Congressman Nadler Joins Sen. Blumenthal and Ranking Member Conyers to Announce Congressional Emoluments Lawsuit Against President Trump

Jun 20, 2017 Issues: Trump, Civil Liberties

Washington, D.C. -- Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), senior Member of the House Judiciary Committee, joined Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) in announcing a Congressional lawsuit filed last week to compel President Trump to comply with the Constitutional requirement demanding the President obtain the consent of Congress before accepting “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever” from foreign states.  Nearly 200 Members of Congress filed the lawsuit over the President’s continued failure to disclose his foreign business dealings, which are in violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution.  The 166 Representatives and 30 Senators behind the lawsuit are being represented by the Constitutional Accountability Center, which filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia last Wednesday.

Below are Congressman Nadler’s full remarks, as prepared:

“I want to thank Senator Blumenthal and Congressman Conyers for leading this effort to ensure that no President is above the law.

“Since the day he was sworn into office, President Trump has brazenly flouted the Constitution, which is absolutely clear that the President cannot accept any gift or emolument of any kind from a foreign state “without the Consent of Congress.”  In his acceptance of these emoluments without first obtaining approval from Congress—as the Constitution requires in Article I, Section 9—President Trump has deprived Congress of the ability to carry out this duty. 

“That is why we filed this lawsuit.  Under the Constitution, it is our duty, as Members of Congress, to determine whether the President can accept any emolument, so that we can protect the nation against improper foreign influence, which may run counter to the interests of the United States.  We are being denied that opportunity, and we need the courts to protect our rights.

“President Trump has not requested the permission of Congress to receive any emolument, and he has not even made the basic disclosures or divested his assets in an appropriate way—as presidents have done for decades—to remove any areas of potential liabilities or possible conflicts-of-interest.

“In hosting foreign dignitaries at his hotel just blocks away from the White House, in receiving valuable trademarks from China, and in continuing to bring in millions of dollars a year through his businesses from foreign powers all over the world, Donald Trump has put a “For Sale” sign around the presidency, around his Administration, and around his decision-making.

“Are the decisions of this Administration being made with the interests of the American people first and foremost in the mind of the President?  Are the policies and positions of this Administration being affected by their impacts on the President’s bank account, according to who pays and who doesn’t?  Foreign governments know there is a clear avenue to put money in the pocket of President Trump.  It is not only fair, but critically important for our nation to ask the question, what is the influence on the President?

“It is an issue of real urgency given the threat to our national security, our independence, and the integrity of our democracy.

“I want to thank the Constitutional Accountability Center for working with us to file this lawsuit.  We believe we stand on firm legal ground, but it is true that there is very little case law on the emoluments clause.  That is because no previous President has dared even come close to testing this issue.  They have all—until now—respected their duty to Congress, and to the American people, to be transparent, and to put the nation's interests before their own.  This White House seems to believe it can play by its own rules, but we are asking the courts to show once and for all that nothing Trumps the Constitution.

“Thank you.”