Trump University and Presidential Impeachment

66 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2016 Last revised: 27 Dec 2017

See all articles by Christopher Lewis Peterson

Christopher Lewis Peterson

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: June 19, 2017


In the final weeks of the 2016 Presidential campaign Donald J. Trump faced three lawsuits accusing him of fraud and racketeering. These ongoing cases focus on a series of wealth seminars called “Trump University” which collected over $40 million from consumers seeking to learn Trump’s real estate investing strategies. Although these consumer protection cases are civil proceedings, the underlying legal elements in several counts that plaintiffs seek to prove run parallel to the legal elements of serious crimes under both state and federal law. This Article provides a legal analysis of whether Trump’s alleged behavior would, if proven, rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the presidential impeachment clause of the United States Constitution. This Article begins with a summary of the evidence assembled in the three pending Trump University civil lawsuits. Next, it describes the legal claims involved in each matter. Then, this Article summarizes the applicable law of presidential impeachment under the United States Constitution and analyzes whether Trump’s actions in connection with Trump University are impeachable offenses. Finally, I offer concluding thoughts, considering in particular the policy implications of a Presidency with unresolved accusations of fraud and racketeering.

Keywords: impeachment, Trump, Trump University, fraud, racketeering, RICO, high crimes and misdemeanors, president, election, campaign, consumer, class action

Suggested Citation

Peterson, Christopher Lewis, Trump University and Presidential Impeachment (June 19, 2017). 96 Oregon Law Review 57 (2017), Available at SSRN: or

Christopher Lewis Peterson (Contact Author)

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-581-6655 (Phone)
801581-6897 (Fax)


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