A federal judge is allowing Maryland and the District of Columbia to proceed with their lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of unconstitutionally accepting gifts from foreign and state interests through his Washington hotel. The decision Wednesday clears the way for the plaintiffs to seek financial records from the president's company.
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte rejected arguments from the Justice Department that earnings from business activities, including hotel room stays, do not qualify as unconstitutional gifts.
At issue is the Constitution's "emoluments" clause, which bans federal officials from accepting benefits from foreign or state governments without congressional approval. The plaintiffs argue Trump's hotel harms area businesses because of the president's ties.
Two other emoluments lawsuits are also moving through federal courts.