A lawsuit contending that President Donald Trump’s business dealings with and in foreign countries violate the Constitution is set to get a public airing in October in a New York federal courtroom.
U.S. District Court Judge George Daniels issued an order Wednesday setting oral arguments for Oct. 18 on a suit the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed in January. The suit argues that Trump’s business ties run afoul of the Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause, which bars federal officials from receiving benefits from foreign governments.
The Justice Department’s final response brief in the case is due Sept. 22.
Daniels took over the case last month after Judge Ronnie Abrams recused herself, apparently because her husband accepted a job as a prosecutor on the staff of Robert Mueller, the special counsel probing alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Abrams is an Obama appointee. Daniels is a Clinton appointee.
The suit is one of about half a dozen lawsuits targeting income Trump derives from foreign sources. One of those additional cases is pending before Daniels. The other are before federal courts in Washington, D.C., Greenbelt, Maryland, and West Palm Beach, Florida.
The Trump Organization says its Washington hotel and similar businesses have voluntarily implemented procedures to identify profits from foreign government sources and divert those to the U.S. Treasury.
The Justice Department is defending Trump in the litigation and contends that the foreign emoluments clause does not cover routine business payments, even if foreign governments are involved.