WASHINGTON (WJZ) — The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday granted President Donald Trump a victory, dismissing a lawsuit brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia accusing the president of violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause.
At the center of the lawsuit was whether the president’s continued ownership of his businesses, including a hotel in the nation’s capital, allowed him to make money from foreign and domestic interests in violation of the Constitution.
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The three-judge panel voted unanimously in Trump’s favor, saying the District and Maryland lack standing to bring the suit against the president both in his official capacity and as an individual.
The lawsuit alleged Trump was benefiting and continued to benefit from foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Georgia and Kuwait, holding events at the Trump International Hotel, among other properties.
As a result, the District and Maryland said facilities in which they have a public interest, including the Montgomery County Conference Center, D.C. Armory and Walter E. Washington Convention Center, were at a competitive disadvantage.
The court rejected claims that governments or groups trying to curry favor with the president would patronize his businesses, saying there was also a possibility that some officials would avoid Trump’s properties because he owned them.
“Even if government officials were patronizing the Hotel to curry the President’s favor, there is no reason to conclude that they would cease doing so were the President enjoined from receiving income from the Hotel,” the court said in its decision.
Trump claimed victory in a pair of tweets late Wednesday morning, calling the suit “ridiculous” and “a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt.”
“I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President,” Trump tweeted.
….serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2019
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said he felt the court made the wrong decision, releasing a statement reading:
“We think that this panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals got it wrong. Although the court described a litany of ways in which this case is unique, it failed to acknowledge the most extraordinary circumstance of all: President Trump is brazenly profiting from the Office of the President in ways that no other President in history ever imagined and that the founders expressly sought—in the Constitution—to prohibit. We have not and will not abandon our efforts to hold President Trump accountable for violating the Nation’s original anti-corruption laws. We believe that the federal trial judge correctly decided that the plaintiffs have standing — and that discovery should go forward on President Trump’s receipt of emoluments. All Americans suffer when our chief executive is vulnerable to corrupt foreign influence. The idea that the District of Columbia and Maryland are not harmed by the President’s violation of the Constitution is plain error. We will continue to pursue our legal options to hold him accountable.”