A lawsuit filed by attorneys general in Maryland and Washington D.C. alleging that Donald Trump violated the Constitution will continue, the Washington Post reports, despite Trump’s efforts to dismiss the case.
U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has agreed to hear a case arguing that, by overseeing the Trump Organization, which conducts business overseas, Trump broke a set of obscure anti-corruption laws known as the Emoluments Clauses that bar public officials from accepting payments from foreign officials. (He resigned from the business, but this means nothing, as he has not fully divested). According to the Post, this appears to be the “first time the first time a federal judge had interpreted those Constitutional provisions and applied their restrictions to a sitting president.”
From the Post:
Messitte’s 52-page opinion said that, in the modern context, the Constitution’s ban on “emoluments” could apply to Trump — that it could cover any business transactions with foreign governments where Trump derived a “profit, gain or advantage.”
“This includes profits from private transactions, even those involving services given at fair market value,” Messitte wrote.
“In sum, Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that the President has been receiving or is potentially able to receive ‘emoluments’ . . . in violation of the Constitution,” Messitte wrote.
The Justice Department, which is reviewing the decision and may appeal, released a statement saying, “We continue to maintain that this case should be dismissed.”
Trump’s previous defense has been “I have a no-conflict situation because I’m president,” which makes absolutely no sense, unless of course by “president” he means “man who is above the law.”
I ask, again: is it crime time yet?