Trump Claims “Absolute Immunity” in Court Filing

By Kenneth White

A lawsuit filed by the State of Maryland along with the District of Columbia accuses Trump of violating the U.S. Constitution’s “emoluments” clause that bars U.S. officials from accepting gifts or other payments from foreign governments without congressional approval. The same clause also bars the president from receiving gifts and payments from individual states. Trump is being sued both as an individual and as the president over alleged emoluments clause violations.

Trump’s lawyer, William Consovoy, wrote in the dismissal filing that the District of Columbia and Maryland state attorneys general don’t have the right to sue Trump as an individual. Consovoy states “If Plaintiffs want to sue the President for acts taken while in office, they must sue him in official capacity. But he is absolutely immune from any suit, including this one, seeking to impose individual liability premised on his assumption of the Presidency itself.”

The federal judge handling this case is U.S. District Court Judge Peter Messitte, who shot down in March a request from lawyers for Trump to dismiss the lawsuit. In another emoluments case, a U.S. judge in Manhattan in December threw out a similar lawsuit against Trump brought by another group of plaintiffs.

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1 Comment on "Trump Claims “Absolute Immunity” in Court Filing"

  1. Anonymous | May 3, 2018 at 2:51 am |

    “In 1973, the Department of Justice concluded that the indictment and criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unduly interfere with the ability of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned duties, and would thus violate the constitutional separation of powers. No court has addressed this question directly, but the judicial precedents that bear on the continuing validity of our constitutional analysis are consistent with both the analytic approach taken and the conclusions reached. Our view remains that a sitting President is constitutionally immune from the indictment and criminal prosecution.”

    Assistant Attorney General
    Office of Legal Counsel
    October 16, 2000
    Memorandum Opinion for the Attorney General

    Refer to


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