Nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers have gained a legal ground to sue President Donald Trump on allegations that he violated the U.S. Constitution's “emoluments provision.” The provision bars the acceptance of gifts from foreign and domestic interests.
What does this mean?
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled Friday that Democrats may take their case to the courtroom, according to published reports. His ruling does not mean that Trump violated the Constitution.
Leading the case against Trump is Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. He and others involved in the lawsuit say Trump is still gaining income from his hotel business and other properties. That, they claim, is a violation of the Constitution.
Democrats involved in the lawsuit also maintain that Trump received “foreign government favors.” They claim one example is the Chinese government trademarks for his companies and room rentals at the Trump International hotel in Washington. Such arrangements, they say, further enrich the president.
What was the reaction?
“This is a bombshell victory enabling us to move forward to hold the president accountable for violating the chief corruption prohibition in the United States' Constitution,” Blumenthal told media after the ruling. “President Trump has been violating it repeatedly with impunity and now we as members need to hold him accountable.”
The lawmakers say they suffered an injury because the White House didn’t ask Congress for permission to accept gifts from foreign and domestic interests, according to Fox News.
Trump’s lawyers had maintained that the Democrats had no case because they were not personally injured by Trump.
Friday’s ruling did not take into account a motion by the Department of Justice to dismiss the case, Fox News reported.
It marked the second time a federal court chose to advance constitutional lawsuits against the president, which is “unprecedented,” the report stated.
In July, a federal judge in Maryland ruled that a similar lawsuit against Trump can move ahead, but only in connection with Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel.