The Justice Department asked a federal court late on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that accused President Trump of violating the Constitution by continuing to own and profit from his businesses, arguing in part that, even if he had broken the law, it would be up to Congress, not a federal judge, to act.
In a 70-page brief, the government also argued that the lawsuit is based on a faulty interpretation of the Constitution and that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated any revenue loss because of Mr. Trump’s business operations.
The lawsuit was filed this year in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, a legal watchdog group. It is seeking a court order to force Mr. Trump to divest himself of his business holdings on the grounds that the Constitution prohibits him from accepting any economic benefit from foreign governments or from the United States government beyond his salary.
The other plaintiffs include a group that represents restaurants, the owner of a hotel and restaurant business in New York, and a woman who books hotel events in Washington.
Norman L. Eisen, the chairman of CREW, said the Justice Department’s claim that a federal court has no power to intervene — even if it finds a president’s behavior is unconstitutional — “is a remarkable assertion” that flies in the face of decades of judicial decisions.
The Justice Department’s lawyers argue that the injunction sought by the watchdog group would harm the president’s ability to perform his official duties and would ensnare him “in prolonged litigation over any number of transactions.” They contend that litigation would violate the separation of powers, which prohibits one branch of government from impairing another in carrying out its duties.
Even if the president’s continued ownership of his business is illegal, the government’s brief argued, “Congress is far better equipped than the courts” to fashion a remedy, perhaps by enacting legislation that would govern the president’s behavior.
Beyond that, the government’s lawyers contended, any injury claimed by CREW is “purely self-inflicted.” The group has alleged that it has been forced to divert its resources to challenge the president’s illegal actions. And the Justice Department said the other plaintiffs had not demonstrated any loss of business because of hotels or restaurants owned by the president’s companies.
Finally, the government contended, the Constitution does not prevent the president from profiting from commercial transactions conducted by his businesses, which Mr. Trump maintains he has kept at arm’s length. Such transactions, the brief argued, amount neither to gifts from a foreign government nor to economic benefits other than his presidential salary.
The law as interpreted by the Supreme Court during the Clinton Presidency:
During the Paula Jones lawsuit against then-President Clinton, was sued while being governor of Arkansas. It lasted all the way to the White House. Clinton fought it saying he was President and could not take the time to answer lawsuits for crimes committed before he was President.
Thanks to Paula Jones and the husband of Trump Assistant ( Her name is Kelly) they argued this case before the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court Ruled that a President can be sued for crimes committed during or before being elected President. Thanks to these backers of Trump now there is a law on the books that Mr. Trump can be sued while in office. I'm surprised I know this and Trump lawyer hasn't figured it out yet.
There are a few lawsuits coming down the pipes for all kinds of reasons. Even nonpayment of services. Trump was known as a deadbeat in paying for bills, no matter how big they were.
New York Times