A federal judge has denied a motion by Donald Trump’s lawyers to dismiss an emoluments claim against the president filed by House Democrats. Trump’s team argued that the Constitution’s ban on accepting foreign gifts applied only to Trump’s acts as president, and that Trump as business owner could accept whatever foreign cash he wanted. U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan shot that one down as “unpersuasive.”
Sullivan noted that without seeking permission from Congress, the president has received payments for hotel rooms and events from foreign governments, as well as licensing fees paid by foreign governments for his show “The Apprentice” and intellectual property rights from China.
That Trump is receiving those foreign payments is incontestable; his legal argument that foreign supplicants are merely supporting his business ventures, not seeking to influence his presidency with those payments, was sketchy at best.
It is extremely likely that the Supreme Court will eventually weigh in on this one. Whether they will bypass the normal appeals process to do it is unknown.
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