Judge rejects Trump attempt to push off Democrats' Emoluments Clause lawsuit

A federal judge on Tuesday rejected an attempt by President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE to stave off a lawsuit alleging that he is in violation of the Emoluments Clause.

Judge Emmet Sullivan turned down a motion from the Department of Justice (DOJ) for an appeals court to review his previous rulings that the lawsuit, brought forward by roughly 200 Democratic members of Congress, can advance.

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DOJ lawyers had argued that an appellate court should re-examine the rulings, saying that if the higher court found that the members of Congress did not have the power to sue the president, the lawsuit could be dismissed.

They also claimed that if the appeals court sided with their definition of the Emoluments Clause in the lawsuit, the complaint could be significantly narrowed.

Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, wrote that “the President has failed to meet his burden of establishing ‘that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.’”

He rejected much of the DOJ’s legal reasoning, finding that the cases they cited as examples of where a review by an appeals court was necessary were not similar enough to this lawsuit.

The Democrats first filed the lawsuit in 2017, alleging that Trump was in violation of the Constitution by continuing to profit from foreign businesses while he is in office.

But the Justice Department, which is representing Trump in the lawsuit, has argued that Trump needs to be directly receiving profits or gifts from foreign governments in exchange for actions he takes as president in order to be in violation of the Emoluments Clause. That clause requires congressional approval of any gifts received by the president from foreign governments.

Sullivan also noted in the order that there is an abbreviated schedule in place for filings on the lawsuit, meaning that he could be prepared to make a ruling in about six months.