Donald Trump has a web of international business interests with few rivals in American history, let alone presidential history, warn ethics experts getting ready to take on a Trump presidency. According to a Washington Post analysis, at least 111 Trump companies have business interests in 18 countries and territories, including China, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia, creating potential conflicts of interest all over the world. "There are so many diplomatic, political, even national security risks in having the president own a whole bunch of properties all over the world," warns Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer of the George W. Bush administration. A roundup of coverage:
- The Guardian reports that a coalition of watchdog groups has asked Trump to put his business holdings in a "genuine blind trust," meaning that an independent trustee would sell all his assets and put the proceeds in investments that would not be disclosed to Trump. The Trump Organization has said control of Trump's assets will be handed to his children, not an independent outsider.
- The New York Times reports that the developers behind the Trump Towers Pune project in India flew to New York and met briefly with Trump last week. The developers say that contrary to reports in Indian newspapers, they did not discuss business with the president-elect. Ethics lawyers, however, say that the meeting created the impression that Trump and his partners are trying to profit from his position in a way that "is unprecedented in modern history."
- The Los Angeles Times reports that in a Fox News Sunday appearance, Mike Pence said lawyers are working on creating the "proper separation" between Trump and his business interests. "I'm very confident working with the best legal minds in the country that the president-elect and his family will create the proper separation from his business going forward," he said.
- The AP looks at the roles of Trump's three eldest children—Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric—and notes that when they enter Trump Tower every day, it's never clear whether they're going to business offices, campaign offices, or their father's penthouse residence. Ivanka Trump caused controversy last week when her company promoted a $10,800 bracelet she wore during a 60 Minutes interview.
(Read more Donald Trump