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(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge Wednesday allowed Maryland and the District of Columbia to proceed with their lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of accepting unconstitutional gifts from foreign interests, but limited the case to the president’s involvement with the Trump International Hotel in Washington. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte’s ruling dismissed other sections of the lawsuit that raised concerns about the impact of foreign gifts to the president from Trump Organization properties outside of Washington. Maryland and D.C. accuse the president of violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which bans the president and other federal officials from accepting gifts from foreign governments as well as U.S. states. Specifically, they allege nearby businesses have been subjected to increased competition as a result of the foreign traffic to the Trump Hotel. “Their allegation is bolstered by explicit statements from certain foreign government officials indicating that they are clearly choosing to stay at the president’s hotel because, as one representative of a foreign government has stated, they want him to know ‘I love your new hotel,'” Messitte wrote in his 47-page ruling. But the judge also warned the plaintiffs that their “claims sweep too broadly,” saying “it is a considerable stretch, however, to find the requisite injury-in-fact” to Maryland and D.C. from Trump properties outside of Washington. Despite Messitte’s limited ruling, a watchdog group that has joined the two jurisdictions in the lawsuit was quick to hail the judge’s decision.

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