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A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Trump’s latest effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign governments.
The ruling, from U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte in Greenbelt, Md., will allow the plaintiffs in the case — the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia — to proceed with their case, which says Trump has violated the Constitution’s little-used emoluments clause.
The plaintiffs now want to interview Trump Organization employees and search company records to determine which foreign countries have spent money at Trump’s hotel in downtown Washington.
The article goes on to state the following:
The lawsuit, filed last year by D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine (D) and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D), cleared an initial hurdle in March. Back then, Messitte settled one legal question, ruling that the plaintiffs had legal standing to sue the president in the first place.
He also limited the scope of the case to Trump’s Washington hotel; previously, the plaintiffs had also wanted to search for foreign-government spending at other Trump properties as well.
The Washington Post noted that issue is being taken with the fact that foreign embassies have rented ballrooms at the Trump Hotel when entertaining visiting leaders from other countries.
At the hearing in June, the plaintiffs had argued that when applied in a modern context, the Constitution’s ban on emoluments should ban transactions such as those.
They said that emolument in this case should not just mean an outright gift but also any transaction that gave Trump “profit, gain or advantage.” That means it would apply to transactions in which a foreign government paid Trump’s company for a service or a hotel room.
But Justice Department attorneys, defending the president, said that this definition twisted the Constitution’s original meaning.
They said the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms or hold events at his Washington hotel because they are paying for something and not giving Trump a gift.
NEW: A federal judge in Maryland has once again denied President Trump’s effort to get a lawsuit dismissed that accuses him of violating the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. More shortly. https://t.co/HRXYzXbtvd pic.twitter.com/S5brmYCWKK
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 25, 2018
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A federal judge has rejected Trump’s effort to stop a lawsuit that alleges Trump is violating the Constitution by continuing to do business with foreign gov’ts.
The plaintiffs now want to interview Trump Org. employees and search company records. https://t.co/7q7wGsytwC
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 25, 2018
#BREAKING: Maryland district court denies President Trump’s motion to dismiss D.C. and Maryland emoluments lawsuit, holding that the plaintiffs have indeed stated a claim that President Trump has violated both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses:https://t.co/ArFBEhM4BF
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) July 25, 2018
Judge just denied @realDonaldTrump’s motion to dismiss the DC and MD AG’s emoluments lawsuit re: Trump Hotel DC. It’s one of three emoluments suits making their way through the courts. https://t.co/gnjWsB9cLy
— Zach Everson (@Z_Everson) July 25, 2018