Judge says Democratic lawmakers can sue Trump on emoluments

Howard TerryOct 02, 2018

US District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington on Friday denied a Justice Department request to dismiss the lawsuit, filed previous year by Connecticut's Richard Blumenthal and other members of the House and Senate.

In July a federal judge in Maryland ruled that a similar lawsuit against Trump filed by attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia could proceed.

To allow the lawsuit to proceed, Sullivan said he would "accept as true the allegations that the President has accepted prohibited foreign emoluments without seeking the consent of Congress".

President Donald Trump returns to the White House, Washington, DC, U.S., after attending the United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York City, September 27, 2018.

Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a Washington-based liberal legal organization representing the lawmakers, said "By recognizing that members of Congress have standing to sue, the court proved to all in America today that no one is above the law, not even the president".

Friday's ruling did not take into account a motion by the Department of Justice to dismiss the case, Fox News reported.

Leading the case against Trump is Democratic Sen.

But a violation of the Emoluments Clause, a prohibition set forth by the Constitution, could potentially be a bigger deal. Thanks to this thoughtful and well-reasoned decision by Judge Sullivan, we are moving forward in our effort to protect the American people from foreign corruption and ensure that President Trump is minding the people's business, not his own.

Democrats involved in the lawsuit also maintain that Trump received "foreign government favors". He and others involved in the lawsuit say Trump is still gaining income from his hotel business and other properties. "Judge Sullivan correctly reviewed the Supreme Court and D.C. Circuit case law in this area, and concluded that President Trump harms members of Congress by accepting benefits from foreign governments without first obtaining their affirmative consent", the organization said. The plaintiffs said they need a court order to make Trump obey the Constitution. Justice Department lawyer Brett Shumate told Sullivan on June 7 that the legislators are always free to vote on whether the president can accept such benefits, meaning they didn't suffer a legally recognisable injury giving them standing to sue. The Justice Department, however, has asked for an appeal in that case and for all proceedings to halt until an appeals court rules. Trump, however, has granted the administration of his business to his children, which Democrats argue continues to constitute a conflict of interest and an indication that Trump has knowledge of business affairs he is not supposed to.

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