The U.S. Department of Justice calling for the dismissal of a lawsuit alleging President Donald Trump violated the Constitution by accepting foreign payments at his hotels.
The lawsuit, filed in January, said Trump violates the "emoluments" clause, which bars him from accepting gifts from foreign governments without congressional approval, by maintaining ownership over his business empire despite ceding day-to-day control to his sons. Ethics experts say this has created unprecedented conflicts of interest.
The lawsuit alleges Trump's unfair advantage as president hurts local businesses competing with his properties.
In a filing in Manhattan federal court Friday, the Justice Department argued that the plaintiffs in the case - an ethics non-profit, restaurant group and hotel events booker - do not have legal standing to sue.
The complaint lists the many ways in which the Trump Organization may compromise the president's ability to govern independent of self-interest or profit - including properties purchased at Trump World Tower by Saudi Arabia and other countries. Or how Trump International Hotel, which is down the street from the White House, often hosts foreign dignitaries staying there reportedly to curry favor with the President.
The complaint also mentions how China granted the Trump brand highly valuable trademark rights days after he pledged to honor the "One China" policy of his White House predecessors.
The DOJ saying payments to Trump's hotels do not qualify as a violation of the emoluments clause, and their filing points to historical precedents like Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe arguing they too had highly lucrative side businesses.
An appointee of former Democratic President Barack Obama will rule over the case.