If you measure President Donald Trump’s conflicts of interest by the amount of money at stake, or the variety of dicey interactions with government regulators, one dwarfs any other: his relationship with Deutsche Bank. The bank hoped to eliminate the president’s personal guarantee on loans. But such a move would not eliminate the conflict of interest, since the president’s company, which Trump still owns, would remain on the hook to pay back the loans.
In response to the Twitter comment Trump posted criticizing Nordstrom, White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterized the company’s action as a “direct attack” on the president’s policies. Nordstrom said it routinely cuts brands each year and that the decision to pass on the Ivanka Trump brand had been based on its performance.
The lawsuit filed in federal court by the nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington contended that Trump is “submerged in conflicts of interest” because of ties with countries such as China, India, and potentially Russia. It seeks to stop Trump from accepting any improper payments, citing a constitutional provision known as the “emoluments” clause that bans them.
To transfer ownership of his biggest companies, Trump has to file a long list of documents in Florida, Delaware and New York. ProPublica asked officials in each of those states whether they have received the paperwork. The officials said they have not.
Morgan Lewis was in the spotlight this week not only for its work on Trump’s controversial plans for his business but also because it received the “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award last year. Morgan Lewis does work directly for the Russian government. At least three lawyers in the firm list work for Russian sovereign wealth funds or state corporations among their accomplishments.
One realization that has emerged during a chaotic week in our nation’s capital is that America’s system for preventing ethical conflicts in government is supremely overmatched by President-elect Donald Trump and his cadre of billionaire advisers.
Donald Trump’s assertion that he does no business in Russia looks past extensive business dealings with Russians who have partnered with him and bought his properties. In fact, Trump and his family have had many dealings in Russia and with Russian emigres elsewhere.
Trump’s transition team is considering the use of discretionary trusts to avoid conflicts of interest for Trump family members or administration officials. Such an arrangement would provide individuals with an alternative to selling off assets or placing wealth in blind trusts, which president-elects traditionally do.
The hotel lease includes a standard GSA provision barring members of Congress or other elected federal officials – such as the president – from having any part of it.
Donald Trump has delayed until January an announcement originally set for this week on how he plans to step back from running his business empire to avoid conflicts of interest.
Trump’s tweets about his business do nothing to squash mounting concerns over the conflicts of interest Trump could face as president, and it’s unclear whether his promised response would address these conflicts. Media are falling into Trump’s trap again by giving his tweets the front-page treatment.
“OGE is delighted that you’ve decided to divest your businesses. Right decision!” one tweet said. “We told your counsel we’d sing your praises if you divested, we meant it.”
If Trump does not put his businesses in a true blind trust, how will we know if he is even violating the Emoluments Clause? Because of limited financial-disclosure requirements, we might not.
Donald Trump spent Thanksgiving week leaking his potential cabinet picks, making Mitt Romney grovel, and turning down security briefings.
The government does not and should not function like a business. The public good cannot be reduced to profit and loss. Many of government’s functions are costly yet essential despite their great expense; think of national security, justice and education.
Experts in government ethics said that giving over control to Trump’s children would do virtually nothing to prevent potential conflicts of interest, since there’s usually no daylight between one’s personal interest and the interest of one’s immediate family members.
Confronted with the recent Newsweek cover story detailing numerous potential conflicts of interest between his foreign business dealings and American national security should he be elected, Trump and his children responded with a litany of nonsensical claims.