A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia do have the legal standing to sue President Trump for allegedly receiving improper payments from states and foreign governments through the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., in violation of the Constitution.
The emoluments clause of the Constitution prohibits the president and other federal officials from accepting payments or gifts from states and foreign governments. The Trump International Hotel opened in 2016, and the plaintiffs argue that it has an unfair advantage over other hotels in the area because of its link to Trump. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte said their allegation is "bolstered by explicit statements from certain foreign government officials indicating that they are clearly choosing to stay at the president's hotel because, as one representative of a foreign government has stated, they want him to know 'I love your new hotel.'"
The Trump Organization has never publicly shared how much money has been spent at the hotel by foreign governments and states, but prosecutors could seek those documents if the suit progresses, NBC News reports.