By Brooke Seipel - 06-14-17 00:24 AM EDT
Democratic members of Congress on Wednesday sued President Trump in federal court, claiming he had violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign funds through the Trump business without Congressional approval.
The Washington Post broke the news early Wednesday morning, reporting that 196 lawmakers had joined the complaint, more than any lawmakers ever to sign on to sue a president.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) led the filing in federal district court, and said Tuesday that while no Republicans had joined the lawsuit, they were welcome to do so.
Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) led the legal effort in the House.
"Trump has conflicts of interest in at least 25 countries, and it appears he's using his presidency to maximize his profits," Coyers told ReutersWednesday.
The Post obtained an advanced copy of the complaint, which argues that the "foreign emoluments clause" in the Constitution requires the president to get the "consent of Congress" before accepting gifts. The suit also alleges that the Trump empire gives foreign governments an incentive to give Trump businesses special treatment.
The 37-page filing comes a day afterthe attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., said they will seek Trump's tax returns in a lawsuit over foreign payments to his D.C.-based hotel.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said he and his D.C. counterpart, Karl Racine, will seek Trump's personal financial information - including his tax returns - in a lawsuit alleging the president has committed "unprecedented constitutional violations."
Frosh and Racine filed a lawsuit against Trump on Monday, claiming his ownership of the Trump International Hotel in D.C. violates two Constitutional clauses barring elected officials from receiving personal gifts and payments.
Updated 12:45 a.m. E.T.