In Brief

Donald Trump sued by two states over business links

Attorney generals of Maryland and DC accuse US President of 'unprecedented constitutional violations'

Donald Trump is facing lawsuits from the attorney generals of Maryland and the District of Columbia alleging the the US President committed "unprecedented constitutional violations" by refusing to sell off his businesses.

Brian Frosh of Maryland and his DC counterpart Karl Racine claim Trump has accepted "millions in payments and benefits" since moving into the White House, in breach of a strict emoluments clause.

"The President's conflicts of interest threaten our democracy," said Frosh.

If a federal judge allows the case to proceed, one of the first steps will be to demand copies of Trump's personal tax returns "to gauge the extent of his foreign business dealings", the Washington Post says.

A similar action by government watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) was last week dismissed by a federal judge in New York.

"The Justice Department said on Friday those plaintiffs did not suffer in any way and had no standing to sue, and that it was unconstitutional to sue the President in his official capacity," ABC News reports.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer accused the Democratic Party of being behind the new lawsuits, saying they were "just another iteration of the case that was filed by that group Crew, filed actually by the same lawyers, so it's not hard to conclude that partisan politics may be one of the motivations behind the suit".

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