(Bloomberg) -- A U.S. judge put congressional Democrats’ efforts to probe Donald Trump’s finances on hold after an appeals court rebuke.
A federal appeals court in Washington said U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan abused his discretion when refused to allow the president to immediately appeal his ruling against Trump’s arguments that he can’t be sued under the Foreign Emoluments Clause -- and that the Congressional Democrats lack standing to sue over it. The panel told Sullivan to reconsider.
“The district court did not adequately address whether -- given the separation of powers issues present in a lawsuit brought by members of the Legislative Branch against the President of the United States -- resolving the legal questions and/or postponing discovery would be preferable,” the three-judge panel of the appeals court said Friday. The judges said the questions would be best resolved through an expedited appeal, rather than after putting Trump through the process of evidence gathering and additional court proceedings in the lower court.
All three judges on the panel were appointed by former President Barack Obama.
After the ruling, Sullivan reversed his earlier decision letting the Democrats pursue records from Trump’s businesses, including his luxury hotel located just blocks from the White House. The president’s lawyers claim commercial payments, such as golf course fees and hotel tabs, aren’t regulated by the Constitution.
The Democrats are suing to enforce a requirement of the Foreign Emoluments clause that the president secure permission from Congress before accepting payments from foreign governments.
The case is Blumenthal v. Trump, 17-cv-1154, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
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