I was thinking President Plutocrat has to obey rules against conflicts of interest…but he doesn’t. The Times spelled it out a couple of days ago:
A theme of Mr. Trump’s presidency is likely to be the clash of his duties running the country with the remnants of his decades as a hard-charging businessman. But federal rules and precedent make a couple of things clear.
Mr. Trump will have no immunity from lawsuits involving his corporate ventures, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling involving Paula Jones, one of President Bill Clinton’s accusers. And nothing will stop Mr. Trump’s family from continuing to run its vast international web of businesses. Federal ethics laws and conflict-of-interest statutes that apply to other federal employees and cabinet members do not apply to the president.
So that’s bad news. President Corrupt is who he is, so he will avail himself of that immunity to go right ahead and use the office to his personal advantage and profit. Of course he will. He didn’t get where he is by passing up opportunities to be a greedy corrupt piece of shit.
“It is unprecedented in modern history to have the level of complexity of global substantial business relationships that the president-elect has, and the litigation that inevitably follows any complex global business venture,” said Norman L. Eisen, a former special counsel for ethics and government reform under President Obama, who supported Mr. Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. “It will be complicated, but not insurmountable.”
And either way there won’t be anything we can do about it.
Mr. Trump faces potential conflicts on multiple fronts. He has income streams that could be affected by taxation policies he may try to get through Congress. His companies have hundreds of millions of dollars of debt from banks regulated by the federal government. In one case, Mr. Trump is a part owner of an office building in Manhattan that carries a $950 million loan from lenders that include the Bank of China.
A key source of his revenue is the licensing of the Trump name, both domestically and abroad, and the value of that brand could be helped, or harmed, by actions he takes or does not take.
The Trump Organization said it had begun the process of “vetting various structures,” with a goal of quickly transferring the businesses to three of Mr. Trump’s children — Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — along with executives. “This is a top priority at the Organization and the structure that is ultimately selected will comply with all applicable rules and regulations,” Amanda Miller, a marketing executive for the company, wrote in an email.
During a debate in January, Mr. Trump said he would put his holdings in a blind trust, an arrangement in which a public official lets a financial manager control his wealth and does not know exactly how the money is invested. But in the next breath, he acknowledged the problem with that strategy: “Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it.”
Yeah it’s not. But that’s ok because it turns out a blind trust isn’t obligatory, because nobody thought someone as corrupt as Trump could get elected president.
Under federal laws, executive branch employees must comply with conflict-of-interest rules that guard against being influenced by personal investments, and they must curb payments from sources outside the government. As a result, employees may have to recuse themselves from working on matters where they may have conflicts, holding certain properties or accepting money. For example, when Henry Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs executive, became Treasury secretary in 2006, he pledged to sell about $470 million in company stock to comply with conflict-of-interest rules.
But the president and vice president were exempted from such laws, on the theory that they needed to be able to carry out their constitutional duties without restraint. So President Trump will be able to take actions pertaining to another country even if he has business interests there.
And we can be very sure he won’t even try to bracket his business interests while taking those actions. Don’t be silly – he’s not going to waste this golden opportunity, is he. Making himself richer is all he knows.
Mr. Trump will be required next year to file an updated personal financial disclosure listing his holdings, similar to the forms he has filed the past couple of years as a candidate. But Mr. Trump will not be required to make public his income tax returns, which he declined to do during the campaign, citing a continuing audit by the Internal Revenue Service, an agency he will now control. If he did release them, the tax returns could provide transparency into his international business dealings and other potential conflicts that may arise.
But he won’t release them, because why would he. He gets away with it, so he’ll go on doing that.
Mr. Trump has been engaged in a lengthy dispute with Palm Beach County over jetliners flying over his Mar-a-Lago resort on the way to and from the nearby airport. In a lawsuit, he claimed that the noise, vibrations and emissions from the aircraft are disruptive to guests and damaging the property, including the Dorian stone and antique Cuban roof tiles.
And in Washington, Mr. Trump has sued two celebrity chefs, Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés, after they backed out of restaurant deals at his new hotel development at the Old Post Office Pavilion after he made incendiary comments last year about Mexican immigrants.
The Old Post Office project itself is a potential conflict. The Trump Organization signed a 60-year deal with the federal government to redevelop and manage the building as a hotel — meaning that he will be, in a sense, his own landlord.
The squalor rises every hour.