Still going down the list

Joshua Foust’s list.

Item six is the only one without a link.

  • Putting one’s children into senior positions of a government is the behavior of a banana republic, not a constitutional democracy with strong institutions. This is not normal.

There was Kennedy making his brother Attorney General. There was plenty of controversy about that at the time. Sticking in three children and the spouse of one of them, all at once – when they are all entangled in the president’s many businesses – that’s a whole new level.

Item seven is his refusal to disclose his taxes.

Item eight:

  • Asking if he can decline the President’s salary, so as to avoid paying taxes, is not normal.

The link is to a Forbes article which quotes him saying on 60 Minutes that he won’t take the salary, and goes on to discuss taxation in general. I don’t see anything that says Trump wants to refuse his salary to avoid paying taxes on it. I think that one’s a bust.

Item nine is the hundreds of millions he owes Deutschebank. Item 10 is one of the very startling ones:

  • Ascending to the White House while your eldest son, who is also on your transition team, and for whom you also seek a top-secret clearance, seeks out seven-digit business deals in Russia, is not normal. When Russia then names the President elect an “honorary Cossack,” it is not normal.

The first link is to a Newsweek piece from September.

If Donald Trump is elected president, will he and his family permanently sever all connections to the Trump Organization, a sprawling business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world? Or will Trump instead choose to be the most conflicted president in American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States?

The second, unless someone can and does force him to do the first.

Throughout this campaign, the Trump Organization, which pumps potentially hundreds of millions of dollars into the Trump family’s bank accounts each year, has been largely ignored. As a private enterprise, its businesses, partners and investors are hidden from public view, even though they are the very people who could be enriched by—or will further enrich—Trump and his family if he wins the presidency.

Sigh. All that palaver about Clinton’s emails, and this went under-reported.

A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities. It also reveals a web of contractual entanglements that could not be just canceled. If Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires.

It’s inaccurate, Newsweek says, to pretend the Clinton foundation is like this. The Clinton Foundation actually spends the money it raises on “charitable efforts, such as fighting neglected tropical diseases that infect as many as a billion people.” It’s not a piggy bank for the Clintons.

On the other hand, the Trump family rakes in untold millions of dollars from the Trump Organization every year. Much of that comes from deals with international financiers and developers, many of whom have been tied to controversial and even illegal activities. None of Trump’s overseas contractual business relationships examined by Newsweek were revealed in his campaign’s financial filings with the Federal Election Commission, nor was the amount paid to him by his foreign partners. (The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for the names of all foreign entities in partnership or contractually tied to the Trump Organization.) Trump’s financial filings also indicate he is a shareholder or beneficiary of several overseas entities, including Excel Venture LLC in the French West Indies and Caribusiness Investments SRL, based in the Dominican Republic, one of the world’s tax havens.

Trump’s business conflicts with America’s national security interests cannot be resolved so long as he or any member of his family maintains a financial interest in the Trump Organization during a Trump administration, or even if they leave open the possibility of returning to the company later. The Trump Organization cannot be placed into a blind trust, an arrangement used by many politicians to prevent them from knowing their financial interests; the Trump family is already aware of who their overseas partners are and could easily learn about any new ones.

Many foreign governments retain close ties to and even control of companies in their country, including several that already are partnered with the Trump Organization. Any government wanting to seek future influence with President Trump could do so by arranging for a partnership with the Trump Organization, feeding money directly to the family or simply stashing it away inside the company for their use once Trump is out of the White House. This is why, without a permanent departure of the entire Trump family from their company, the prospect of legal bribery by overseas powers seeking to influence American foreign policy, either through existing or future partnerships, will remain a reality throughout a Trump presidency.

Newsweek provides a great deal of detail.

As I said – we can’t even keep up.

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