President Trump, by refusing to sign off on a 2019 budget unless it includes funding for a border wall, has shut down the government for nearly two weeks. According to CNN, he told his cabinet that the government will be shut down “as long as it takes.” While President Trump allegedly told Chuck Shumur that he “would look foolish” if he re-opened the government, according to CNN, the president actually has a deep motivation for keeping the government closed in that it will provide an indefinite delay to the pending emoluments case against him.
Late last week, lawyers for the Department of Justice who are representing President Trump in the emoluments case brought against him by the Attorneys General of the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia asked the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to postpone the case in light of the government shutdown, which has prohibited the Department of Justice attorneys from working, except in emergencies, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The emoluments case, filed by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine in 2017, alleges that President Trump has violated the United States Constitution’s emoluments clause by doing business with foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington. The emoluments clause was drafted by the framers of the Constitution to prevent foreign governments from financially influencing federal officials.
Trump’s lawyers use government shutdown as an excuse to delay emoluments lawsuit: Lawyers defending Trump in the Justice Department have invoked the shutdown in asking a federal appeals court “to postpone indefinitely all further filings” Politico reports https://t.co/kIh4A0flNe
— EssenViews/Commentary (@essenviews) December 26, 2018
On November 2, a federal judge for the U.S. District Court denied a different request for a delay by President Trump’s legal team and allowed discovery to move forward in the case, which opened the door for the attorneys general to subpoena business records of the Trump Organization as well as interview witnesses in the case.
The Department of Justice lawyers appealed to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the suit, and on December 21 the Circuit Court placed a temporary hold on the subpoenas until it reviewed the case in March.
“Today’s court decision is a procedural one and is not a ruling on the merits of our historic lawsuit against President Trump,” Racine said. “We firmly believe that the federal district court got it right when it allowed us to move forward with this action and discovery. We look forward to defending our position before the Court and continuing our efforts to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution by using his office for profit.”
Now, it appears that the case will be delayed further due to President Trump’s government shutdown. No date will be set for the 4th Circuit Court’s review of the case until the shutdown ends.