Federal Judge Allows Democrats to Pursue Lawsuit Against Trump Based on Foreign Gifts

Certain Democrat members of Congress are suing President Donald Trump for constitutional violations related to gifts from foreign governments to his businesses. Their argument is based on the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Despite resistance from Trump’s lawyers, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. has decided that the case can proceed.

District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan found that the plaintiffs have stated a valid cause of action, since the Emoluments Clause should be interpreted generously to impose a broad ban on foreign gifts. He relied in part on a decision by a judge in a Maryland federal court, who had weighed another Emoluments Clause case against Trump.

However, the ultimate fate of this lawsuit remains uncertain. While the judge in the parallel Maryland case allowed attorneys general to proceed with collecting evidence for the case, Trump’s legal team succeeded in stalling it. They asked a federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia to examine the plaintiffs’ case further, and that case remains under review.

Read the case documents for the Washington, D.C. case here at the Justia site.

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