Quantcast
Connect with us

Emoluments case alleging Trump violated Constitution can proceed: US judge

Published

on

Donald Trump

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected President Donald Trump’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit accusing him of unconstitutionally accepting gifts from foreign and state governments through his Washington hotel while occupying the White House.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s decision clears the way for the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, who brought the case, to pursue interviews with Trump Organization employees and review financial records to learn if the president broke the law.

The lawsuit accused Trump of violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clauses, which bar federal officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval, and the president from receiving gifts from states. They are designed to thwart corruption and improper influence.

“It’s an historic decision,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in an interview. “There has never been another president who has tested the emoluments clause. This is the first time we have had a president who has walked up to and, in our view, walked way over the line.”

Messitte had in March narrowed the lawsuit to focus on profits stemming from Trump’s ownership, through the Trump Organization, of the Trump International Hotel, a popular spot for foreign officials near the White House.

ADVERTISEMENT

But in Wednesday’s 52-page decision, the Greenbelt, Maryland-based judge rejected Trump’s “cramped” view that emoluments were limited essentially to bribes.

Messitte said the plaintiffs had “convincingly argued” that emoluments had a broader meaning, consistent with how even George Washington used the term in a 1776 proclamation.

“The clear weight of the evidence shows that an ‘emolument’ was commonly understood by the founding generation to encompass any ‘profit,’ ‘gain,’ or ‘advantage,’” Messitte wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

He also said emoluments include “profits from private transactions, even those involving services given at fair market value.”

The U.S. Department of Justice, which defended Trump, is determining its next steps “to continue vigorously defending the President,” spokesman Andy Reuss said in an email. “We continue to maintain that this case should be dismissed.”

Karl Racine, the D.C. attorney general, countered in a statement: “325 million Americans shouldn’t have to wonder if the president is putting his personal financial interests ahead of the national interest.”

ADVERTISEMENT

A Manhattan federal judge had in December dismissed a similar lawsuit by plaintiffs including the watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, saying they lacked standing to sue.

Roughly 200 House and Senate Democrats filed their own lawsuit in June 2017, demanding that Trump obtain Congressional approval before accepting emoluments. That case is pending.

The case is District of Columbia et al v Trump, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland, No. 17-01596.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by James Dalgleish, Steve Orlofsky and Susan Thomas


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].

Send confidential news tips to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump pits Apollo 11 astronauts against NASA chief — he thinks he understands space travel better

Published

on

President Donald Trump welcomed surviving Apollo 11 crew members Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the White House Friday, using the occasion to tell his space chief he would prefer to go straight to Mars without returning to the Moon.

It is a theme he had touched upon earlier this month in a tweet, and this time drew on the support of the two former astronauts, who are taking part in celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of their mission, to make his case to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.

"To get to Mars, you have to land on the Moon, they say," said Trump, without looking convinced.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Babies born near oil and gas wells are up to 70% more likely to have congenital heart defects, new study shows

Published

on

Researchers at the University of Colorado studied pregnant women who are among the 17 million Americans living within a mile from an active oil or gas well

Proximity to oil and gas sites makes pregnant mothers up to 70 percent more likely to give birth to a baby with congenital heart defects, according to a new study.

Led by Dr. Lisa McKenzie at the University of Colorado, researchers found that the chemicals released from oil and gas wells can have serious and potentially fatal effects on babies born to mothers who live within a mile of an active well site—as about 17 million Americans do.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Mueller testimony ‘is going to be a devastating day for the president’: former White House lawyer

Published

on

The eyes of the nation will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when former special counsel Robert Mueller publicly testifies before Congress.

Mueller, who was a federal prosecutor, top DOJ official, and director of the FBI before serving as special counsel, is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning and the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon.

"As Democrats prepare for the arrival of special counsel Robert Mueller on Capitol Hill next week, their plans for his day of wall-to-wall testimony is becoming clearer: if Donald Trump were anyone but the president, he would be charged with the crimes Mueller uncovered," MSNBC anchor Nicolle Wallace reported on Friday.

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image