Rule of Law

Blumenthal Likely to See Elevated Profile in 2019, as Dems Investigate Trump

Even though Connecticut’s senior senator will still be in the minority in the upper chamber, expect his lawsuits against Trump and his administration to get more attention in 2019.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has seen his national profile rise in the Trump era, using his attorney-general experience to file lawsuits against the administration and his media experience to take the fight to Trump on television.

Expect to see more of Blumenthal in 2019 and 2020, especially because Democrats in the House will start new investigations into the president, his family, and his administration.

Blumenthal is currently the lead plaintiff in at least two high-profile lawsuits targeting Trump or his actions.

One, Blumenthal, et al. v. Trump, concerns the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause. Blumenthal and the plaintiffs allege Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting foreign emoluments through his many existing businesses.

The Constitutional Accountability Center summarized where the lawsuit stands:

On September 28, 2018, the United States District Court of the District of Columbia ruled that the plaintiffs have standing to sue President Trump for violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause. The district court concluded that Trump’s alleged acceptance of foreign emoluments without congressional consent injures the plaintiffs in their capacities as legislators by denying them specific voting opportunities to which they are entitled by the Constitution—opportunities to cast binding votes either approving or rejecting specific foreign emoluments before the President accepts them. While President Trump argued that the case should be dismissed because Congress has political remedies available to stop him from accepting foreign emoluments, the district court disagreed, finding that these purported remedies are “clearly inadequate.”

Having concluded that plaintiffs have standing, the district court is now considering the second part of the President’s motion to dismiss, that is, whether the benefits he has been accepting qualify as “emoluments” within the meaning of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.

Blumenthal also just became the lead plaintiff in another lawsuit gaining national attention. He and two other senators have filed a complaint against Trump and Matt Whittaker, the acting attorney general. The plaintiffs allege Trump’s appointment of Whittaker violates the Senate’s right to advise and consent to the appointment of any “principal officers” of the president.

Blumenthal’s lawsuits will likely get plenty of mention by House Democrats as they hold hearings into Trump’s activities. And the senior senator will likely continue to be a presence on national TV, having made several appearances on both CNN and MSNBC over the last two years.

Expect Blumenthal and his junior colleague, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), to keep Connecticut on the national map in 2019 and beyond.