A unique challenge by District of Columbia citizens to President Donald Trump’s liquor license has been updated to list even more examples of his alleged “bad character” that could threaten the president’s continued ability to have alcohol served at his Trump International Hotel.
New accusations concerning Trump’s character include revelations by the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen in court that Trump ordered him to make payments during the presidential campaign to cover up information about alleged affairs. Trump later acknowledged that the payments came from him. That means Trump “likely committed serious violations of the campaign finance laws,” according to supplemental documents added Thursday to the original challenge.
He also made “misleading statements regarding his son Donald Trump, Jr.’s June 2016 meeting” at Trump Tower with a Kremlin-connected attorney to get “dirt” on presidential rival Hillary Clinton, and then “lied to cover up his role in the crafting of the misleading statement” about the meeting, the document states.
“This new evidence of criminal conduct further supports Mr. Trump’s lack of good character,” the document says.
Five local religious leaders and two retired judges are challenging the liquor license Trump holds for his hotel in the District of Columbia, arguing that he doesn’t have the “good character” required by law to hold such a license.
By law, if the “true and actual owner of the establishment” serving alcohol is not “of good character,” the liquor license can be suspended or revoked by the local Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.
“The president is not above the law,” attorney Joshua Levy told HuffPost. “There’s no excuse or exception, even for the president of the United States.”
Levy said the owner of another business was recently denied a liquor license because of a “pattern of dishonesty.”
The initial complaint against Trump, filed in June, cited accusations against Trump of sexual assault, characterized him as a “habitual liar” and noted that he paid $25 million to settle claims of fraud against Trump University.
The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will hold a hearing on the challenge Wednesday, and a decision will be announced the following day, said Levy.
The board will decide whether to recommend a hearing to show cause to the attorney general of the District of Columbia, who will then decide what action to take.
The board that will rule on the complaint is staffed by seven local residents picked by Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser. Trump is decidedly unpopular in the District of Columbia, where he won just 4 percent of the vote in the 2016 election.
The liquor license challenge isn’t the only action threatening the operation of Trump International Hotel. Karl Racine, the attorney general of the District of Columbia, and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a lawsuit against Trump in June arguing that he is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which bars federal officeholders from receiving financial or material benefits from foreign governments or domestic government bodies. Foreign officials, embassies and foreign governments have rented rooms and paid for lavish parties at Trump International Hotel.
Trump has “continued to own, control and prosper from hundreds of businesses around the world. By accepting benefits from foreign and domestic government actors, the president is opening himself up to the type of foreign influence and corruption that the Constitution seeks to prevent,” said a statement from Racine’s office.
A federal court ruled in July that Trump is subject to the Emoluments Clause, allowing the case to move forward.