Kenneth Vogel writes in Politico that President-elect Trump faces “mounting questions about potential conflicts of interest between his vast business fortune and his incoming presidential administration.”
Some observers note that simply handing over management of his international business empire to his adult children or even putting his assets in a blind trust won’t be enough to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interests. Among those raising concerns is “Clinton Cash” author Peter Schweizer who argues that only a full divestment of his holdings can prevent Trump from being susceptible to the same kinds of foreign government influence peddling that plagued the Clinton Foundation.
But Peter Schweizer, the conservative author who drove attention to overlaps between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and her family’s personal and charitable finances, on Saturday suggested that unless Trump fully divested, he could be susceptible to similar conflicts.
Schweizer in an interview on CNN said, “It’s only a question of time” before the Trump Organization is approached by a foreign government or its allies with “sweetheart deals for the Trumps in hoping to curry favor.”
“And if they take those offers, it’s hugely problematic. It’s not only a conflict of interest, it’s the appearance of a conflict of interest. And then you’ve got major problems around U.S. foreign policy towards that country,” said Schweizer, pointing out that in many countries “those large real estate deals that they engage in are inherently political.”
Schweizer suggested the specter of conflicts would continue to loom over Trump unless and until he moved “to sell his ownership stake in the companies,” and also announced “that they are not going to have any government contracts.”
Schweizer said Trump owed it to the voters who supported him to consider implementing “bright line” ethics rules. He acknowledged “to divest yourself from real estate holdings is not an easy thing, but I think it would be a very powerful thing to do and would send a great signal to the American people who are clamoring for somebody to clean up Washington, DC.”
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