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Washington ethics group filing federal lawsuit against Trump in his first week in office

International Business Times logo International Business Times 23/01/2017 James Tennent
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A Washington based ethics non-profit has said it will file a federal lawsuit against US President Donald Trump on Monday (23 January), his third full day in office. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) plans to file the lawsuit in New York's Southern District at 9am, as soon as it opens.

Crew is accusing the new president of violating the Constitutions emoluments clause which "prohibits Trump from receiving anything of value from foreign governments, including foreign government-owned businesses, without the approval of Congress".

The group says that Trump's failure to divest from his businesses means that he is "getting cash and favors from foreign governments, through guests and events at his hotels, leases in his buildings, and valuable real estate deals abroad."

Donald Trump inauguration © Mark Ralston/AFP Donald Trump inauguration "We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office," said Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Crew. "He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action."

Bookbinder took aim at Trump's slogan, purporting to put American interests first in any deals: "President Trump has made his slogan 'America First' so you would think he would want to strictly follow the Constitution's foreign emoluments clause, since it was written to ensure our government officials are thinking of Americans first, and not foreign governments."

Trump has attempted to deal with conflict of interest accusations by announcing that his company, the Trump Organisation, will be handed over to his sons, saying that they "are not going to discuss it" with him. During a speech soon after this was announced, the Chief of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, described Trump's plan as "wholly inadequate".

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