Government seeks dismissal of suit over Trump's businesses

Comey The Leaking Caped Crusader Exonerates Trump

A spokesman for ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, one of the plaintiffs, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawyers for the government also contended the plaintiffs' interpretation of the Emoluments clause is flawed.

"Plaintiffs read these Emolument Clauses expansively to cover any benefit derived from any business dealings with a foreign, federal, or state instrumentality by an entity in which the President has a financial interest", the Justice Department said in a memorandum.

The emoluments clause, which was originally adopted to prevent US ambassadors from being corrupted by foreign governments, bars holders of federal office from accepting gifts from foreign states, but it has never been the focus of a major court case.

The group asserted that because Trump-owned buildings take in rent, room rentals and other payments from foreign governments - which may seek to curry favor with him - the president has breached the emoluments clause.

Trump administration lawyers also argue that CREW and other plaintiffs lack legal standing to bring the case against Trump and that Congress, not the court system, should determine whether Trump is in violation of the emoluments clause. In addition, the Trump Organization vowed not to make any new business deals outside the US while Trump is president.

The Justice Department on Friday said that CREW's claims of harm, in the form to the legal resources they were devoting to the issue, were "abstract" and "insufficient", while arguing that the businesses that have joined the lawsuit should not be considered competitors to Trump's restaurants and hotels.

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Finally, Lin argues that seeking an injunction against the President in his official capacity is unconstitutional.

In its response, the Justice Department wrote that "CREW's voluntary decision to focus on its opposition to the President's financial holdings does not constitute a concrete, judicially cognizable" injury. They asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against Trump by ethics campaigners, arguing that it would have "absurd consequences" such as blocking some sales of books such as Obama's.

"We heartily disagree and look forward to our day in court", stated the CREW spokesperson.

While presidents aren't subject to ethics laws that apply to other federal officeholders, most lawyers, including Trump's, agree that the foreign emoluments clause does apply to presidents.

"It's clear from the government's response that they don't believe anyone can go to court to stop the president from systematically violating the constitution", spokesman Jordan Libowitz said in a statement.

Lin argues that because the organization is calling into question payments for everything from hotel stays to foreign trademarks addressing the challenge would tie Trump up in prolonged litigation and keep him from doing the job he was elected to do - and it's Congress, not the courts, that should address the President's overseas income.

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