Since he took office and refused to divest from his businesses, Donald Trump has faced numerous emoluments violation claims. The majority of these alleged infractions concern what’s going on in the president’s Washington DC hotel.
A lawsuit was filed against Trump by a group made up of Democratic lawmakers in September of 2018. On Tuesday night, a federal judge declared that the group of congresspeople and senators could go ahead with their suit.
The Department of Justice lawyers had argued that, “the term ’emolument’ in the Constitution should be read narrowly to apply to payments that amounted to bribes for official presidential actions.” U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan disagreed with that claim.
Judge Sullivan wrote:
“In view of the overwhelming evidence pointing to over two hundred years of understanding the scope of the Clause to be broad to achieve its purpose of guarding against even the possibility of ‘corruption and foreign influence’ … the Court is persuaded that adopting plaintiffs’ broad definition of ‘Emolument’ ensures that the Clause fulfills this purpose.”
Democrats on the Hill were quick to celebrate the victory. Connecticut Senator, Richard Blumenthal said:
“This decision is a tremendous victory and vindication of a common sense reading of the Constitution in an extraordinarily well-reasoned opinion, the court soundly rejected the President’s absurd argument that he is above the law. The next step should be discovery and full disclosure of all the documents and evidence relevant to our emoluments claims.”
The DOJ vowed to continue to fight the lawsuit. Spokeswoman, Kelly Laco told reporters, “As we argued, we believe this case should be dismissed, and we will continue to defend the President in court.”