Senator Richard Blumenthal left a court hearing Thursday morning feeling somewhat encouraged that his efforts to hold President Donald Trump accountable for accepting payments and other benefits from foreign governments will move forward.
U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan held a hearing Thursday to decide whether 200 congressional Democrats — led by Blumenthal and New York Representative Jerrold Nadler — can actually sue Trump for not seeking their approval before accepting the gifts as they claim is required under the U.S. Constitution’s emoluments clause.
Before the case proceeds any farther, Sullivan must decide if the lawmakers have suffered the required injury to bring the case forward. They claim they’ve been denied their constitutional right to vote on whether Trump can accept the payments, benefits and gifts because Trump has not disclosed them. The Trump administration argues that Congress has the power to pass legislation to compel the president to comply, so there is no need for the court to intervene.
Leaving the courthouse after the proceeding, Blumenthal said he felt enormously encouraged by Sullivan’s line of questioning, according to a report in the Hill newspaper.
“The key points he elicited are the same points that we have argued all along,” he said. “We can’t vote on something we don’t know. The president has failed to come forward to seek the consent of Congress for repeated sizable benefits, payments and gifts to him by foreign governments.”
Blumenthal said Congress only knows about the payments, gifts and benefits that Trump has accepted so far because of reports in the press.