Trump, however, has granted the administration of his business to his children, which Democrats argue continues to constitute a conflict of interest and an indication that Trump has knowledge of business affairs he is not supposed to.
The emoluments clause of the Constitution says no person holding office may, without the consent of Congress, accept a present of any kind from a foreign state. They allege he violates the Foreign Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, as his hotels and other establishments around the world profit from spending and favors by foreign governments. Indeed, Congressional Republicans have privately listed Emoluments Clause violations among the things they fear Democrats will investigate if they manage to win back the House of Representatives this year.
So glad to have worked with @NormEisen, @RWPUSA, and @JoshuaMatz8 to help launch this 3-pronged attack on Trump's #EmolumentsClause violations.
The judge said if those allegations are true, then Trump would have denied Congress its right to vote, which gives Congress members the right to sue. He praised Sullivan's ruling. The business has multiple overseas ventures, and the organization's Washington, DC, hotel is often patronized by foreign officials.
Ethics experts say the constitutional emoluments clause was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure that government officials act with the interests of the American public in mind instead of their own pocketbooks. That case, however, is only limited to earnings Trump has received from the Trump International Hotel, which opened in Washington in September 2016. The White House didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. In addition, he is contending with the ongoing special counsel investigation into Russian interference, a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General that alleged "persistently illegal conduct" at his charitable foundation and a defamation lawsuit brought by former "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos.
In July a federal judge in Maryland ruled that a similar lawsuit against Trump filed by attorneys general in Maryland and the District of Columbia could proceed.
Sullivan wrote that "challenge seeks to remedy entirely different injuries".
The president has not asked Congress to approve any transactions with foreign states.
Blumenthal called the ruling "a real milestone".
In his opinion, Sullivan, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, held that the lawsuit was valid because there was no way for the members of Congress who are party to it to address the dispute through other means, such as legislation.
Last month, Justice Department attorneys in that case asked a federal judge to halt proceedings, arguing that allowing the case to go forward would "be a distraction to the President's performance of his constitutional duties".
Foreign government guests have frequently stayed at the Trump hotel in Washington.
These clauses have never been tested against a president, and the outcome is unclear.