Society

Trump Will Not Place His Businesses In Blind Trust

| by Oren Peleg

Following months of speculation over the conflicts of interest facing President-elect Donald Trump and his vast business holdings, attempts at a solution have been announced. On Jan. 11, Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump, stated at a press conference that the president-elect will be handing over the Trump Organization to a trust run by his sons Eric and Donald Jr., and that they will be barred from discussing business matters with him.

According to Politico, Dillon announced that Trump would have “no involvement whatsoever” in his various businesses after assuming office.

Dillon added, the incoming president “will only know of a deal if he sees it in the paper or on TV.”

“He is setting up a constitutional crisis on the first day that he takes office,” Norman Eisen, former White House ethics adviser for President Barack Obama, said, notes The New York Times. “This is an invitation to scandal and corruption. Foreign money is going to flood through those loopholes.”

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Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist and a columnist for The New York Times, tweeted "In case you don't see the obvious: this does nothing at all to reduce conflicts of interest -- and illegality".

In addition to ostensibly removing himself from his business affairs, Trump's daughter, Ivanka, who will have an office in the West Wing, will also remove herself from the Trump Organization.

Jared Kushner, Ivanka's husband, and Trump's son-in-law, who the president-elect has tapped as a senior advisor, is facing his own conflicts of interest. Kushner has vast real estate holdings in and around New York City.

But, unlike Trump, Kushner will be selling off his interests.

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“President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company he built," Dillon preempted reporters over the president-elect's refusal to sell off his assets, notes Politico.

But Norman Eisen sees Kushner's move as more reason for Trump to follow suit, notes the Washington Post.

“If his son-in-law can comply, so can the president-elect, like every other president has done for the past four decades,” he began. “President-elect Trump has an even more compelling reason to do it because, unlike the others, he is headed into potential constitutional violations (like the emoluments clause) ...So he ought to take the same blind-trust strategy as his predecessors and subject himself to the law, just like his son-in-law.”

Sources: Politico, The New York Times, Paul Krugman/Twitter, The Washington Post / Photo Credit: Sam Hodgson/The New York Times

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