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<span class="articleLocation”>U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on
Wednesday he is separating himself from his global business
empire by transferring his assets into a trust and putting his
two oldest sons in charge, an arrangement that watchdogs said
was inadequate to prevent potential conflicts of interest in
At a news conference, Trump said he would resign from all
positions overseeing hotels, golf courses and hundreds of other
businesses to help ensure that he will not consciously take
actions as president that would benefit him personally.
Trump, a Republican, is under pressure to distance himself
from his businesses before he moves into the White House on Jan.
20. Trump says that unlike other government officials, he is not
required to steer clear of conflicts of interest.
“I could actually run my business and run government at the
same time. I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able
to do that if I wanted to,” Trump said.
Ethics experts said the arrangement did not go far enough.
“Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and
corruption,” said Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics
adviser under Democratic President Barack Obama.
Trump appears to be still involved with his business while
preparing to take office, saying he had turned down a $2 billion
development deal in Dubai he had been offered over the weekend.
“I didn’t have to turn it down because as you know I have a
no-conflict situation because I’m president,” he said.
“DAMAC can confirm that the discussions took place as stated
in the media briefing but the proposals were declined ..,” a
spokesman for DAMAC, the company involved, told Reuters by
Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump, said profits generated at
Trump’s hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the
The Trump Organization will not enter into any new overseas
deals while Trump is president and will only undertake domestic
projects after a company ethics adviser has approved them, said
Dillon, a lawyer at Morgan Lewis who focuses on tax and ethics.
Trump will only know of those deals if he hears about them
through the news media, Dillon said.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is to have no further involvement
with management authority in the group, she said. Trump has
appointed her husband, Jared Kushner, to a senior advisory role
in the White House.
Since Trump sold all his stocks last year, the Trump trust
will hold only business assets and liquid assets such as cash,
Many other ethics experts, including the U.S. Office of
Government Ethics, have urged Trump to completely divest or set
up a blind trust for his assets. Dillon said that was not a
realistic possibility and would hurt him financially.
In a blind trust, the owner does now know what the holdings
are or how their assets are managed. Trump’s oldest sons will be
running his business, so the arrangement does not meet that
Trump was aided in setting up the trust by lawyer Fred
Fielding, a former White House counsel to Republican presidents
Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Remaining debt will stay in place and will be dealt with
during the ordinary course of business, Dillon said.
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