Jul 10, 2019

Federal appeals court sides with Trump in emoluments suit over D.C. hotel

Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in favor of President Trump on Wednesday, dismissing a lawsuit accusing the president of illegally profiting from links to foreign and state governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The suit attempted to use the Constitution's emoluments clause, which gives Congress the authority to review a president's financial relationships with foreign nations, as a way to obtain information regarding his private businesses, which the president has refused to release.

  • A separate lawsuit from congressional Democrats is also working its way through the courts, alleging that Trump has broken the emoluments clause and seeking information on The Trump Organization.

The state of play: The three 4th Circuit judges said the proponents of the suit, which was brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia, lacked legal standing.

  • The court's decision also halts numerous subpoenas that have been issued to both the federal government and Trump's businesses for additional financial information about the hotel.

Go deeper: Justice Dept. seeks to block Democrats' subpoenas for Trump businesses

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Democratic state AGs are leading the Resistance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

State attorneys general have become some of the most powerful forces fighting the Trump White House — pushing back against its agenda on hot topics like immigration, energy, health care and more.

Why it matters: With little legislative action happening in Congress, the executive branch has taken into its own hands implementing the White House agenda. Those efforts have been increasingly challenged by attorneys general — usually Democrats — and some have been blocked by the courts.

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019

FEC considers making "valuable information" a campaign contribution

Donald Trump Jr. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced Wednesday that it is seeking public comments on a rule-making petition that would define "valuable information" as an official campaign contribution that must be regulated.

Why it matters: It is already illegal for campaigns to accept foreign contributions, so if passed, this rule would institute an outright ban on campaigns accepting unregulated "foreign" and "compromising" information, according to the proposed guidelines. President Trump told ABC's George Stephanopoulos last month that if a foreign government offered dirt on a political opponent, "I think I'd take it."

Go deeperArrowJul 31, 2019

Trump sues House Democrats to block release of state tax returns

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the House Ways and Means Committee, New York Attorney General Letitia James and New York tax commissioner Michael Schmidt in an effort to block them from releasing his state tax returns.

The big picture: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month signed a bill known as the TRUST Act that would permit tax officials to turn over Trump's state tax returns to any one of three congressional committees. Trump's lawsuit alleges that the House Ways and Means Committee's invocation of the TRUST Act would "lack a legitimate legislative purpose" and that the law itself violates the First Amendment because the state of New York "enacted it to discriminate and retaliate against President Trump for his speech and politics."

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019