The emoluments cases against President Donald Trump

Since President Donald Trump’s inauguration, three cases have been brought against him alleging he violated the emoluments clauses of the United States Constitution. The clauses, which historians say prohibit the president from accepting gifts from foreign and domestic governments, were written with the intent to prevent foreign actors from manipulating U.S. officials.

Now, this section of the Constitution has come under greater scrutiny with the Trump Organization’s ties to foreign dignitaries and governments.

Explore key points of the cases below.

Case Summary

CREW — a Washington watchdog group — claimed the president’s “business interests are creating countless conflicts of interest, as well as unprecedented influence by foreign governments.” With plaintiffs from the restaurant and hospitality industries, they’re alleging Trump’s businesses create an unfair competitive advantage.
Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh sued the president over allegations that their residents who run businesses in the hospitality or restaurant industries suffer from “decreased business, wages, and tips resulting from economic and commercial activity diverted” to the Trump franchise.
Nearly 200 Democratic legislators are suing the president for accepting gifts from foreign governments without approval from Congress. Their power to approve or reject these emoluments is solidified in the U.S. Constitution.

When was the case filed?

Jan 23, 2017
June 12, 2017
June 14, 2017

Who are the main players?

CREW, the original plaintiff, was later joined by two restaurant and hotel advocates, as well as a nonprofit workers’ center.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, on behalf of the state of Maryland and the District.
A group of about 200 Democratic members of Congress, led by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.).

What's next?

After being dismissed in December 2017, judges in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit revived the case in September.
After being dismissed in July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit revived the case in October. Arguments are scheduled for Dec. 12.
In April, a U.S. district judge ruled the legislators have standing to sue and denied the Trump legal team’s motion to dismiss the case.