Court says Trump cannot dodge emoluments suit

In a legal set-back for President Donald Trump, a federal appeals court in New York on Friday revived a lawsuit alleging Trump has been illegally profiting from his hotels and other businesses. The lawsuit centers on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments. The suit – brought by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington – had previously been thrown out because the plaintiffs could not prove they were directly harmed. Friday’s ruling does not address whether Trump violated the law, but affirms that the case should go forward. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment. Unlike past presidents, Trump has retained ownership of his real estate empire while in office, drawing a chorus of critics… They say Trump’s failure to disentangle himself from his business empire, has made him vulnerable to potential influence by foreign governments. His Trump International Hotel in Washington sits just blocks from the White House. It opened shortly before Trump was elected and has welcomed officials from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Malaysia. Trump also continues to operate his members-only Mar A Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, while referring to it as the Southern White House. Vice President Mike Pence recently drew fire for staying at a Trump property in Doonbeg, Ireland, even though the property was some 180 miles away from Pence’s meetings in the capital Dublin. A Pence official said that Trump had suggested Pence stay at the property, though Trump later denied it. That stay is now the subject of a congressional investigation.

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