A federal judge ruled Friday that over 200 Democratic representatives and senators can sue President TrumpDonald John TrumpTop consumer bureau official blasts colleague over blog posts dismissing racism Trump ‘baby blimp’ going to Washington state for Pence visit House GOP group cuts financial support for Coffman, Bishop MORE over claims he violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution regarding his businesses with foreign governments.
The clause states that an elected official cannot accept “any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
Democrats claim Trump is violating the clause whenever his hotels or golf courses receive payments from foreign governments because Trump still owns his stakes in them.
“[T]he Court finds that the plaintiffs have standing to sue the President for allegedly violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan wrote in response to the suit, which was brought forward by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerJudge rules Dems can sue Trump over alleged emoluments clause violations Democrats’ efforts to protect Mueller fail on the floor Rep. Jerry Nadler calls on Senate Republicans to interview all of Kavanaugh’s accusers MORE (D-N.Y.).
“Plaintiffs argue that each Member of Congress suffers a particularized and concrete injury when his or her vote is nullified by the President’s denial of the opportunity to vote on the record about whether to approve his acceptance of a prohibited foreign emolument,” Sullivan explained.
A judge in July shot down a request from Trump to block a similar suit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia. That case is ongoing.
After the 2016 presidential election, Trump broke with precedent by refusing to divest his stakes in his businesses. He instead placed his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons.
Critics have since claimed that Trump’s properties benefit from his contacts with foreign governments, including his hotel in Washington, which has hosted multiple foreign delegations.