Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Elected officials cannot be sued because lawsuits are a 'distraction'

Now I made that up but it is a logical extension of what DoJ lawyers are arguing with respect to a suit against the president. Via his morning email report, Judd Legum at popular.info updates us on a lawsuit charging Trump with violations of the emoluments clause.

A bad day in court

Trump’s legal problems got worse on Tuesday – and it had nothing to do with the Mueller investigation. The development involves the lawsuit filed by the Attorneys General of Maryland and DC, which alleges that Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by profiting from his Washington DC hotel while in office.

A federal judge has allowed the case to proceed, which means the next stage is discovery where the Attorneys General get to collect information from Trump and his company that may be relevant to their case.

The AP reports they are planning on asking for a lot of information:

The subpoenas target 37 entities, including 13 Trump-linked entities and the federal agency that oversees the lease for Trump’s Washington hotel. Subpoenas were also being sent to the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture, all of which have spent taxpayer dollars at the hotel or have information on Trump’s finances relevant to the case.

Other Trump entities that officials plan to subpoena include those related to his Washington hotel and its management.

The Justice Department filed a motion last Friday “indicating it plans to challenge the Maryland judge’s decision to allow the case to move forward.” Government lawyers claim the case would “be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties.”

This is a constitutional crisis unfolding in real time. A “distraction”? Versus a violation of a constitutional prohibition against using the office of the president for self-enrichment? This is increasingly becoming a test of our national character. If the “distraction” defense is allowed to stand, then where does it stop? The VP? A senator? A DoD accountant?

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