The Trump administration continues to be mired in scandal as it moves forward. Those scandals encompass an array of issues, from the apparent connections to Russia on the part of the president’s team to the tangled web of connections within the private business world, connections that the president has refused to completely break upon taking office.
There’s now been a new development in a scandal related to the latter topic, with a federal judge ruling that a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland alleging that the president is violating the Constitution by continuing his connection to his businesses may proceed.
The lawsuit is over the fact that it’s not just anyone patronizing Trump businesses, especially these days. Rather, Trump businesses, like his hotel in the District of Columbia, remain poised to be utilized by political and social interests seeking to either gain or keep favor with the president. Although the president ceded executive control of his businesses, he maintains — as mentioned — his financial connections to the enterprise, which D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh allege violates the so-called “emoluments clause” of the Constitution.
There is one caveat to the Wednesday ruling from Judge Peter Messitte allowing the lawsuit from these attorneys general against the president to proceed. According to the judge, the attorneys general must focus on the Trump DC hotel and not include other Trump properties in their arguments.
In his ruling, although he didn’t directly rule on the merits of the allegations from the attorneys general that the president maintaining his connection to a DC hotel is hurting area businesses, Judge Messitte noted:
‘[A] large number of Maryland and District of Columbia residents are being affected and will continue to be affected when foreign and state governments choose to stay, host events, or dine at the [Trump] Hotel rather than at comparable Maryland or District of Columbia establishments, in whole or in substantial part simply because of the President’s association with it.’
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to comment on the litigation during her Wednesday appearance before reporters, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization commented by pointing to the fact that the judge in the case has apparently not yet ruled on “additional arguments,” as CNN describes.
As a part of this same lawsuit, the president was recently issued a court summons that his lawyers must reportedly respond to within three weeks.
This suit is hardly the only legal trouble facing the president that his lawyers have to deal with. Infamously at this point, the president and his legal team members are engaged in a legal battle with adult film star Stormy Daniels, who credibly alleges that she had an affair with the president.
The Trump team paid her $130,000 in hush money and made her sign a nondisclosure agreement covering the affair. She alleges the NDA is invalid because Trump never signed it, while the Trump team wants tens of millions of dollars in damages for her supposed breaches of the agreement.
The outcome of that legal battle remains to be seen.
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