Rule of Law

Appeals court declines to dismiss Trump emoluments case

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., declined to dismiss an emoluments lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Friday, hours before a lower court judge halted congressional Democrats’ attempts to subpoena records in the case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected the Department of Justice’s attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed, saying the Trump administration didn’t lay out a “clear and indisputable right to dismissal of the complaint.”

Some 200 congressional Democrats sued Trump last year, accusing him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments and earning profits from Trump International Hotel.

The Justice Department asked for the dismissal, saying the Democrats’ lawsuit relies “on a host of novel and flawed constitutional premises” that require “intrusive” probing into Trump’s personal finances. The subpoenas would like cause “irreparable injury,” the administration said.

Later Friday, District Judge Emmet Sullivan put a temporary halt on Democrats’ subpoenas of the Trump Organization’s financial records. He did so because the appeals court said it would hear the case prior to the collection of the documents.

The Democrats issued 37 subpoenas earlier this month seeking information from Trump’s businesses, including the Trump Organization, Trump Tower, his hotels in New York and Washington, D.C., and his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.

The subpoenas, issued by the Constitutional Accountability Center, which is representing the group of Democrats including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and House judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., demanded evidence about Trump’s financial records by July 29.

This isn’t the only emoluments case that’s been brought against Trump. On July 10, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a separate lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland. The panel said they couldn’t show that Trump’s ownership of the hotels created competition with other similar businesses like convention centers.