Statement from AG Racine on Court's Historic Ruling in Emoluments Lawsuit

WASHINGTON, D. C. – Attorney General Karl A. Racine issued a statement on today’s favorable ruling from a federal court in the lawsuit brought by the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland seeking to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution’s anti-corruption provisions. In allowing the suit to move forward, today’s ruling holds that the President is subject to both the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution and that the term “emolument” in both Clauses extends to any profit, gain, or advantage, of more than de minimis value, received by President Trump, directly or indirectly, from foreign, the federal, or domestic governments. AG Racine’s statement on the court’s ruling is below:

“Today’s historic ruling is a substantial step forward to ensure President Trump stops violating our nation’s original anti-corruption laws. The Constitution is clear: the president can’t accept money or other benefits from foreign or domestic governments.

“Specifically, the Court agreed with our position that President Trump cannot accept profits from private transactions, including those involving services given at fair market value, like those we allege are occurring at the Trump International Hotel here in the District. 

"We sued because this corruption is taking place in our backyard, and because 325 million Americans shouldn’t have to wonder if the president is putting his personal financial interests ahead of the national interest.

“Our team is working hard to stop President Trump from unlawfully profiting from the presidency. We are gratified by today’s ruling and will vigorously pursue our case.”

For the first time in the history, a court has interpreted the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. In his opinion, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte agreed with the District and Maryland that an emolument encompasses any “profit,” “gain,” or “advantage,” including those from market-rate transactions. The ruling gives the green light for the case against President Trump to proceed, and the Court has ordered the parties to confer and submit a joint recommendation on next steps, including proposed discovery, within 21 days.

The Court’s opinion is available here:

The Court’s order is available here:

On June 12, 2017, Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump alleging that President Trump is violating the Constitution’s Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses by accepting payments from foreign and domestic governments through his businesses. In late March 2018, the lawsuit cleared an initial legal hurdle, when the United States District Court for the District of Maryland found the District and Maryland had legal standing to sue the president over the alleged violations. With today’s ruling, the District’s and Maryland’s legal teams will proceed with proving the constitutional violations we have alleged.  More information about the lawsuit, including a list of frequently asked questions, is available HERE.