(HUFFINGTON POST) November 4, 2018 — A federal judge has refused to delay a landmark lawsuit against President Donald Trump — and as part of the reasoning for his ruling he relied on an attitude expressed by Trump’s own tweets.
U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte of Maryland refused a Justice Department request to halt the lawsuit against Trump, which accuses him of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. The clause bars federal officials from accepting gifts or benefits from foreign officials or governments.
The case, filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington, D.C., says Trump is skirting that prohibition by profiting from his Trump International Hotel in the District of Columbia, just blocks away from the White House. The suit contends foreign leaders can curry favor with the president via pricey bookings and parties in his hotel.
The Friday ruling means that the plaintiffs will likely move quickly to obtain income and business documents from the president ― and possibly tax returns, which Trump has declined to release.
One of the arguments the Justice Department used against the suit was that it would be a burden and too much of a “distraction” for the president to deal with while running the country.
But Messitte noted in his ruling that the “president himself appears to have had little reluctance to pursue personal litigation despite the supposed distractions it imposes upon his office.”
In one tweet in August featured in a New York Times story that was cited by Messitte, Trump challenged former CIA director and frequent critic John Brennan to sue him.