Trump handed a victory by appeals court in DC hotel lawsuit


A federal appeals court Wednesday sided with President Trump, dismissing a lawsuit claiming the president is illegally profiting from foreign and state government visitors at his luxury hotel in downtown Washington.

In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, two of the leading plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Trump is improperly profiting from his position as president through his private business, said that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals "got it wrong" in Wednesday's decision.

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled in favor of President Trump's business interests, tossing a lawsuit brought by Maryland and Washington, D.C.

He touted his win over the "deep state" and the "Democrat induced witch hunt". Justice Department attorneys representing President Trump asked the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene and halt the "extraordinary case", as they called it. "I don't make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!)". In addition to the pending Congressional case, federal judges in Washington and NY have rejected Trump's attempts to quash Congressional subpoenas for financial information from his accounting firm and two banks. The appeals court fulfilled both requests, dismissing the complaint with prejudice.

The so-called Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution prohibits a president from any "profit, gain, or advantage" received "directly or indirectly" from government workers.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal sued in federal court in D.C., and he's won several initial rulings, including that Mr. Trump's income from his hotels counts as emoluments. Rejecting the trial judge's findings, the three-judge panel found that the plaintiffs did not have standing and chose to dismiss the case.

The president has stepped back from day-to-day management of the Trump International Hotel and his other businesses, but he maintains ownership.

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The third major lawsuit was brought by the attorneys general in D.C. and Maryland, who argued their states' business interests competed with Trump properties. Trump appealed that ruling to the Fourth Circuit.

After all, as the court wrote, "there is a distinct possibility" that "certain government officials might avoid patronizing the Hotel because of the President's association with it". Racine has said that if the panel ruled against Maryland and the District, the legal team would seriously consider asking for a rehearing before the full 4th Circuit.

All three judges on the panel were nominated by Republican presidents: Paul Niemeyer, by George H.W. Bush; Dennis Shedd, by George W. Bush, and Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum, by Trump.

The suit contended it wasn't clear whether Trump is making decisions in the country's best interest or out of "self-interested motivations grounded in the global and domestic business dealings in which President Trump's personal fortune is at stake".

The pair said they would continue their legal efforts to "hold President Trump accountable" for what they viewed as his violation of the emoluments clauses. All Americans suffer when our chief executive is vulnerable to corrupt foreign influence.

The appeals court was specifically reviewing whether Maryland and D.C. had legal grounds, or standing, to sue the president in the first place.