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Attorneys general subpoena Trump businesses

Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in Political News

BALTIMORE -- Dozens of subpoenas were issued Tuesday to businesses affiliated with President Donald Trump and others in a lawsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia that alleges the president violated a constitutional prohibition on profiting from his post by doing business with foreign governments.

Among those receiving subpoenas were 13 Trump organizations, including The Trump Organization Inc., Trump International Hotels Management LLC, Trump Old Post Office LLC and The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust.

Four federal agencies were also subpoenaed.

The subpoenas were issued after a federal judge ruled Monday, over the objections of U.S. Justice Department lawyers, that the case's discovery phase could proceed. D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh called the decision "a huge step forward in our emoluments case."

The case centers on foreign dignitaries paying to stay at the luxury Trump International Hotel in Washington. Frosh and Racine say Trump's ownership of a business that accepts money from foreign governments violates the U.S. Constitution's emoluments clause.

The subpoenas are designed to solicit information to show that commercial interests in Maryland and the District -- such as competing hotels -- could be harmed by any advantage the Trump hotel enjoys through its association with the president.

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Eighteen entities said to compete with the Trump hotel were also subpoenaed.

"Today's subpoenas focus on answering three questions: which foreign and domestic governments are paying the Trump International Hotel, where is that money going, and how is the Trump hotel affecting the hospitality industry in the District of Columbia and Maryland," Frosh said in a statement.

"We're seeking records of those payments through subpoenas to Trump business entities, as well as from federal agencies and state governments," Frosh said. "We are also seeking information proving that hotel revenues are flowing to the president through his affiliated entities."

Frosh said subpoenas directed to rival hotels, restaurants and other venues "seek to illuminate the unfair nature of that competition."

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