Judge green lights congressional Democrats' emoluments lawsuit against Trump

President Trump's business which he still owns has hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials at its downtown D.C. hotel

President Trump's business which he still owns has hosted foreign embassy events and visiting foreign officials at its downtown D.C. hotel

Sullivan said that if the allegations made by Democratic lawmakers are true, "the President is accepting prohibited foreign emoluments without asking and without receiving a favorable reply from Congress", a violation of the Constitution.

In a conference call with reporters Friday evening, Blumenthal called the decision "a major breakthrough" and "a milestone triumph for the rule of law". Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, told the Associated Press.

The Department of Justice, which is representing Trump in the case, said in a statement that it will continue to fight the lawsuit. But the Democratic members of Congress said the president had effectively nullified their votes by not giving them anything to vote on.

Trump's attorneys have argued that the president is not in violation of the clause because the money received through his business does not constitute an emolument.

In other words, the Democrats argue, members of Congress must vote to consent to whether a president can keep a gift or thing of value from a foreign power, and they couldn't do so if they didn't know about the payments. Richard Blumenthal of CT the almost 200 Democrats in Congress who claim the president is continuing to gain income from his hotel business and other properties, in violation of the Constitution.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization did not return an immediate request for comment from CNN on Friday night.

Although Trump has given up day-to-day management of his businesses, some properties that he still owns benefit from investments or business from foreign governments, particularly his D.C. hotel, which has hosted leaders from Kuwait, Malaysia and other countries. It's a visible issue, as some foreign dignitaries pay to stay at Trump's hotel while on official visits to the White House. Justice Department lawyers in that case say the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms at his hotel in the capital because he is not trading favors in exchange for a benefit.

The lawmakers are the second set of plaintiffs to gain standing in an emoluments case against Trump.

"Accordingly, if these plaintiffs do not have standing to bring their claims to address their alleged injury, it is unlikely that another plaintiff would, rendering the Clause unenforceable against the President except via impeachment", Sullivan wrote.

The judge's ruling was welcomed by Laurence Tribe, a constitutional scholar who has been fighting the president in court and on Twitter.

The media and protesters start to gather in front of the Trump Tower in Vancouver before the inauguration ceremeony for the Trump International Hotel and Tower on February 28, 2017.

Last month, Justice Department attorneys in that case asked a federal judge to halt proceedings, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would "be a distraction to the President's performance of his constitutional duties".

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