Not in any way a blind trust

And then there’s that whole thing about the conflicts of interest. Sam Thielman in the Guardian:

When President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House next year he will bring with him potential conflicts of interest across all areas of government that are unprecedented in American history.

Trump, who manages a sprawling, international network of businesses, has thus far refused to put his businesses into a blind trust the way his predecessors in the nation’s highest office have traditionally done. Instead he has said his businesses will be run by his own adult children.

As someone on NPR said yesterday, that’s not a blind trust, that’s a 20/20 vision trust.

Donald Jr, Eric and Ivanka Trump are all on the president-elect’s transition team executive committee, per ABC’s Candace Smith, as is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

HONK. Conflict of interest, right there.

[A]ccording to regulators who have overseen potential conflicts of interests under two former presidents, Trump’s arrangements were unprecedented and present a host of issues.

This is in no way a blind trust, said Karl Sandstrom, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the regulatory body that oversees campaign finance, under Bill Clinton and George W Bush. “A blind trust is not anywhere near the same. You don’t still have access to the decision being made. That’s why you put assets in and don’t just have someone else manage the company,” he said. Trump’s assets will instead apparently remain united under his company, and operated under his name even if he is not directly in charge.

“Reagan spent some time in the private sector but he certainly wasn’t a CEO,” said Robert Lenhard, also a former FEC chair, appointed by George W Bush. “He wasn’t operating a set of companies like Trump is. Most of our presidents have come out of political careers – Eisenhower’s time out of office was mostly a hiatus between the military and the presidency.”

Trump on the other hand is a huckster. He’s in it for the bucks. That’s what he knows. That’s all he knows.

Trump owns hotels in Chicago, New York City, Las Vegas, Waikiki and, most recently, in Washington DC, just down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. As with any hotel chain, the Trump Organization will oversee power, water, maintenance, security, billing and any number of other logistical details that will now essentially be negotiated between the provider and the family of the president.

Abroad, Trump holds properties in Istanbul, where his election was met with satisfaction by that country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as Mumbai, Vancouver and Seoul, among many others. With Trump’s children running his businesses, there is also the matter of their bearing his name, and thus the name of the president, anywhere in the world when they arrive to negotiate leases and construction deals.

Squalid, isn’t it.

Also in Russia, there are Trump’s ties to Paul Manafort, who ran his campaign from March to August. Manafort, who helped to install Putin ally Viktor Yanukovych as president in Ukraine, was named in a corruption investigation by a Ukrainian authority working with the FBI.

Then there is the matter of the president-elect’s stock portfolio. Trump has holdings in Dakota Access pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners. In his first 100 days, Trump has pledged to remove every impediment to the pipeline, which has been the subject of protests violently suppressed by police in North Dakota. He also owns stock in Facebook, whose CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted that he was “feeling hopeful” on Wednesday, and in Bank of America – he has promised to deregulate the banking industry.

This should go well.

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