A federal judge temporarily halted subpoenas issued by congressional Democrats for President Trump’s financial records following intervention from an appeals court in Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sent an emoluments lawsuit against the president, which alleges that he is illegally benefiting from his businesses while serving in the Oval Office, back to a lower court on Friday to reexamine whether the separation of powers between the president and Congress had been properly considered.
According to the judges, “the District Court did not adequately address whether — given the separation of powers issues present in a lawsuit brought by members of the legislative branch against the president of the United States — resolving the legal questions and/or postponing discovery would be preferable, or whether discovery is even necessary” to establish whether congressional Democrats can intervene.
The court’s decision could serve as a setback for Democratic lawmakers should Trump not be forced to prove he hasn’t violated the Constitution’s anti-corruption clauses, which limit a federal official’s ability to accept gifts from foreign governments without Congress’s approval.
The move comes as the appeals court also rejected a request by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit. Rather, the court ruled Judge Emmet Sullivan wrongly failed to allow the Trump administration to appeal the case. The judge then put the subpoenas on hold.
Sullivan will now reconsider the president’s request for a mainstream appeal. If he approves, the case would then go back to the D.C. Circuit Court.