Democrats subpoena Trump businesses in Emoluments Clause lawsuit

Lawyers for more than 200 Democratic members of Congress have served subpoenas to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House MORE’s businesses as part of their lawsuit alleging Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause.

The Democrats said in a press release that they have issued 37 judicial subpoenas to Trump’s private businesses, including the Trump Organization, seeking information on payments from foreign governments.


The announcement came just hours after the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked a federal appeals court to block the lawsuit from advancing, following a district judge's ruling last month that the proceedings could move forward.

The DOJ and the Trump Organization did not immediately reply to requests for comment from The Hill.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the lawmakers “are seeking a targeted set of documents to obtain the information that we need to ensure that the President can no longer shirk his constitutional responsibility.”

“Thanks to the good work of the press, we already know of foreign emoluments that President Trump has and is receiving — we simply don’t yet know the full scope of his lawbreaking,” Blumenthal continued. “Unsurprisingly, the Trump administration is still seeking to delay, delay, delay, but we are confident that the D.C. Circuit will recognize the well-reasoned logic of the district court, and allow discovery to proceed.”

And House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary Committee postpones hearing with Barr amid coronavirus outbreak House Democrats plead with key committee chairman to allow remote voting amid coronavirus pandemic Pelosi rejects calls to shutter Capitol: 'We are the captains of this ship' MORE (D-N.Y.) said that Trump “has flagrantly ignored the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, but we do not yet know the extent of his violations.”

“We are taking an important step towards obtaining key documents to understand the full scope of Trump’s foreign business dealings,” Nadler said in a statement.

The group of more than 200 Democratic lawmakers first filed the lawsuit more than two years ago, alleging that Trump was violating the Emoluments Clause by continuing to profit from foreign governments while in office. The Constitution states that Congress must vote on any gifts a president receives from foreign officials.

But the Justice Department has fought back, arguing that the lawmakers can’t sue in the first place and that their interpretation of the clause is incorrect.

D.C. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Clinton appointee, has sided with the Democrats so far in ruling that the lawsuit can advance.

But lawyers for the DOJ filed a motion with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier Monday, asking the higher court to block the lawsuit from advancing and potentially dismiss it altogether.

House Democrats have sought Trump’s private financial records as part of their congressional oversight, but the president has sued to try to block them from getting their hands on the documents.

The House Ways and Means Committee, led by Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealProcedural politics: What just happened with the coronavirus bill? Democrats eye additional relief checks for coronavirus Judge puts new hold on Democrats' lawsuit seeking Trump tax returns MORE (D-Mass.), also filed a lawsuit last week to compel the Treasury Department to hand over Trump's federal tax returns.