Lawyers for the Justice Department are arguing that President Trump isn’t violating a Constitutional provision that bars federal officials from accepting payments from foreign governments because the clause doesn’t apply to certain transactions.
In a new brief asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit brought against Trump by ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), DOJ lawyers contend that the foreign emoluments clause doesn’t apply to “fair-market commercial transactions” like payments for hotel rooms and golf club fees, according to Bloomberg.
Trump administration lawyers also argue that CREW and other plaintiffs lack legal standing to bring the case against Trump and that Congress, not the court system, should determine whether Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause.
“We did not want to get to this point. It was our hope that President Trump would take the necessary steps to avoid violating the Constitution before he took office,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said at the time.
“He did not. His constitutional violations are immediate and serious, so we were forced to take legal action.”
The lawsuit has since added several new plaintiffs, including an association of restaurants and restaurant workers and a woman who books banquet halls for Washington, D.C., hotels.
BY BRANDON CARTER – 06/09/17 07:54 PM EDT