Trump Unveils 'Conflicts Of Interest' Solution: No Divestment, Hands Business Over To Sons And "Ethics Officer"

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier today, in what turned out to be at times a very contentious press conference, Trump and his attorney laid out the details behind plans to place his business interests into a trust to be run by his two adult sons during his presidency.  Even though he opened by noting that, by law, he could very well ignore the criticism of the media and "run my business and run government at the same time" he concluded by noting that he just doesn't "like the way that looks."  Per Bloomberg:

“I could actually run my business and run government at the same time,” Trump said at a press conference Wednesday, adding that he recently turned down an offer of $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai. “I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to.”


"Over the weekend, I was offered $2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very amazing man, a great developer from the Middle East,” Trump said Wednesday, referring to the company Damac Properties Dubai Co PJSC. “I turned it down.”


Niall McLoughlin, a spokesman for Damac, confirmed Trump’s account. “Damac confirms that discussions took place but, as stated, they were declined,” he said by phone from Dubai. “These were proposals for different property deals.”

As laid out by Trump's attorney, Sheri Dillon of Morgan Lewis, his roughly 500 business entities will be placed into a trust to be run by Eric, Don Jr. and Trump's current CFO Allen Weisselberg who will make decision regarding day-to-day operations without consulting the President.  Moreover, the trusts strictly forbid entering into new international business arrangements while new domestic arrangements will have to be approved by an "independent ethics officer" who has yet to be named.

Trump’s businesses, which include more than 500 companies with $3.6 billion in assets and ties to more than 20 countries, will be placed into a trust. The trust will be overseen by an independent ethics officer and managed by Trump’s sons Eric and Don Jr., and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who will make decisions without consulting the president. The Trump Organization will terminate all pending partnerships, and won’t enter into new international business arrangements, such as licensing deals for new hotels, while Trump remains in the White House.


Existing Trump businesses, which include hotels and golf courses, will continue to operate and enter into new agreements, such as hosting weddings, parties and other events. Those will be reviewed by the ethics officer to ensure they are conducted at arms’ length. Trump’s debts will be paid down, according to their schedules.


“President-elect Trump should not be expected to destroy the company that he built,” Dillon said.


While Dillion disagreed with suggestions that foreign dignitaries staying at Trump hotels in the U.S. is a violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, she noted that, out of an abundance of caution, Trump will donate all profits from foreign payments at his hotels to the U.S. Treasury.

His lawyers similarly believe that the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits gifts from foreign governments and heads of state, doesn’t apply to fair value exchanges between businesses.


Several legal experts have disagreed, arguing that the clause applies to the president and to Trump’s foreign holdings, which include a partnership with the U.S. envoy in the Philippines, tenancy in Trump Tower of the state-owned Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, and overseas development projects requiring government approvals. Former top ethics officials to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have said Trump will be in violation of the clause as soon as he takes the oath of office.


And, since CNN and MSNBC will undoubtedly object to the proposed trust arrangement, Dillon offered a couple of the many reasons that alternative solutions such as a blind trust or outright sale of Trump's businesses are not feasible options.


But, of course, it didn't take long for legal experts, like Richard Painter, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, to blast the plan, saying “If he owns it, he has conflicts of interest.”

Finally, in fitting form, Trump ended the press conference with his signature line saying that if he returns to the business in 8 years to find that his sons have done a bad job then he'll simply tell them: "You're Fired."

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Looney's picture


Did you see Cory Booker’s slamming Senator Sessions?

Poor idiot thinks he can make himself appear darker than he really is.

Booker is a male version of that stupid white bitch from NAACP who “identified as black”.  ;-)


Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Is that Mulatto wearing blue contact lenses?

That's too funny.

The Merovingian's picture

But, he 'identifies' as being smart, so there is that. /s

Peak Finance's picture

LOLZ Obama legalized Insider Trading, Clinton never divested the Foundation as head of SofS

But I am supposed to care about this

auricle's picture

Yes, you should. Enriching oneself because of their position in power is an abuse of power. Now that he's president, lots of business/bribes will be flowing to Trump Inc.. The ethical person would turn these offers down until after the presidency is over. Which it looks like Trump is doing. 

lil dirtball's picture

Using 'ethical' and 'Trump' in the same paragraph, implying he is ethical. Hilarious. Go read up on his Eminent Domain uses and abuses ... he loves tossing people off of their property for chump change.

'Auricle' - you spelled 'Autistic' wrong.

monoloco's picture

"will have to be approved by an "independent ethics officer" who has yet to be named." 


Chupacabra-322's picture

Unprecedented. Never seen anything like it on reality TV before.

Soul Glow's picture

I am sure there is no conflict of interest.  I am sure when he gets a phone call from the Goldman run Treasury saying rates are going higher he won't have Eric hit the sell real estate button.  I'm sure of it.  In fact I bet this time next year Donald has donated all his assets to the Clinton Foundation.

pound the vix's picture

Conflicts for Trump are considered Treason by the Main Street Media, but insider trading by sitting congressman are ordinary business

Resistance Is Hope's picture

I know, it could really backfire on the media bringing up treason. When you are committing it, it makes sense not to bring it up. It's like lighting a house on fire and screaming at an innocent person "arsonist"! 

Boris Badenov's picture

Arming terrorists is a treasonous offense. Trump will need to put an end to it, lest he be charged.

BlueSceptic's picture

So what's new? He'll keep trying to convince every man and his dog that he's allowed to keep his hands in his business. And all those fake folders on that table should convince exactly no-one (except, of course, the gullible breitbart crowd). This will lead to a court case sooner rather than later, and based on what SCOTUS will decide, this could well lead to impeachment. I hope he's got better lawyers buy then because the ones that came up with the current reasoning should be fired.

nonclaim's picture

When Michael Bloomberg took over New York City as Mayor he was not required to sell his company, or his jet or his island. Did not move to the official residence either.

Buck Johnson's picture

No I don't think so.  You see neither congress or other ex presidents and the families of both want to truly take him on this.  You see if they try to impeach him on this, they will have to look at congress and it being "legal" for them to be in conflict of interest in many things not to mention stocks.  Also family members and ex presidents and such. 

They may talk a big game, but at the end of the day they don't want this pandora box opened and people able to see who is doing what and is allowed to do what. 

BarkingCat's picture

And your opinion is based upon your decades of legal experience???

BlueSceptic's picture

So what's new? He'll keep trying to convince every man and his dog that he's allowed to keep his hands in his business. And all those fake folders on that table should convince exactly no-one (except, of course, the gullible breitbart crowd). This will lead to a court case sooner rather than later, and based on what SCOTUS will decide, this could well lead to impeachment. I hope he's got better lawyers buy then because the ones that came up with the current reasoning should be fired.

peddling-fiction's picture


His business skills could actually help the United States.

peddling-fiction's picture

Its a tool to be used from time to time, when things don't work out, like ObamaCare.

Davy Crockett's picture

You're trying to be a butt-hurt little bitch, but in this case, you're right.

The USA will not be able to overcome the huge debt bubble that it has generated over the last 40 years.  The USA got that debt bubble by spending more than it makes, and as the world economy starts to implode, it will make less still. 

A businessman who knows how to make tough choices to cut expenses will be necessary.  Trump gained that experience when unexpected gambling laws were quickly proposed and passed, which changed the math that made Atlantic City a good investment.  In the USA case, there was no unexpected law changes.  This debt has been piling up for years, in plane sight of everybody, with everybody ignoring it and kicking the can down the road.  There will also be some hard decisions to make regarding how to get out from under this crushing debt load, and that may involve some sort of haircuts or debt restructuring that would look very much like a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the private sector.

The main difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the debtor's assets are sold off to pay the lenders (creditors) whereas in Chapter 11, the debtor negotiates with creditors to alter the terms of the loan without having to liquidate (sell off) assets.


peddling-fiction's picture

The kind of debt incurred by having the FED extend credit in the form of U.S. dollar bills simply can be expunged.

For that you need balls more than business acumen. You will be a hero, but they will come gunning for you.

So what, its time to buckle up and be men.

Resistance Is Hope's picture

In theory, we could pay down the debt if everyone does meth for a decade, only works and donates all surplus money to the Treasury.

FrankDrakman's picture

When Paul Martin was Prime Minister of Canada, he still owned "Canada Steamship Lines", which he put into a 'blind trust' for his duration. 

Not sure what Ol Bungabunga did in Italy, but I doubt he sold everything lock, stock, and barrel. 

Plenty of precedent for what Trump is doing, especially the Clinton Foundation. 


If they decide to put future Trump

MMA-like press conferences on Pay-per-View,

I'm gonna pay up.

LawOfBass's picture

Anything and everything will be blasted by the propagana machine for the next 8 years.  He will not be able to do anything positive, in thier eyes, and if he does something OBVIOUSLY positive (saves a puppy on live video or something) it will be completely downplayed.  Things that O (good riddance) got a pass on will be under the 'scope for Big D. 

good riddance O.  I'd help you pack if I could. 

2_legs_bahhhhhd's picture

The progressives hate anyone that is successful, somehow you didn't earn it. Fuckem

Now, if he was to take money from foreign governments for future favours, that would be an indictable offence. (Roll eyes)

LawOfBass's picture

Now that! would be criminal.  We can't have that.  Think of the mess the media would make if someone did. that. very. thing. 

Nunyadambizness's picture

Wait, wait!!  You mean that WOULDN'T make him the favorite of the leftists??  Hmmm...  Here I thought that would be just the ticket!

Bill of Rights's picture

No good fucken Liberal Scum preaching Ethics? these mother fucker voted to allow themselves INSIDER TRADING !!!! and they preach to Trump!!!!!

onwisconsinbadger's picture

A cyclops, in Greek mythology and later Roman mythology, was a member of a primordial race of giants, each with a single eye in the center of his forehead. The word "cyclops" literally means "round-eyed" or "circle-eyed". You sir are one.

Bill of Rights's picture

And you're a pretty little snowflake I can tell by the makeup you wear. In Geek mythology your a fucking homo.


Sir, I mean mam.

db51's picture

LMAO>   Good one there dickface.   When I think of your Cheesehead Libtard face< I can envision a one eyed Cyclops....oh....wait....that's your fucking ass I'm seeing where you headshould be.   My bad.  I'd never seen an eye with an eyebrow encircling it before.   Maybe you should shave that thing....and it's looking a little red as well.   

gaasp's picture

It's one thing to make the press look bad, another to affect change.  I had my doubts as to how much change he will actually be able to make once in power but he isn't even president yet and is already able to decide where to place the goal posts.

onwisconsinbadger's picture

How do I Con my Way out Kellyanne Conway ? You been Drumpfed.

db51's picture does it feel to crawl out of bed every morning with nothing but Donald Trump occupying your tiny pea sized fucking brain?    lmao...Can you even take a shit without wrihting in pain from the butthurt inflicted uipon you by the Deplorables.   lmao.   Sucks to be you asswipe.   Keep the whining going.   I enjoy your every comment.   I think I'll even start off by upvoting your post just on the comedic content.   Cheers.

BarkingCat's picture

I only think of Obama when the topic of shit arises.

swampmanlives's picture

Hmm let me investment some of this tax payer money to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow.

onwisconsinbadger's picture

who shorted pharma stocks yesterday, I want an investigation.

RopeADope's picture

Most of Trumps worth is in the intangible name. Forcing him to divest of everything with over a billion in debt runs the risk of him becoming insolvent and kills off the cash flow for his family.

It is kind of a no-brainer that there will be no divestment.

just the tip's picture

..... and in a related matter, bubba just caught a private jet to dubai.  clinton foundation business.

Publicus's picture

    We gonna win so much you may even get tired of winning and you'll say please, please Mr. president, It's too much winning! We can't take it anymore!

    assistedliving's picture

    I trust Trump w/ my Atlantic City Casino investments

    I trust Trump w/ my daughter

    I trust Trump to watch his temper, TWITTER account and temperament

    I trust Trump to run his biz and our government as he says he can do

    But all this trust so long as all the ZH'ers are keeping an eye over his shoulder the same way they do for the nigger in chief, the gorilla, the orangatun, the mooslim well u get the drift