In a statement to Newsweek, a spokesperson for Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, two of the leading plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging that Trump is improperly profiting from his position as president through his private business, said that the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals "got it wrong" in Wednesday's decision.
The president claimed victory via Twitter, just moments following the court's unanimous ruling.
Trump heralded the decision in a tweet, saying, "Word just out that I won a big part of the Deep State and Democrat induced Witch Hunt".
At the 4th Circuit, Trump's attorneys were appealing a ruling from a District Court judge in Maryland who allowed the case to move forward and adopted a broad definition of the emoluments ban to include "profit, gain, or advantage" received "directly or indirectly" from foreign, federal or state governments. Trump tweeted that he doesn't make money but loses "a fortune" by serving as president.
The three-judge panel found that the state attorneys general lacked standing to sue over the alleged emoluments violation. "This latest effort at Presidential harassment has been dismissed with".
Since Trump clinched the presidency, the Trump International Hotel in Washington has emerged as a particular source of controversy, as it has become a magnet for lobbyists, foreign governments and organizations friendly to the president's agenda, who have given the appearance of gathering at the establishment in an attempt to curry favor with the administration.
The Constitution's 'Emoluments Clause, ' dating from the Revolutionary War era, prohibits the president and other government officials from accepting foreign gifts and money without permission from Congress.
The third major lawsuit was brought by the attorneys general in D.C. and Maryland, who argued their states' business interests competed with Trump properties.
President Donald Trump arrives to speak about kidney health at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Wednesday, July 10, 2019, in Washington.
The appeals court noted that writs of mandamus "are rarely given", but then accused the lower court judge of issuing a ruling that was "not 'guided by sound legal principles, ' but by 'whim'".
"There is a distinct possibility - which was completely ignored by the District and Maryland, as well as by the district court - that certain government officials might avoid patronizing the Hotel because of the President's association with it", the court said.
The Department of Justice said it was pleased that the court had ruled to dismiss the case, which it called "extraordinarily flawed".
All three judges on the appeals court were Republican appointees. Racine has said that if the panel ruled against Maryland and the District, the legal team would seriously consider asking for a rehearing before the full 4th Circuit.
"All Americans suffer when our chief executive is vulnerable to corrupt foreign influence", they continued.
The Fourth Circuit used the immunity question as an opportunity to review the underlying groundwork for the case, whether or not the District of Columbia and Maryland are even able to sue under the Constitution's Emoluments Clause in the first place. "We will continue to pursue our legal options to hold him accountable".
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