On Wednesday’s Breitbart News Daily, SiriusXM host Alex Marlow asked Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer what steps President-elect Donald Trump should take to separate his extensive business interests from the White House.
“There seems to be a desire to do that, and that’s very, very encouraging,” said Schweizer. “And there’s not any easy answers. If you look at recent American political history, or probably American history in general, there is not a President-elect or President of the United States that has been involved in as many commercial enterprises as Donald Trump has. He has a business empire that spans the world. He’s got real estate properties around the world, he’s got branding arrangements, et cetera. So it’s not an easy task, and there is not going to be a silver bullet that fixes all of it.”
“Some people have said he should divest himself from his holdings. That certainly, I think, is something that would help. But it would not fix the problem, and it’s not, I think, a necessity. One of the things Joel Pollak at Breitbart has advocated is that you create an independent auditor in the White House, recognizing that you can’t expect the White House counsel’s office – who really works for the president – to monitor financial transactions via details, so you get like a federal judge or somebody to independently audit and see what’s going on. That, I think, is a very, very interesting idea,” said Schweizer.
“But the bottom line is that Donald Trump is gonna have to give up some of his commercial opportunities, and he is gonna have to give up some of his commercial freedom. I think he knew that when he announced to be President of the United States,” Schweizer said.
“My hope is that he will err on the side of limiting severely his exposure to the business, but even more than that, I hope within the Trump family – I think this has hopefully happened, but needs to continue to happen – is a conversation where the President-elect, and later President Trump reminds his kids, ‘People are going to be throwing opportunities at you because they want favors from me.’ You need to say no because, guess what, I’m not gonna give any favors. I’m not gonna give any sweetheart deals. The Russian government might sell you land in the heart of Moscow and give you a great deal to build a hotel. You need to say no, see it for what it is, and you need to make clear, ‘I’m not doing favors for anybody who’s doing business with us,’” he urged.
“That, I think, is ultimately the key to this. Time will tell. There’s a lot of temptations that float at people that are in the position of the presidency and their family. We’ve seen it from the Bushes to the Clintons, that oftentimes, family members are willing to take those sweetheart deals in exchange for access. I just hope and pray for the country and for the efforts to drain the swamp that Donald Trump has that conversation with the kids, and they set up a very, very high wall between the family’s business interests and the official business that he does as President of the United States,” Schweizer declared.
He saw many potential conflicts of interest for the Trump family, given how close the President-elect is to his children and how he has relied on them as advisers and surrogates in the past.
“I’m particularly sensitive, in light of what happened with the Clinton Foundation, that when the Trumps are doing business in real estate, which is a highly political business to begin with, and they go to places like Dubai or Russia or places in Latin America, you are de facto doing business with the governments in those countries, and they could make sweetheart deals with the Trumps to curry favor,” he noted.
“To have a situation where one of the kids, who is smart and who he esteems and respects, is doing a business deal that is highly favorable, and that child just happens to give him advice on something related to that country – that is a massive conflict of interest,” Schweizer warned.
“I think you need to step back, the family needs to step back, and decide: are they going to put the business on hold for at least four years, kind of let things run as they are but not have an expansive plan, and then have the kids involved in advising him in what to do? Or are they going to expand their business, the kids? And if they are, they need to not be whispering in the ear or advising their father. That’s the cleanest, and, I think, best way to do this,” he recommended.
Peter Schweizer is the president of the Government Accountability Institute and a senior editor-at-large for Breitbart News.
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.