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Appeals court revives lawsuit against Trump over his businesses

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WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court Friday breathed new life into a lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump’s profiting from restaurants and hotels patronized by government officials violates the Constitution.

In late 2017, a judge threw the case out, concluding that the groups behind the lawsuit did not have a legal right to bring the challenge over a violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which forbids a president to receive financial benefits from foreign or domestic governments.

But by a 2-1 vote, a panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the judge was wrong to dismiss the case and sent it back with instructions to continue with the lawsuit. It was brought by a group of restaurant and hotel owners who say that both foreign and state government officials patronize Trump hotels and restaurants to curry favor from the president, putting them at a competitive disadvantage and hurting their businesses.

“The president’s establishments offer government patrons something that the plaintiffs cannot: the opportunity, by enriching the president, to obtain favorable governmental treatment from the president and the executive branch,” the appeals court said.

In dissent, Judge John Walker said the courts have never clearly defined the Constitution’s emoluments clauses. He called the lawsuit deeply political. “President Trump was democratically elected by the American people — and he was elected with his business holdings and brand prominence in full view.”

A group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which originally filed the lawsuit, applauded Friday’s ruling. “We never wanted to be in a position where it would be necessary to go to court to compel the president of the United States to follow the Constitution,” the group said in a statement. “However, President Trump left us no choice, and we will proudly fight as long as needed to ensure Americans are represented by an ethical government under the rule of law.”

The ruling runs counter to a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which tossed out a similar lawsuit in July brought by the attorneys general of Washington, D.C., and Maryland on behalf of businesses that compete with the Trump International Hotel in Washington. That ruling said there was no clear proof that Trump’s ownership of the luxury hotel — situated five blocks from the White House — was creating competition with local convention centers. And the Fourth Circuit said that the local governments couldn’t show how any such competition, if it existed, could be legally prevented.

But Friday’s decision took a different view, saying courts are not powerless and “could require public disclosure of the president’s private business dealings with government officials through the Trump establishments, which may discourage presidential action that appears to improperly reward such patronage.”

Another emoluments clause challenge has been brought by members of Congress, claiming that the president’s acceptance of foreign emoluments without congressional approval violates the Constitution.



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O'Rourke, Buttigieg clash over gun policy

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Following his comments about gun reform at last week’s debate, Beto O’Rourke is facing push back from lawmakers and some of the 2020 field.

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David Cameron did the right thing – Ex-PM’s legacy defended by Express.co.uk readers

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DAVID CAMERON was absolutely right to give the British people a vote on their EU membership but never in his “wildest dreams” did he consider they would opt out of the bloc, Express.co.uk readers have concluded.

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Trump awards Presidential Medal of Freedom to baseball legend Mariano Rivera

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom to New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera on Monday.

Trump praised Rivera, the first player to be unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, for his storied career and achievements on the field and off it, where he has donated scholarships and school supplies to low-income communities.

Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees pitches against the Minnesota Twins in Game One of the ALDS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium.Jared Wickerham / Getty Images file

“Mariano Rivera has made extraordinary contributions to American sports, culture and society,” Trump said. “He is the most dominant relief pitcher in the history of baseball. And more than that, he has lived the American dream and shines as an example of American greatness for all to see.”

A five-time World Series champion and 13-time All-Star, Rivera holds the Major League Baseball record for saves, with 652, in his 19-season career, all with the New York Yankees. Rivera, who earned the 1999 World Series MVP title, was the first Yankee to save 300 games.

Rivera joined a growing list of professional athletes to be awarded the nation’s highest civilian award by Trump — three within the past month alone.

He is the 12th individual to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom during Trump’s presidency. Other recent Trump honorees have included NBA Hall of Famers Jerry West and Bob Cousy and golf great Tiger Woods.

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