- A federal judge on Friday dismissed President Donald Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he’s profiting from foreign governments via his Washington, DC, hotel in violation of the foreign emoluments clause of the US Constitution.
- This paves the way for the plaintiffs to gain financial records related to Trump’s hotel.
- The emoluments clause bars public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.
- Trump has attempted to have the case dismissed multiple times.
A federal judge on Friday di missed President Donald Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he’s profiting from foreign governments via his Washington, DC, hotel in violation of the foreign emoluments clause of the US Constitution.
US District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Maryland, rejected a request from the Justice Department to put the case on hold in order to allow a higher court to step in. This paves the way for the plaintiffs to gain financial records from Trump’s hotel.
The emoluments clause bars public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or state governments without congressional approval.
Trump has argued the emoluments clause was intended to prevent officials from receiving bribes – not from doing business. The president maintains ownership of his business empire, though he’s claimed to avoid day-to-day operations as to avoid conflicts of interest.
Messitte in his decision wrote Trump’s interpretation of the definition of emolument is “dubious.”
“The President’s ownership interest in the Trump International Hotel and his apparent receipt of benefits from at least some foreign and state governments, as well as from the Federal Government itself, suggest that he has received ’emoluments’ in violation of the Constitution, giving rise to plausible causes of action against him brought by parties with standing,” Messitte wrote.
Messitte had already rejected previous attempts from Trump to dismiss the case and has repeatedly concluded the attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia have standing to sue the president on the basis he’s accepted payments from foreign government through the Trump International Hotel in the capital.
As Business Insider reported in relation to this case in July:
- The attorneys general, Democrats Brian Frosh of Maryland and Karl Racine of Washington, DC, allege that Trump is violating the emoluments clause through his Washington, DC hotel, which engages in business with both foreign and state governments.
- The two attorneys general previously proved they had standing to make such a claim by arguing that businesses within their jurisdictions were losing business as a result of government officials opting to go to Trump’s hotel.
Frosh celebrated the Friday’s ruling in a tweet: “The President’s latest attempt to block our emoluments lawsuit has failed.”
Similarly, Racine tweeted, “Our case is still moving forward and we will continue to work to stop Pres. Trump from violating the Constitution and profiting from the presidency.”
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.