Monday, 14 November 2016 11:36

Trump worsens conflict-of-interest concerns placing children on presidential transition team

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all in family trumpThe President elect-Donald Trump has recently stated that four members of his family would be on the transition team.  This sent shockwaves to many,  During the election, I outlined how Trump could be embedded in so many potential conflicts that it could make our heads spin. True, other Presidents of the United States have had assets and holdings, but to his business credit and expertise, none of them are as extensive and vast as The Donald's.

Trump, during the campaign, indicated that his kids would run the business and that he would put it in a blind trust, although, he also questioned whether this would be a blind trust if his kids ran the business which includes his holdings.

My logic tells me, it is virtually impossible for this to occur.  If anything, Trump would be forever accused of creating and/or maintaining the perception of a conflict, which, we have been told by Trump supporters when referring to the Clinton Foundation, it as bad as an actual conflict.

They were right.

When the news of Trump's children now also being placed on the transition team, I expressed my concerns by creating two videos.  Below is the narrative of the second video entitled "Trump family blind trust, full of potential conflicts of interest; Could steal America blind" (which is above).

Is this an issue? Once Trump becomes president he will have authority over the GSA which has significant business dealings the federal agency.  Actually, the GSA is now complaining that could be a conflict of interest.   Everybody complained about the Clinton Foundation--which they had a right to complain.  They were afraid of Clinton conflict of interests.   

However, the Trump family runs a multi-billion dollar business with real estate holdings and interests in so many different properties all over the world.   Donald Trump said that he's going to "drain the swamp"! "Drain the swamp"! 

In a recent ABC interview with George Stephanapoulas, Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. said that when Trump becomes president he will severe all ties to his business and put things into a blind trust.  The son Trump "would put these things in a blind trust" and would have "nothing to do with it because he's much more concerned, he said to me, he's much more concerned about America, about putting Americans back to work, about getting jobs for America.  The business that he's created incredible, but he doesn't care.  He said its's small potatoes relative to what he can do for his country that he loves so much" 

Can Trump do this, put his kids in charge while he is President of the United States?  

According to the definition of a blind trust, it is "where the trustees have full discretion over the assets and the trust beneficiaries theoretically have no knowledge of the holdings of the trust.  The trustor initiates the trust and maintains the ability to terminate the trust.   

The trustor, in this case, will be Donald Trump.   

The definition continues that the “trustor exercises no control over the actions taken by the trust and receives no reports of the trustees while the blind trust is enforced.  

In the interview, Stephanapolous said, “It's not a blind trust if you and your siblings are still running” to which Donald Jr. said, “ we're not going to be involved in government,  not involved in government”.   

But, the Trump properties are well well known to Donald trump so the trust would not be truly blind, would it?  His kids who would manage his properties whether they're here in the United States or in other countries.  They will have interests directly aligned with Donald Trump's interests.  

During the interview, Donald Jr. said, “this is I mean this would be standard operating procedure for any president who has had businesses but Stephanaplous responded saying that George Bush, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Mitt Romney while as the Republican candidates-- all “put their interest in a blind trust during the campaign, your father has not done”.   

Donald Trump Jr. responded and insisted that his father would, as president, have nothing to do with the blind trust or the company.   

He'll have nothing to do with it?  So, he won't be hiring people who might be in the situation to help his family interests?  He will be reading newspapers to see what his kids are doing? He will be talking to his children about the golf courses or about issues and decisions that relate to his properties and his branding?  He won't be passing tax policies that will be beneficial to his real-estate holdings?   

Trump Jr. said, “in the grand scheme of things, it's a big company, but it's small potatoes compared to what he's doing”  He doesn't need the money, he doesn't need any of those things. What he wants to do is, he wants to fix America.”   

The son said “he trusts me and you know it's a very full time job.  He doesn't need to worry about the business.  The business is in good hands.  He trusts us with that.   

So Donald Jr. said, his father doesn’t need the money.  So, why doesn't he releases taxes so we can see who his silent partners might be in his local, his domestic, and his foreign holdings around the world?   So we can determine whether he doesn't pay income taxes like everybody else?  So we can keep track of his income now compared to the future?  So we can determine if he does receive any direct benefit from his position in government?  So we have a better idea if his kids receive a benefit, therefore, he received a benefit? 

Certainly, we would have wanted the Clintons to reveal all sources of income and obligations to determine if they were putting America first.  Shouldn't we want the same from Donald Trump and from Trump inc? 

In a recent article, Reuters pointed out that Trump owns a luxury hotel in Washington just blocks away from the White House and he doesn't own the property.  He leases it from the United States government which puts Trump and his family on both sides of a landlord-tenant disputes.   

The publication notes that he “has licensing deals and diverse real estate holdings in numerous countries and those holdings could benefit from foreign government subsidies or tax breaks companies in which he holds an interest. Reuters said he owes hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign banks such as Deutsche Bank, Bank of China and that his properties are located in Turkey, Uraguay, Philippines, South Korea, Ireland, Britain, the Arab Emirates and countries trying to influence policies.   

The publication noted that by doing business with this companies or even, as his kids, for example, his daughter Ivanka, has a line of fashion products which along with other Trump branded items, are made in countries like China.  Reuters notes “let's not forget Trump has accused China of currency manipulation and has threatened to put tariffs on its imports”. 

No conflict of interests no potential conflict of interest? 

Please watch the video above and its companion video 


Last modified on Monday, 14 November 2016 13:32
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