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Emoluments suit vs. Trump now personal as well as official

February 24, 2018

In this Feb. 20, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia on Feb. 23, expanded their lawsuit accusing Trump of accepting gifts from foreign and state governments, suing him not only as president but in his personal capacity as a businessman. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia have expanded their lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of accepting gifts from foreign and state governments, suing him not only as president but in his personal capacity as a businessman.

Legal experts say Friday’s move takes the “emoluments” clause of the Constitution into uncharted legal waters, since it has been interpreted as only applying to presidents in their official capacity.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Maryland, is one of several challenging Trump’s ties to his business ventures and his refusal to divest from them. The suits allege that foreign governments’ use of Trump’s hotels and other properties violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bans the president’s acceptance of foreign gifts and money without Congress’ permission.

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