Grab ‘Em By The Emoluments: The Crumbling Ethical Foundation of Donald Trump's Presidency

88 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2017 Last revised: 30 Jan 2019

See all articles by Lawrence J. Trautman

Lawrence J. Trautman

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business; Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy)

Date Written: August 4, 2017


Does Donald Trump believe that over 200 years of constitutional law doesn’t apply to him? This paper explores two important areas of U.S. Constitutional law: the constitutional prohibition against acceptance of emoluments (anything of value); and the constitutional provision for presidential impeachment ̶ and is written before findings are available from any special investigations or results from the many Congressional inquiries about matters surrounding the Russian tampering with the American 2016 presidential election. Therefore, this article is an inquiry into other matters that raise many serious questions about the ethical fitness of Donald Trump to be President. Among grounds for Trump’s impeachment are his numerous ongoing Emoluments Clause violations. At this time it seems unlikely that President Trump will face impeachment. Given that both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are in control of the Republican Party, President Trump should be immune from impeachment proceedings unless the Republican Party leadership determines that it is in their best interest to allow for impeachment and removal, not a zero probability. Will President Trump’s lifelong propensity for lying ultimately lead to his eventual demise?

Keywords: Active Measures, Bribery, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Michael D. Cohen, Conflicts of Interest, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Disinformation, Donald J. Trump Foundation, Emoluments Clause, Ethics, Gen. Michael Flynn, Rudolph Giuliani, Foundation, Emoluments Clause

JEL Classification: H19, H89, K00, K3, K10, K19, K33, K39, K40, K42, K49, N4

Suggested Citation

Trautman, Lawrence J., Grab ‘Em By The Emoluments: The Crumbling Ethical Foundation of Donald Trump's Presidency (August 4, 2017). 17(2) Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal 169 (2018), Available at SSRN: or

Lawrence J. Trautman (Contact Author)

Prairie View A&M University - College of Business ( email )

Prairie View, TX
United States

Texas A&M University School of Law (By Courtesy) ( email )

1515 Commerce St.
Fort Worth, TX Tarrant County 76102
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics