May 1, 2019

Federal judge rules Dems can pursue emoluments suit against Trump

Trump Hotel. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled on Tuesday that Democrats can move forward with a lawsuit against President Trump alleging the Trump Organization is in breach of the Constitution's restriction on emoluments — gifts and payments — from foreign governments, the Washington Post reports.

The backdrop: Led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), nearly 200 Congressional Democrats filed suit last year, requesting that the court demand Trump no longer take funds that may be in violation of the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause. The provision exists to protect against foreign influence.


  • Sullivan stated that the president had received payments from foreign governments for Trump hotel rooms and events without seeking prior approval from Congress. The judge also noted Trump has licensed his show “The Apprentice” and received payments from China for intellectual property rights.
  • Sullivan provided an expansive definition of the anti-corruption ban, potentially giving Congressional Democrats the ability to demand details about Trump's private businesses.
  • It is possible that the Justice Department could impede the process by seeking an appeal.

Why it matters: This case — which could ultimately land in the Supreme Court — represents the first time federal judges have interpreted such previously esoteric clauses and applied constraints to a sitting president. It could carve a conceivable path for the president's opponents to finally access his finances.

Go deeper

Peter Navarro defends hydroxychloroquine use in heated CNN interview

White House economic adviser Peter Navarro defended the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus during a CNN interview Monday, highlighting "the possibility" that it has therapeutic efficacy.

Why it matters: Navarro did not deny reporting from Axios' Jonathan Swan that he got into a heated exchange in the White House Situation Room over the weekend with infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci about the drug's prospects against the illness.

Special report: Health care workers vs. coronavirus

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images, and Europa Press News/Europa Press via Getty Images

Health care workers are at an especially high risk of catching the coronavirus, because of their prolonged exposure to patients who have it. Making matters worse, the U.S. doesn't have enough of the protective equipment, like masks and gloves, that keeps them safe.

  • And yet these workers, with loved ones of their own, keep showing up at hospitals across the country, knowing that more Americans than they can possibly care for are depending on them.
Go deeperArrow48 mins ago - Health

Backed by the Fed, bond investors get bullish

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed's massive injections of liquidity have reopened much of the bond market, and after back-to-back weeks in which more than $100 billion flowed out of bond funds, investors have regained their bearings and now see opportunity.

What's happening: But after the hemorrhaging outflows relented last week, bulls may now be sticking their heads out a bit too far. Junk bond funds took in more than $7 billion for the week ended April 1, according to Refinitiv Lipper, setting a new weekly record.