Trump Uses DOJ Lawyers to Block Release of His Financial Records

Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers have filed a request in federal court to halt a lawsuit surrounding President Trump’s hotel in Washington, according to the Associated Press (AP).

“Justice Department lawyers asked a federal judge Friday to let them file a legal appeal that could, for now, keep President Donald Trump’s critics from getting access to financial records related to his Washington, D.C., hotel.” 

The government lawyers want the lawsuit to stop while they file an appeal. This will accomplish their goal of also stopping the release of the Trump-owned property’s financial records and related information.

The financial information the government is seeking to keep secret would reveal how much income President Trump has received from foreign governments in violation of the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. Also included in the information might be significant tax information that would provide for the first time public insight into the president’s taxes.

The request by DOJ lawyers was sent to U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte, who is presiding over the emoluments lawsuit. Last month he had ruled that the lawsuit could move forward even though government lawyers argued that it should not.

The lawsuit alleges that Trump is profiting from foreign governments spending money at his D.C. hotel and this is a violation of the emoluments clause and therefore should stop.

DOJ lawyers made the argument that conducting discovery on a sitting president will create “significant separation-of-powers concerns.”

The discovery process requires that Trump give confidential information to opposing attorneys, which in this case would include the financial records of Trump and his real estate holdings.

“Moreover, the public interest is decidedly in favor of a stay because any discovery would necessarily be a distraction to the President’s performance of his constitutional duties,” the DOJ attorneys wrote.

Government officials in Maryland and the District of Columbia have been trying to obtain access to financial records on Trump and his properties since the lawsuit began. This is the only way they can prove how much Trump is profiting by obtaining lucrative business from foreign governments seeking to curry favor with the U.S. government.

The Maryland and D.C. attorneys have argued and alleged in the lawsuit that Trump is personally benefiting from his presidency, contrary to the Constitution’s requirements. In addition, they say that he is causing financial harm to competing businesses in the area.

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said in a statement:

“After winning two major rulings in this case already, we anticipated President Trump’s most recent motion. Nonetheless, our case is still moving forward. We are on track to propose a schedule for discovery by September 14, and we hope to request relevant documents shortly thereafter.”

This lawsuit is just one of several legal challenges that Trump is facing concerning his violation of the emoluments clause. The Constitution clearly states that elected officials are prohibited from receiving gifts or benefits from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

Because Trump did not divest ownership of any of his vast global business interests he is clearly benefiting financially from his presidency but being in violation of the U.S. Constitution is not something this particular president cares about. He is violating his oath of office every day, and causing much harm to the country. The fact that he is using government attorneys for his private benefit in this current lawsuit is just one more example of how he is misusing his power.