A D.C. federal judge refused to throw out a lawsuit brought by congressional Democrats accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
In a 48-page opinion Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan denied a motion from Trump to dismiss the case. Trump’s argument rested on a narrow definition of “emolument.” The judge found that argument unpersuasive.
“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,” Sullivan wrote.
Congressional Democrats sued Trump in June 2017, alleging that profits he received from his hotels that came from foreign government visitors constituted a violation of the emoluments clause, which prohibits presidents from receiving gifts or things of value from foreign governments.