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District Judge, DC – Congressional Democrats’ emoluments lawsuit targeting President Trump’s private business can proceed

Washington Post – “Democrats in Congress can move ahead with their lawsuit against President Trump alleging that his private business violates the Constitution’s ban on gifts or payments from foreign governments, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. The decision in Washington from U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan adopted a broad definition of the anti-corruption ban and could set the stage for Democratic lawmakers to begin seeking information from the Trump Organization. The Justice Department can try to delay or block the process by asking an appeals court to intervene. In a 48-page opinion, the judge refused the request of the president’s legal team to dismiss the case and rejected Trump’s narrow definition of emoluments, finding it “unpersuasive and inconsistent.”

Memorandum & Opinion, BLUMENTHAL et al v. TRUMP, No. 1:17-cv-01154 (D.D.C. Apr 30, 2019): In its previous Opinion, the Court held that plaintiffs, approximately 201 Members of the 535 Members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives, had standing to sue defendant Donald J. Trump in his official capacity as President of the United States (“the President”) for alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause (“the Clause”). See Blumenthal v. Trump, 335 F. Supp. 3d 45, 72 (D.D.C. 2018) (“Blumenthal I”). The President has moved to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim because, inter alia, he contends that “Emolument” should be narrowly construed to mean “profit arising from an official’s services rendered pursuant to an office or employ.” Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss (“Mot. to Dismiss”), ECF No. 15-Case 1:17-cv-01154-EGS Document 67 Filed 04/30/19 Page 1 of 48 2 1 at 38.1 The President’s definition, however, disregards the ordinary meaning of the term as set forth in the vast majority of Founding-era dictionaries; is inconsistent with the text, structure, historical interpretation, adoption, and purpose of the Clause; and is contrary to Executive Branch practice over the course of many years…” [Document is via Brad Health, USA Today]

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