President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers are trying to pause evidence collection in a fight over the constitutionality of the revenue of his Washington hotel, according to a new request to a federal court to stay the case.
Previously, the DC and Maryland lawsuit alleging the President had received illegal gifts through the Trump International Hotel was moving to its discovery phase, with the state attorneys general sending out several subpoenas, including to the Trump Organization. A federal judge had allowed the lawsuit against Trump’s businesses to move forward from the states, though the judge had not ruled on whether to dismiss a lawsuit against the President personally.
Now the Justice Department is also appealing that judge’s ruling to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, giving Trump’s personal legal team a foothold to ask for a pause in the case.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh had some harsh words for the President’s lawyers’ move Friday.
“I think they may have violated Lewis Carroll’s copyright on ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ” he said.
He added that the President’s lawyers are arguing that the “President’s immune from the requirements of the emoluments clause” of the Constitution, an argument he called “absurd.”
When the subpoenas were released, prosecutors stressed that they are not looking for information from Trump himself.
“At this time we are not seeking information from President Trump in his individual capacity and we have not issued any notices of deposition to date,” a spokesperson from the office of DC Attorney General Karl Racine said last week.
DC and Maryland indicated then their intention to subpoena 13 business entities operating under the umbrella of the Trump Organization, the state of Maine – which conducted business at the Trump hotel as alleged in the lawsuit – and 18 entities that compete with the hotel.
In an earlier court filing, a personal lawyer for Trump argued that the case would create onerous burdens on his time, because “the President will need to review the flurry of discovery requests and responses that the other parties will trade; he also will need to review the significant third-party discovery Plaintiffs seek.”
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to remove an incorrect reference to Frosh issuing a statement.
CNN’s Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.