Plaintiffs in a major lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating a constitutional clause that prohibits elected officials from doing business with foreign governments have begun issuing subpoenas for information about one of the Trump Organization's marquee properties: The Trump International Hotel in Washington.
Attorneys general from Maryland and Washington, D.C. allege in a lawsuit that President Donald Trump used the Trump International Hotel to unconstitutionally profit from his political office; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports. Specifically, the attorneys general want to know about how Mr. Trump could be profiting from foreign entities that could cause concern for national interests.
In June 2017 Washington and Maryland filed suit, saying Trump was violating the emoluments clause of the USA constitution, which prohibits U.S. government officials from receiving gifts, payments or other valuable benefits from foreign governments and foreign officials.
Other noted categories for preservation include documents that would identify guests of the hotel and those who have rented event space, details on all finances, and "operating leases, permits, licenses, tax payments or credits to or from foreign or domestic governments".
The subpoena requires the majority of documents to be preserved from January 1, 2015, on an ongoing basis.
In this file photo is a general view of the Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.at the Old Post Office, Oct. 31, 2016, in Washington D.C.
When he became president Mr. Trump did not divest from the Trump Organization, but did turn day-to-day operations over to some of his children.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization said Tuesday, "We intend to make a similar contribution in 2019". And in court papers last week challenging the judge's decision to move the case forward, Justice lawyers objected to any discovery on a sitting president in order to avoid a "constitutional confrontation". It declined to comment.
US government lawyers said on Friday in a court filing that they plan to ask an appeals court to halt discovery and review earlier rulings by Messitte that allowed the case to proceed.
They are also subpoenaing 18 companies that compete with the hotel, presumably in a bid to find out whether they've suffered by having to win business in a market where the president of the country owns a property.
Among the demands to the Trump Organization are "all of your state and federal income tax returns, including all schedules, attachments, and other forms or supporting documentation completed or submitted with the tax returns". Democratic lawmakers past year sued demanding disclosures of records to determine how Trump was approved by the General Services Administration to maintain the lease of the Trump International Hotel in Washington after he became president.
Trump's victory in the presidential election in November 2016 immediately made the five-star hotel a hub for Washington politics, with various governments and embassies hosting receptions there.