A week ago, President Trump was issued a summons as a part of a lawsuit alleging that he violated and continues to violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.
The clause in question forbids elected officials from accepting gifts or money from foreign officials, thus preventing the outright bribing of the U.S. government. Since Trump took office, his international company — which is still run by his children — has been a major source of concern for watchdogs who worry that foreign governments now have an easy means of funneling money right into the hands of the Trump family in return for favors.
The lawsuit was filed by the Attorneys General of Washington D.C. and Maryland and takes aim at Donald Trump in his “official capacity and in his individual capacity.” It alleges that the aforementioned watchdog concerns are not only valid but urgent. It states that business in D.C. and Maryland are suffering because visitors are instead opting to patronize Trump establishments to please the president.
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Now, a federal judge has ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, reports CNN.However, Judge Peter Messitte of the U.S. District Court of Maryland also said that the suit must focus strictly on the Trump Organization’s activity in Washington D.C., which includes the Trump International Hotel. Trump’s other properties like Mar-a-Lago will fall outside the purview of the lawsuit.
Messitte seemed to be at least partially sympathetic to the plaintiffs.
“[A] large number of Maryland and District of Columbia residents are being affected and will continue to be affected when foreign and state governments choose to stay, host events, or dine at the Hotel rather than at comparable Maryland or District of Columbia establishments, in whole or in substantial part simply because of the President’s association with it,” Messitte wrote.
The overarching issue of emoluments violations could have been avoided entirely if Trump had simply agreed to divest from his company. His decision not to speaks volumes about his priorities. Trump wanted to be president to stroke his ego, yes, but he also knew it would prove to be a huge boom for his sprawling, corrupt empire.
Hopefully, this lawsuit picks up steam. Trump is abusing his office on a daily basis to enrich himself and his family, and the American people so far have been unable to do anything but look on helplessly. It’s bad enough that we have to watch him run our country into the ground. Allowing him to get richer while he does it is just salting the wound.