Judge hears arguments on Trump profit from foreign governments

A Maryland federal judge heard arguments in a case accusing President Donald Trump of violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign and state governments.

Lawyers for Maryland and the District of Columbia on Monday asserted in federal court that President Trump was “profiting on an unprecedented scale” from foreign government interests at his Washington, D.C., hotel, in violation of the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which bans payments to federal officials from foreign governments. Justice Department lawyers said Trump is doing nothing wrong when his hotel rents rooms to foreign officials, as long as he does not do favors for them in return. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, who will decide this summer whether the case can move forward, questioned the Justice Department’s take on the ban. If a foreign government rents rooms at the Trump hotel and touts it to get in good with Trump, “That’s not covered?” he asked.

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