President-elect Donald Trump said at a wide-ranging press conference today, his first in 168 days, how he will divest himself of his various businesses before taking office on January 20. While he said that he is not required by law to separate himself from his businesses, he will turn over his business operations to a trust run by his two adult sons and a longtime business associate.
"All of Mr. Trump's investments in the Trump organization have been, or will be, conveyed to a trust prior to January 20," or Inauguration Day, Trump's lawyer, Sheri Dillon, told the assembled media at Trump Tower. The trust will only hold liquid assets, e.g. cash and business operating assets. Trump will give up the management and leadership to sons, Donald Trump, Jr. and Eric Trump, as well as a Trump Organization executive.
Ivanka Trump will no longer have any involvement with, or management authority over, the Trump Organization. Her husband, Jared Kushner, has been appointed to a senior advisory position in the Trump administration.
To minimize potential conflicts of interest in the U.S. and overseas, Dillon said, "The written approval of the ethics adviser will be required for new deals, actions and transactions that could potentially raise ethics or conflict of interests concerns." Also, the Trump organization will not enter into new offshore deals, said Dillon, and his access to information about the business will be quite limited.
Trump operates a variety of golf resorts and hotels around the world, including the Trump Hotel at the Old Post Office in Washington DC, many of which are visited by foreign government officials and diplomats. Dillon said today that all profits generated at Trump's hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the US Treasury. Trump said of this that the American people will thus profit.
As for calls for Trump to set up a blind trust for his assets or completely divest himself, Dillon said they would "only exacerbate conflicts of interests." Dillon said, "Selling his brand means he would be entitled to royalties from it, and whatever price was paid for it would be subject to criticism and scrutiny" over whether it was an attempt to curry favor with the president.” She added, "The president-elect should not be expected to destroy the company he built."
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