I believe that violation of the Emoluments Clauses was the original sin of the Trump Administration, and it began essentially on the first day of Trump in office when he said he was not going to give up his more than 150 businesses. He was not going to stop doing business with foreign governments, and he was not taking any pledge about refusing to take money from the federal government. The Foreign Emoluments Clause states that no president, no federal official, may accept presents or emoluments – which are payments – offices or titles of any kind whatsoever from a foreign government without the consent of the Congress. And yet Donald Trump immediately began taking at the Trump Hotel in Washington, which I call the Washington Emolument, and at other hotels, and at the golf courses and in other business ventures around the world, all kinds of money from foreign governments. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars began to pour in from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, from China, from a whole bunch of governments around the world. Because this was such a flagrant departure from U.S. history, we were unprepared to deal with it. We didn’t have a process for dealing with it. I’m afraid a lot of the Democrats felt it was too complicated for people to understand. Some of it was even just the word “emoluments,” which is multi-syllabic, and I think we foolishly succumb to the idea that it was too complicated for people to understand. When most Americans can understand a good scam and a good grift when they see it.
Congressman Jamie Raskin,
First Keynote Address: The Two Impeachments of Donald J. Trump,
87 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol87/iss3/6