Updated: April 30, 2019 / 8:32 PM
On Tuesday, a U.S. federal judge ruled that the Democrats in Congress can proceed with moving forward with their lawsuit which accuses President Donald Trump of violating the law by accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments through his businesses.
Emmet Sullivan, the U.S. District Judge, denied a motion by Trump to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed by 198 members of Congress. The lawmakers charged the president for violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which was set in place to prevent federal officeholders from accepting or receiving payments from foreign governments without the “consent” of Congress.
The constitutional provision is designed to prevent bribery and foreign influence.
In his 48-page decision, Sullivan said that he found Trump’s attempt to vaguely define the emoluments clause to be “unpersuasive and inconsistent.”
Sullivan claimed that he agreed with the congressional Democrats who brought the case and said that the clause should be read more broadly as barring an official from accepting payment of any sort whatsoever from a foreign state without congressional approval.
The lawsuit made by the congressional Democrats is just one of two other cases against Trump involving the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
As for the other cases involving Trump, the Democratic attorneys general in both Maryland and the District of Columbia challenged that Trump’s failure to disengage himself from his hotels and other businesses made him more vulnerable to inducements and bribery from foreign officials. Later, the case was narrowed down to focus on Trump’s hotel in Washington.
A federal judge involved with the case also rejected Trump’s narrow view that emoluments were limited primarily to outright bribes. However, an appeals court is now reviewing the case and has frozen evidence-gathering temporarily that could force disclosure of Trump’s financial records.