Rule of Law

Judge: Congress Can Sue Trump Over Foreign Payments

A federal district court judge in Washington has ruled that a group of nearly 200 members of Congress has legal standing to proceed with its lawsuit against President Donald Trump.

The lawmakers are accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says federal officials cannot earn profits or receive gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan made the ruling Friday.

Trump has businesses around the world, including a hotel in Washington where foreign dignitaries often stay on official visits to the White House.

The president maintains ownership of his businesses, but has ceded day-to-day control to his sons. Critics say that is not a sufficient safeguard.

Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a Washington-based liberal legal organization representing the lawmakers, said “By recognizing that members of Congress have standing to sue, the court proved to all in America today that no one is above the law, not even the president.”

The Department of Justice said the government “will continue to defend the president in court.”

Friday’s ruling was the second time a federal judge has found that plaintiffs have grounds to proceed with an emoluments case against the president.