by Graham Pierrepoint
Could corruption allegations force President Trump to release his tax returns?
US President Donald Trump was no ordinary Republican candidate. No matter where you stand on his policies and how he is operating, he is certainly no ordinary President – but the real estate mogul was of course responsible for maintaining many ties to business ventures over the years, and as such this put him in quite a different position to the Commanders in Chief that precede him. Certainly, it would seem, as he was the first President in recent history to refrain from transferring his assets into a blind trust.
However, the businesses he has remaining may well lead him into hot water, as it seems a lawsuit alleges that Trump is violating a number of clauses in the US Constitution – on grounds of corruption.
The lawsuit, filed by representatives of Maryland and the District of Columbia, alleges that some of Trump’s businesses – still operating while he undertakes public office – are accepting huge payments from governments worldwide – raising the question of whether or not the President has entered into a conflict of interest (or two) despite taking the Oath and having been sworn in earlier this year.
The lawsuit charges that Trump’s business actions – relating to the payments received – may well undermine both his position as President and the US system in general. Attorney General Brian Frosh, representing the state of Maryland, stated that Trump’s continued actions in this manner ‘threaten our democracy’ – and that such actions should not be treated as acceptable going forward. Trump is accused of treating the Constitution with high disregard, according to the lawsuit – and, if it is to go any further, it may result in the President finally revealing his tax returns – something which was backtracked on at the very start of his Presidency.
Those supporting Trump’s administration and spokespeople for the Republican Party have maintained that the President has focused on being transparent about his affairs and that he is not in breach of the US Constitution – and at the time of writing, neither the White House nor the Department of Justice have offered comment on the lawsuit at this time.
It is not clear whether or not the lawsuit will travel as far as the Supreme Court – nor if Trump will need to reveal his financial records for them to be fully investigated – but it remains a highly dramatic few months for the President, who is continuing to fight against an investigation into alleged ties with Russia, and an ongoing hearing where former FBI chief James Comey testified last week.