Democrats In Congress Can Sue Trump Over Constitution's Emoluments Clause: Judge

About 200 Democrats in the House and Senate have won a judge's approval to go ahead with their anti-corruption lawsuit against President Trump.

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".

In a conference call with reporters Friday evening, Blumenthal called the decision "a major breakthrough" and "a milestone triumph for the rule of law".

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.

"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", said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a Washington-based liberal legal organization representing the lawmakers.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco said in a statement that the government believes this case should be dismissed and "will continue to defend the President in court".

But a violation of the Emoluments Clause, a prohibition set forth by the Constitution, could potentially be a bigger deal. "It enables us to hold the president accountable for taking huge payments, benefits, or gifts from foreign governments".

A Trump Organization official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Although Trump has given up day-to-day management of his businesses, some properties that he still owns benefit from investments or business from foreign governments, particularly his D.C. hotel, which has hosted leaders from Kuwait, Malaysia and other countries.

Foreign government guests have frequently stayed at the Trump hotel in Washington.

"The Clause requires the president to ask Congress before accepting a prohibited foreign emolument", Sullivan wrote. He said the plaintiffs showed enough evidence to proceed with the case.

By not asking Congress, Sullivan said, Trump could have effectively "nullified their votes" - which, he said, meant legislators could seek the unusual remedy of filing a lawsuit against the president.

In the other emoluments suit, the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia contend President Trump's financial interests - particularly his D.C. hotel - allow him to unfairly profit. This sort of appeal is rarely granted, because lower court judges usually prefer to complete a full case before any appeal is made.

In July, Messitte dismissed the Justice Department's contention that Trump's business activity such as hotel room earnings don't qualify under the constitutional definition of emoluments.

  • Rogelio Becker