The state of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump for violating the U.S. Constitution's “emoluments" clause. But Trump's legal team says their employer has "absolute immunity."
The U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause bars U.S. officials, elected or appointed, from accepting gifts or payments from foreign entities without receiving congressional approval. It also bars the president from receiving gifts and payments from individual states.
Unlike previous presidents, Trump failed to separate himself from his private interests upon taking office. Those Trump Organization businesses present an avenue for funds and gifts to be received and the State of Maryland and Washington D.C. Attorneys General claim it happened.
So Washington D.C. and Maryland, in conjunction with Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit. Trump previously tried to have the case dismissed, but in March a federal judge ruled the suit would proceed.
Now the president's personal legal team filed a request on Tuesday, requesting dismissal of the lawsuit based on Trump's "absolute immunity" from any legal repercussions or responsibilities because he is the president.
“If Plaintiffs want to sue the President for acts taken while in office, they must sue him in official capacity (as president). But he is absolutely immune from any suit, including this one, seeking to impose individual liability premised on his assumption of the Presidency itself," Trump's lawyer William Consovoy wrote in the filing.
The Supreme Court has concluded that the costs to the Nation of allowing such suits to distract the President from his official duties outweigh any countervailing interests. That choice must be respected."