First Judicial Subpoenas Served in Emoluments Lawsuit Brought by More Than 200 Lawmakers

First Judicial Subpoenas Served in Emoluments Lawsuit Brought by More Than 200 Lawmakers


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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After Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling allowing Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and more than 200 congressional plaintiffs to proceed with discovery in their effort to hold President Trump accountable for alleged violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution, 37 judicial subpoenas were issued to a number of Trump business enterprises, including the Trump Organization, seeking information about foreign government payments accepted by six Trump properties, as well as trademarks granted to Trump businesses by foreign governments.

In a ruling rejecting Trump’s attempts to delay discovery in the case, Judge Sullivan recognized that discovery and summary judgment briefing in the case can be complete by early next year.

In response, members of Congress said that they moved swiftly in serving targeted document requests for financial documents necessary to prove the allegations in the complaint that Trump is violating the Foreign Emoluments Clause, including corporate tax returns. The members of Congress are represented in this case by the Constitutional Accountability Center, a progressive think tank and law firm.

The Foreign Emoluments Clause holds that no officer of the federal government, including the president, may receive gifts or payments of value from foreign sources.

Because Trump never formally severed himself from his for-profit business ventures before being sworn in, his Washington Trump International Hotel just blocks from the White House is a prime source where the president can be collecting emoluments, as discovered by The Washington Post.

“Our goal is simple and straightforward – stopping President Trump from putting a ‘For Sale’ sign in Russian on the door to the Oval Office. Now that we have been rightfully granted the opportunity to proceed with discovery, we 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,” Blumenthal said. “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. 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.”

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