Trump’s plan to end conflicts raises questions

Jan 11, 2017

In President-elect Donald Trump’s long-awaited and long-delayed news conference Wednesday, he and his lawyer laid out plans to address concerns about potential conflicts between his presidency and his business interests. Many government ethics experts in both parties are unimpressed, saying the new measures don’t go far enough.

Trump plans to transfer his assets to a trust. It’s not blind or independent in the sense that it’ll be run by his oldest sons and a longtime company executive, who will manage business operations of the Trump Organization. Trump previously promised “no new deals” during his presidency. Today’s announcement bars only new foreign deals, while an ethics advisor will vet potential domestic deals.

The emoluments clause of the Constitution also came up in the news conference. The legal tidbit dealing with enrichment of U.S. officials by foreign governments was obscure until Trump’s election. Even while arguing the clause doesn’t apply to Trump, his lawyer Sheri Dillon said today that Trump will “voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotels to the United States Treasury.”