A federal judge has granted two attorneys general permission to subpoena 23 Trump businesses to require them to preserve documents potentially related to an emoluments case.
The two-page order by U.S. District Judge Peter Messittee grants the request by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney Karl Racine for permission to serve the subpoenas related to their lawsuit.
Their lawsuit, filed in June, alleges that President Trump’s wide-ranging businesses with foreign and domestic governments violate the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses. Trump has motioned to dismiss the lawsuit, and oral arguments are scheduled for Jan. 25, 2018.
Despite the new order, no documents have to be physically produced until the dismissal motion lawsuit is decided.
“This ruling is an important first step in our litigation against President Trump for unlawfully receiving emoluments from foreign and domestic governments,” Racine said in a statement. “The ruling allows us to serve subpoenas to preserve evidence that will be invaluable if the court allows our case to proceed to the discovery phase.”
The joint Maryland-DC lawsuit against Trump argues, “[u]ncertainty about whether the President is acting in the best interests of the American people, or rather for his own ends or personal enrichment, inflicts lasting harm on our democracy. The Framers of the Constitution foresaw that possibility, and acted to prevent that harm.”
Owning the Trump International Hotel in Washington, for example, allows him to make money from foreign and domestic governments, the two Democratic officials say. The aforementioned constitutional clauses are a means to prevent that from happening.
Another example used in the lawsuit cites the Chinese government granting preliminary approval in mid-June for six new Trump trademarks it had previously rejected.
Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, did not immediately return a Washington Examiner request for comment.