DOJ lawyers seek to stop release of Trump financial records

Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers have filed a request in federal court to halt a lawsuit surrounding President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency MORE’s hotel in Washington, D.C., while they file an appeal, a move that would stop the release of the property’s financial records.

The request was made to U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, who last month ruled that the lawsuit — alleging that Trump was profiting from foreign governments spending money at his D.C. hotel in violation of the Emoluments Clause — could move forward.

DOJ lawyers argued that conducting discovery, including the release of the financial records on Trump and his properties, on a sitting president could trigger “significant separation-of-powers concerns.”

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“Moreover, the public interest is decidedly in favor of a stay because any discovery would necessarily be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties,” the document states.

Officials in Maryland and D.C. have sought financial records on Trump and his properties. They argue, as alleged in the lawsuit, that Trump has personally benefitted from his presidency and is harming other competing businesses.

"After winning two major rulings in this case already, we anticipated President Trump's most recent motion,” D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press. “Nonetheless, our case is still moving forward. We are on track to propose a schedule for discovery by September 14, and we hope to request relevant documents shortly thereafter."

Trump has faced several legal challenges alleging that he is violating the Emoluments Clause, which blocks elected officials from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

The president handed oversight of his businesses to his adult sons before he took office last year.