News & Politics

The Trump Organization will face expansive subpoenas as the emoluments lawsuit ramps up against the president: report

The lawsuit charges that Trump is violating the constitution and profiting of his presidency.

Photo Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Donald Trump's company and administration will soon face an expansive set of subpoenas examining his multifarious conflicts of interest as a part of the ongoing lawsuit alleging he is violating the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, according to a new report from the Associated Press.

The AP found that the attorneys general from Washington, D.C., and Maryland will be issuing the subpoenas to the Trump Organization, the IRS, 30 private entities linked to the president, the Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture.

Reporter Tami Abdollah explained:

The Maryland attorney general’s office confirmed the targets of the subpoenas to The Associated Press as they were being prepared Tuesday.

The subpoenas focus on answering three questions: which foreign domestic governments are paying the Trump International Hotel in Washington, where that money is going and how Trump’s hotel is affecting the hospitality industry in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

To help answer those questions, the subpoenas are asking for records of payments to Trump from state government and federal agencies that patronized the hotel. They’re also seeking information proving that hotel revenues are going to the president through his affiliated entities, including The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. Most of the records are being requested back to Jan. 1, 2015.

The attorneys general have standing to sue on behalf of the competitors of Trump's hotel because they potentially stand to be disadvantaged by the president's unlawful conduct.

The Emoluments Clause explicitly forbids the president from receiving payments from foreign governments while in office. But many critics have noted that the president's D.C. hotel, in addition to his other properties, allow him to do just that. The AP also notes that several of the government agencies subpoenaed have also spent money at Trump properties, which also raises questions about conflicts of interest.

Trump's decision to enter office without significantly separating himself from his businesses was historically unprecedented. Famously, President Jimmy Carter was even forced to get rid of his peanut farm when he was inaugurated just to avoid any potential whiff of a conflict of interest. But despite these threats to the integrity of the federal government and his own image, Trump has steadfastly refused to draw a sharp line between himself and his sprawling and international business empire.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.