Federal Appeals Court Hands Win to Trump in Hotel 'Emoluments' Case

Members of Maine Gov. Paul LePage's travel group spent four nights at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in February 2017 at a time when the governor met with top administration officials and testified before Congress

Members of Maine Gov. Paul LePage's travel group spent four nights at the Trump International Hotel in Washington in February 2017 at a time when the governor met with top administration officials and testified before Congress

The lawsuit, brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., claimed that earnings from the hotel and its related businesses violated prohibitions against receiving benefits from foreign governments, the USA, or individual states.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously dropped the suit filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia, ruling that there was no legal standing for the plaintiffs to sue the president.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Department of Justice lawyers challenged a federal judge's decision to allow a case accusing Mr. Trump of profiting off the presidency to move forward, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to instead allow for a mid-case appeal or to dismiss the case outright.

Reacting to the decision, President Trump tweeted, "Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt". "Unanimous decision in my favor from The United States Court of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit on the ridiculous Emoluments Case", Mr. Trump wrote in one of two tweets. "I don't make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of.serving and doing a great job as your President (including accepting Zero salary!)".

A three-judge panel ruled the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington DC, who brought the lawsuit, do not have sufficient standing to bring the case.

That, they say, violates the "Emoluments Clauses" of the Constitution, which restrict the president from making money off the federal government beyond his official salary, and restrict him from accepting things of value from foreign governments.

"Even if government officials were patronising the hotel to curry the president's favour, there is no reason to conclude that they would cease doing so were the president enjoined from receiving income from the hotel".

Shortly before he becoming president, Mr Trump stepped back from running his company - the Trump Organization - however he still retains ownership of the real estate empire. Those included a claim that Trump's alleged receipt of emoluments redefined "the terms on which [Maryland] agreed to join the Union".

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In their June 2017 suit, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General, Brian Frosh accused the president of benefiting from the business of at least one USA state, violating the second of the constitution's two so-called emoluments clauses.

All three judges on the panel were nominated by Republican presidents: Paul Niemeyer, by George H.W. Bush; Dennis Shedd, by George W. Bush, and Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum, by Trump.

The president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, also praised the court's ruling, which he called a "complete victory".

The remaining lawsuit was brought by almost 200 congressional Democrats led by Sen.

In its decision, the appellate panel said the lawsuit by Maryland and Washington "amounts to little more than a general interest in having the law followed".

"There is a distinct possibility - which was completely ignored by the District and Maryland, as well as by the district court - that certain government officials might avoid patronizing the Hotel because of the President's association with it", the court said.

A general view of the Trump International Hotel, in Washington, D.C., on April 18, 2019.

The appeals court noted that writs of mandamus "are rarely given", but then accused the lower court judge of issuing a ruling that was "not 'guided by sound legal principles, ' but by 'whim'".

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