Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Monday that President Trump wouldn't be able to "climb over" or "dig underneath" the walls erected by the Constitution to protect against presidential corruption.
"The point is, the emoluments clauses are a firewall against presidential corruption," Frosh said during a news conference Monday. "The one thing we know about President Trump is he understands the values of walls. This is one he can't climb over, and it's one he can't dig underneath."
Frosh and D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against Trump in federal court Monday morning arguing the president violated the Constitution's emoluments clause, which bars the president from accepting any money or gifts from a foreign government.
Typically, past presidents have separated themselves from their business interests. But Trump chose to retain ownership of his company, which owns properties, golf courses and hotels including Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and put his business assets in a trust managed by his sons.
The president's decision has been the subject of scrutiny since he assumed the presidency, as opponents warn foreign governments are spending money at Trump-owned properties to win favor with the president.
In addition to the new lawsuit from Racine and Frosh, a watchdog group sued Trump in January for violating the emoluments clause.
The Republican National Committee dismissed the lawsuit as "absurd."
"From day one, President Trump has been committed to complete transparency and compliance with the law," said RNC spokeswoman Lindsay Jancek. "The actions of the attorneys general represent the kind of partisan grandstanding voters across the country have come to despise. The American people elected President Trump to lead this country, and it is time Democrats end their efforts to delegitimize his presidency."
Racine and Frosh believe the president's decision to retain ownership of his company is unprecedented and "flagrantly" violates the Constitution.
"Never in the history of this country have we had a president with these kinds of extensive business entanglements or a president who refused to adequately distance themselves from their holdings," Racine said.
Trump owns properties around the world, and he has spent many weekends at his estate in Florida, Mar-a-Lago, and his golf club in New Jersey since his inauguration.
In April, Trump hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort.
Additionally, Trump International Hotel has hosted several foreign governments, including the Embassy of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
"This case is about the right of hundreds of millions of Americans to honest government. Elected leaders who serve the people and not their own financial interests are the indispensable foundation of our democracy," Frosh said. "The president, above all other elected officials must have only the interests of Americans at the heart of every decision."