Marilyn Geewax

With Hurricane Maria still smashing up Puerto Rico, the economic costs of this year's hurricane season continue to grow by the minute. It will take a while for economists to tally it all up.

But this much already is clear: The recent enormous storms have taken a toll on the housing industry.

Three separate industry reports, issued over the past three days, have all shown that rough weather in the South and wildfires in the West have been creating problems for this key economic sector.

More than 190 Democrats in Congress joined together to sue President Trump on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

They say Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by profiting from business deals involving foreign governments — and doing so without congressional consent. And they want the court to make it stop.

Trump has "repeatedly and flagrantly violated" the Constitution's Emoluments Clause, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told reporters on a conference call.

Can states force President Trump to sell off his businesses?

That question is being raised by a new legal challenge to Trump's continued ownership of far-flung businesses.

On Monday, the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit in a Maryland federal court, saying that Trump's failure to sell off his interests in hotels, golf courses, office buildings and other properties is undermining public trust and violating the U.S. Constitution's Emoluments Clause.

At a Senate hearing Thursday, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, accused Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin of failing to answer his questions about President Trump's business ties to people who might be violating money laundering and other U.S. laws.

Mnuchin responded by suggesting Brown "just send me a note on what you are looking for."

Brown pointed out that he had already sent a two-page letter.

President Trump is on his way to getting something he has wanted for a long time: dozens of valuable "Trump" trademarks in China.

China's Trademark Office has now given preliminary approval to 38 new trademarks, covering everything from hotels to golf clubs, insurance and more.

Trying to understand the Trump Organization is a daunting task. President-elect Donald Trump has not released tax documents, so the best clues about his privately held business interests come from a financial disclosure form he released in May.

The document covers scores of pages with small type, and suggests he is financially involved with hundreds of companies, including some that simply license his name.

In Washington, lobbyists, trade association leaders and journalists are passing around names that President-elect Donald Trump may be considering for key economic policy positions.

His choices to lead Treasury, Trade, Commerce, Labor and Housing and other departments will help shape Trumponomics in 2017. So whom will he choose?

Pull out your blue pencils, green eyeshades and rule books; it may soon be time to start rewriting NAFTA.

Leaders in the United States, Canada and Mexico say they're open to giving the North American Free Trade Agreement, in place since 1994, a hard look.

Here's what's been happening:

During his presidential campaign, Republican Donald Trump said he would "get rid of" Dodd-Frank — the sweeping legislation passed in 2010 to address problems underlying the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Many Republicans hate the 2,300-page law, saying it is layered with far too many regulations. But Democrats say it provides valuable oversight of an industry that they believe took too many risks on Wall Street and too much advantage of customers on Main Street.

During his campaign, President-elect Donald Trump often was fuzzy on details of his economic plans.

But he was clear about one goal: getting much tougher on trade relations with our most important partners, i.e., China, Canada and Mexico.

Analysts say they don't doubt he will follow through. "We are definitely shifting to a world where the landscape is far less favorable to trade," said Eswar Prasad, professor of trade policy at Cornell University.

These are the three most likely steps to be taken in this new environment:

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