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Ethics lawyers to file lawsuit over foreign payments to Trump businesses

On Monday, a group of well-known Supreme Court litigators, constitutional scholars, and former White House ethics lawyers will file a lawsuit claiming that by letting his hotels and business operations accept payments from foreign governments, President Trump is violating the Constitution, The New York Times reports.

The team will argue that the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution bans payments from foreign entities to Trump's companies, including those from guests at Trump's hotels and golf courses and loans for his buildings from banks controlled by foreign governments. "The framers of the Constitution were students of history," Deepak Gupta, one of the lawyers behind the suit, told the Times. "And they understood that one way a republic could fail is if foreign powers could corrupt our elected leaders." The suit is not seeking any monetary damages, but rather that Trump stop taking foreign payments. Other members of the legal team include Harvard constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe, U.C. Irvine law school dean Erwin Chemerinsky, and presidential ethics lawyers Norman Eisen (Obama) and Richard Painter (Bush).

Trump's lawyers have said the provision does not apply to fair-market payments, like a standard hotel room bill. "This is purely harassment for political gain, and, frankly, I find it very, very sad," Eric Trump, a vice president of the Trump Organization, told The New York Times on Sunday.