Speed Reads

legal drama

A federal judge just struck down Trump's efforts to block a lawsuit that could make his finances public

The Trump Organization and its big-money foreign customers are going under the microscope.

A federal judge on Wednesday said that a lawsuit against President Trump can proceed, looking into whether Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution, The Washington Post reports. Trump's legal team fought to have the suit dismissed, but the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia will be allowed to sue the president over his business dealings.

The emoluments clause mandates that any federal official must not take gifts or payments from foreign governments. The clause is little-used, and modern interpretation varies, but it generally hasn't been a concern for sitting presidents because most other commanders in chief have been free of any ties to private businesses. Trump, however, still owns hotels and golf clubs all over the world. Even though he handed off day-to-day management of the Trump Organization, critics are concerned that some of his clientele is interested in a little more than a gold-encrusted ballroom for their event.

Foreign governments have been among the customer base contributing to the Trump Organization's soaring profits, and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit say that means Trump is breaking the law and opening himself up to conflicts of interest. Trump's team says that's not true, as officials are paying for a service or product, not just giving Trump a gift, reports the Post.

The plaintiffs want to take a look at Trump Organization records and open Trump up to discovery in the lawsuit, which would mean his financial books would be made public. Trump's attorneys could still appeal the decision to try and block the lawsuit from moving forward. Read more at The Washington Post.