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Trump's Announcement Doesn't Eliminate Possibility of Corruption

Trump's Announcement Doesn't Eliminate Possibility of Corruption

Donald Trump (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 30 November 2016 02:40 PM

President-elect Donald Trump's recent announcement that he will step away from his various business enterprises doesn't necessarily mean that there will be no conflicts of interest for him as president, The Washington Post reports.

On Wednesday, Trump made a series of tweets in which he vowed to leave his business.

Trump also told The New York Times last week that "the law is totally on my side, meaning, the president can't have a conflict of interest," but that "I would like to try and formalize something, because I don't care about my business."

"The president-elect said he will exit his 'business operations.' That's not enough," Norm Eisen, who served as special counsel for ethics for President Barack Obama, told the Post in an email. "Although it is important that he have no involvement in operations, in order to avoid conflicts, he must also exit business ownership through using a blind trust or equivalent. Otherwise he will have an interest in his businesses that will sometimes conflict with the public interest, and constantly raise questions.

"For example, unless he divests ownership, he will have an interest in the foreign government payments and benefits that flow to his businesses daily. That creates such a serious conflict of interest that the framers of the Constitution prohibited it for the president in the emoluments clause. Far smaller potential conflicts led every president for four decades to do a blind trust or the equivalent, and so should Trump."

Trump has implied that he'll cede control of his empire to his family, but with his children participating in the official presidential transition, that won't be enough.

"Even if he sold his interest to his family or gave it to them, and completely renounced his own interest, he still naturally has an incentive to have things go well for his family," Noah Bookbinder, executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in the District of Columbia, told the Post. "As long as those interests remain, there will be questions about what his motivations and incentives are and whether he's truly acting in the interests of the American people.

"Even if he didn't have the business interests and his children did," Bookbinder continued, "there would be a lot of incentive for companies and countries to try to influence him by giving financial benefits to his children or companies in the form of discounts or special deals that they wouldn't receive otherwise."

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President-elect Donald Trump's recent announcement that he will step away from his various business enterprises doesn't necessarily mean that there will be no conflicts of interest for him as president, The Washington Post reports.
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Wednesday, 30 November 2016 02:40 PM
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