Trump Seeks Emoluments Ruling Reversal in Democrats' Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump wants permission to appeal a judge’s ruling allowing almost 200 Congressional Democrats to sue him for receiving financial benefits from foreign governments through his businesses without their permission.

A federal judge in Washington last month said lawmakers led by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut may pursue their case. They’re seeking a court order requiring Trump to first come to Congress for permission to profit from foreign governments, saying he must do so under one of the Constitution’s emoluments clauses.

Trump has said he stepped down from running his $3 billion empire but retained his ownership stakes, including the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which opened two blocks from the White House in October 2016 and has since become a destination for foreign dignitaries. The Trump International Hotel in Manhattan, according to the Washington Post, has hosted officials from Saudi Arabia, whose account of the recent slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is now under scrutiny by Trump and other world leaders.

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan denied the Justice Department’s request to toss the case in a ruling that didn’t address whether money flowing into Trump’s companies from foreign governments actually qualifies as emoluments. Because his ruling came at a preliminary stage of the lawsuit, Trump can’t file an appeal without the judge’s OK.

"The case presents the extraordinary circumstance of a suit by members of the legislative branch against the sitting president of the United States for alleged violations of the Constitution," Trump’s lawyers said in a filing late Monday, adding that it poses a threat to the principles of separation of powers and should be reviewed by a higher court before it moves ahead.

The case is Blumenthal v. Trump, 17-cv-1154, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.