US Democrats can sue Donald Trump over emoluments, judge says

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A federal court on Friday refused to immediately dismiss a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating a constitutional anti-corruption provision by accepting foreign payments through his hotels and businesses without the permission of the U.S. Congress.

A federal judge in Maryland granted standing in July to the attorneys general of the District of Columbia and Maryland, in a suit focused on the hotel near the White House and citing both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses.

Blumenthal called the ruling "a real milestone". Richard Blumenthal of CT.

The Democrats' attorney Elizabeth Wydra, who is president of the non-profitconstitutional Accountability Center and argued the case in court, said that "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".

Trump is being represented by Justice Department attorneys, who asked Sullivan to dismiss the suit, saying Congress could simply pass a bill barring the president from accepting such compensation.

The Democrats' effort is led by Sen.

But a violation of the Emoluments Clause, a prohibition set forth by the Constitution, could potentially be a bigger deal. Richard Blumenthal of CT the almost 200 Democrats in Congress who claim the president is continuing to gain income from his hotel business and other properties, in violation of the Constitution. The finding means that the two lawsuits faced by the Trump Organization for improper receptions of payments from foreign governments can proceed.

Some of Trump's properties benefit from investments or business from foreign governments, particularly his D.C. hotel, which has hosted leaders from Kuwait, Malaysia and other countries.

"The Clause requires the president to ask Congress before accepting a prohibited foreign emolument", Sullivan wrote.

Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY) are the leading plaintiffs in the case, backed by some 200 other members of Congress.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Kelly Laco said the government "will continue to defend the president in court".

Trump's legal team has insisted that he is not in violation of the constitutional clause.

They argue that Trump has received foreign government favors like Chinese government trademarks for his companies and room rentals at the Trump International hotel in Washington, which only further enrich Trump.

"The next step will be to overcome their objections on the legal issues of what constitutes an emolument, but I believe we will move forward and gain access to key information on Donald Trump's income and financial dealings", Blumenthal added.

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