Judge rules Democrats can proceed with emoluments case against Trump

UltraViolet, a women's advocacy group, projects a message stating "Congress: Investigate Trump" onto the side of the Trump International Hotel on January 30, 2018. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by receiving payments from foreign governments through the hotel could proceed. File Photo by Erin Schaff/UPI

May 1 (UPI) — A federal judge denied a request to dismiss a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by conducting business with foreign governments.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan issued a 48-page ruling Tuesday, denying the Justice Department request to dismiss the lawsuit and accepting a broad definition of the term “emoluments” in relation the Trump Organization.

The lawsuit filed by 200 Democrats, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., alleges that Trump is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by earning profits from the Trump International Hotel.

Under the clause, no person holding office may accept a present of any kind from a foreign state without the consent of Congress.

The Justice Department had sought to have the case dismissed, stating that the clause only applies to payments received for government action taken by a president in his official role and shouldn’t involve private business transactions with foreign governments.

In his ruling Tuesday, Sullivan wrote that Trump’s definition of emoluments “disregards the ordinary meaning of the term as set forth in the vast majority” of dictionaries used by the Founding Fathers and “is inconsistent with the text, structure, historical interpretation, adoption and purpose of the clause; and is contrary to executive branch practice over the course of many years.”

Sullivan had previously ruled that the Democrats could pursue the case against Trump, which Blumenthal called “a real milestone” in the case.

Tuesday’s ruling allows Democrats to begin seeking financial records from the Trump Organization, barring any efforts by the Justice Department to block them from doing so through appeals.

Trump, his adult children and the Trump Organization filed a lawsuit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One on Monday, seeking injunctions against the banks, preventing them from revealing their financial information.


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