to tell us about these emoluments, to disclose the payments and benefits that he is receiving, mean that we cannot do our job. We cannot consent to what we don’t know,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, one of the lawmakers bringing the lawsuit, in a conference call on Tuesday. While Representative John Conyers, another plaintiff, added: “President Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries, and it appears he’s using his presidency to maximize his profits.”
The Justice Department however declined to comment. Parties including a nonprofit ethics group, a restaurant trade group, and the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia have filed similar lawsuits in recent months.
They allege that Trump’s acceptance of payments from foreign and U.S. governments through his hospitality empire puts other hotel and restaurant owners at an unfair disadvantage and provides governments an incentive to give Trump-owned businesses special treatment.
Meanwhile, a gunman opened fire yesterday on Republican lawmakers who were practicing near Washington for a charity baseball game, wounding senior Republican leader, Steve Scalise and several others before being taken into custody, police and witnesses said.
The gunman died later of his injuries, President Trump announced at the White House yesterday afternoon.
Lawmakers said the shooter, who was armed with a rifle, had exchanged fire with Capitol Hill police who were at the scene and was shot before being taken into custody.
Scalise, Number 3 in the House of Representatives Republican leadership, was shot in the hip at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia. Fellow lawmakers including Brad Wenstrup, an Ohio congressman who is a physician, before being transported to a hospital, tended him to.
Five people were taken from the scene to hospitals, Alexandria’s police chief, Michael Brown, told reporters. Two of the wounded were Capitol Hill police, witnesses said.
Trump, a Republican, said Scalise, a Louisiana congressman, was “badly injured” but in stable condition. He said two of the wounded were congressional staffers.
At a news conference, authorities declined to identify the suspect. The Washington Post, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, identified him as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. The Post reported that he owned a home inspection business.