93°F
weather icon Clear

Panel orders federal judge to reconsider appeal from Trump

WASHINGTON — An appeals court on Friday ordered a federal judge to reconsider letting Justice Department lawyers immediately appeal a case that accuses President Donald Trump of profiting off the presidency.

The three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued the order, which included a reprimand of U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan for not adequately addressing key legal questions before him and thereby abusing his discretion to deny the appeal merely because the case would proceed quickly.

In response to the appeals court’s ruling, Sullivan on Friday immediately paused ongoing legal discovery — including 37 subpoena requests for information.

The Justice Department had asked the appeals court this month to allow an appeal or dismissal of the case before Sullivan. The effort came ahead of the imminent deadline for discovery at the end of this month, which would have forced Trump-related entities such as his New York and Washington hotels, Trump Tower, the Trump Organization and Mar-a-Lago to turn over business tax returns, receipts and other documents.

The lawsuit was brought by nearly 200 congressional Democrats led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, who is also chair of the House Judiciary Committee. It argues that Trump has been accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval. Trump, unlike modern presidents before him, has declined to fully divest from his businesses.

Ethics experts say the constitutional emoluments clause was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure that government officials act with the interests of the American public in mind instead of their own pocketbooks.

The Justice Department declined to comment Friday.

The Democrats’ attorney, Elizabeth Wydra, who is president of the nonprofit Constitutional Accountability Center, said the D.C. Circuit’s decision to return the case to Sullivan’s court for reconsideration of an early appeal was understandable, but it should be resolved quickly.

“The courts should not allow the president to run out the clock and evade accountability to his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution— which includes the Foreign Emoluments Clause,” Wydra said in a statement.

This was the second time Justice lawyers have petitioned a higher court to take up a case dealing with the emoluments clause, which bans government officials from accepting foreign gifts and money without Congress’ permission.

Earlier this month, that effort bore fruit when an appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, threw out a lawsuit on the same clause of the U.S. Constitution, unanimously overturning the ruling of a Maryland federal judge.

The Democrats’ attorneys have argued that Congress not only has a right but is required, as part of their jobs, to weigh in on potential emoluments to Trump, such as a $6.5 million condo purchase by the Qatari government or a Chinese government-owned company’s investment in a project that will include a Trump-branded hotel and golf course in Indonesia.

Justice Department lawyers have argued in court papers that the Democrats suing the president are not being injured by him at all but by their colleagues in Congress, who have refused to take up the emoluments issue. The Justice lawyers also contended that Trump’s business activity, such as hotel room earnings, doesn’t qualify under the constitutional definition of emoluments.

Also at question, as raised by the appeals court Friday and by Justice lawyers, is whether one branch of government can conduct discovery against the president in his official capacity.

Friday’s ruling was made by judges nominated by President Barack Obama in 2013 to the federal appeals court: Patricia Ann Millett, Cornelia Pillard and Robert Leon Wilkins.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Politics Videos
Media's Double Standard On Incitement And Trump - Video
Over the weekend, an Elizabeth Warren-supporting socialist who opposed gun violence used a rifle to commit a mass murder in Dayton, Ohio. The media has downplayed that aspect of the tragedy.
Project Our Care Tour Kicks Off In Las Vegas
U.S. Rep. Dina Titus joined health care advocates and local residents as part of Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kick off in Las Vegas on Monday, August 5, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bernie Sanders talks about guns, response to El Paso shooting
Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke about his response and continued policy ideas about guns and gun control to the Review-Journal after a panel of other topics. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pete Buttigieg On Gun Control And Climate Change - Video
Pete Buttigieg talks about his campaign for the 2020 election and how Nevada is a vision of what the future can be.
Beto O'Rourke speaks in Las Vegas
Presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke to supporters at the East Las Vegas Community Center in Las Vegas, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Nevada Senate leader Kelvin Atkinson sentenced to prison
Former Nevada Senate Majority Leader Kelvin Atkinson, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds, was sentenced to 27 months in prison on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trumps Strength is also a Weakness - Video
One of Donald Trump’s greatest strengths — his ability to shape national narratives — is also a great weakness.
Tax the Rich Bus Tour makes a stop in Las Vegas - Video
The Tax the Rich Bus has stopped in Las Vegas as part of its summer tour. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ - Video
Assembly Woman Daniele Monroe-Moreno hosts BBQ to bring the community together to hear about the candidates up for election and for people to gather and have fun.
Democrat Virtual Caucus - Video
Elizabeth Warren visits Las Vegas
Senator Elizabeth Warren made a campaign stop at the East Las Vegas Community Center on Tuesday July 2, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Aaron Ford Speaks About Bill AB431
AB431 is a bill sponsored by Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson to restore the right to vote for formerly incarcerated individuals. Attorney General Aaron Ford spoke at the AM&E Church in North Las Vegas about the bill, on Monday, July 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Right Take: Biden's Racially Questionable Comments
Joe Biden has uttered racially charged statements for years. Now that he’s the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination, he may finally face prolonged scrutiny for them.
Christopher Rufo Discusses Homelessness In The USA - VIDEO
Christopher Rufo discusses homelessness in the United States and how politicians can work to improve conditions for those with drug addictions.
Clark County 2019 Election Results - Video
The 2019 Elections wrap up in Clark County including an upset in the Boulder City Mayor race.
Olivia Diaz talks about her win in Ward 3 - VIDEO
Las Vegas City Councilwoman-elect Olivia Diaz talks about her election win in Ward 3 and what lies ahead for her.
Greene discusses Read by 3 and Opportunity Scholarships - VIDEO
The Nevada Legislative Session is over and the results are mixed for Nevada students, according to Tom Greene, Senior regional legislative director, Excel in Ed in Action.
Bernie Sanders visits Las Vegas
Sen. Bernie Sanders made a stop at Roy W. Martin middle school on Thursday, during his campaign trail.
THE LATEST
Court says US can reject asylum along parts of Mexico border

A federal appeals court’s ruling will allow the White House to begin rejecting asylum at some parts of the U.S.-Mexico border for migrants who arrived after transiting through a third country.

Greenland advises Trump it’s not for sale

“We see it as an expression of greater interest in investing in our country and the possibilities we offer,” the government said. “Of course, Greenland is not for sale.”

Trump ties US economic success to winning 2nd term

President Donald Trump sought to reassure his supporters about the state of the U.S. economy in New Hampshire, a state that he hopes to capture in 2020, that their financial security depends on his reelection.