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An Emoluments Suit Against Trump Is Moving Ahead. We Spoke to a Plaintiff About What’s Next. — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast Extra

We interview the District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine about the suit, what it might uncover and why the Founding Fathers put the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine after speaking about filing a lawsuit that claims President Donald Trump has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, on June 12, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

There’s lots of talk about congressional investigations of the Trump administration that may be coming. Meanwhile, there is already a push to pull back the veil on the president’s conflicts. And it’s making progress.

This month, a federal judge ruled that Maryland and Washington, D.C., can move ahead with a lawsuit claiming the president has violated the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bars presidents from accepting payments from foreign and state governments without congressional approval. That means the president may soon have to turn over all sorts of documents related to his businesses.

We spoke about the case with one of the lawyers behind it, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine.

Racine explains that the Emoluments Clause is the “country’s first anticorruption law.” The framers created it to “ensure that a president the United States as well as other federal officers would be loyal to the interest of the United States, not to their purses or to their pocketbooks.”

Listen to the Episode

The Department of Justice has fought the case, disputing that the president is violating the Emoluments Clause. “This case, which should have been dismissed, presents important questions that warrant immediate appellate review,” a department spokesman said after the judge’s order.

Racine also talked with us about what exact documents they’re hoping to get, and the time a Republican Congress investigated whether another president was receiving emoluments. (He wasn’t.)

Listen to the whole episode.

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Portrait of Eric Umansky

Eric Umansky

Eric Umansky is a deputy managing editor for ProPublica.

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