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Appeals court reopens Trump hotel lawsuit

Snapshot into Trump's business income
Trump financial disclosure report offers snapshot of his business income 01:57

Richmond, Va. — A federal appeals court will reconsider a ruling from a three-judge panel that threw out a lawsuit accusing President Trump of illegally profiting off the presidency through his luxury hotel in Washington, D.C.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed on Tuesday to hold a hearing before the full court of 15 judges. Arguments are scheduled for Dec. 12.

Maryland and the District of Columbia have accused Mr. Trump of violating the emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution by accepting profits through foreign and domestic officials who stay at the Trump International Hotel. Nearly 200 members of Congress have filed similar lawsuits against the president.

According to Mr. Trump's financial disclosure report, he earned more than $100 million from his properties in 2018, including $40.8 million from his D.C. hotel.

This summer, Trump officials sparked House investigations into their stays at Mr. Trump's resorts abroad. According to documents provided to the House Oversight Committee, the Department of Defense spent at least $184,000 at Mr. Trump's Turnberry golf resort in Scotland over the course of two years. Vice President Mike Pence stayed at a Trump hotel in Ireland that was 180 miles away from his meetings in Dublin. The president has also offered to host the next G-7 summit of world leaders at his Doral, Florida, resort. Attorney General William Barr plans to hold a $30,000 holiday party at the president's D.C. hotel in December.

In the Washington, D.C., hotel case, a judge in Maryland initially ruled that the lawsuit could move forward. But a panel of three Republican-nominated judges on the 4th Circuit overturned that ruling in July, handing the president a significant legal victory. Tuesday's decision reopens the case.

In a joint statement, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said, "Today's decision by the Fourth Circuit granting the District of Columbia and Maryland a rehearing in our anti-corruption case against President Trump is significant. We look forward to arguing our case before the full panel to stop President Trump from violating the Constitution and profiting from the presidency."

The legal development comes at a time of chaos for the Trump White House. The U.S. House launched a formal impeachment inquiry last month after revelations that Mr. Trump encouraged the president of Ukraine in a July phone call to investigate one of his biggest Democratic rivals in the presidential race, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Under federal law, it is illegal to seek foreign assistance in U.S. elections.

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