U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is separating himself from his global business empire by transferring his assets into a trust and putting his two oldest sons in charge, an arrangement that watchdogs said was inadequate to prevent potential conflicts of interest in office.
At a news conference, Trump said he would resign from all positions overseeing hotels, golf courses and hundreds of other businesses to help ensure that he will not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally.
Trump, a Republican, is under pressure to distance himself from his businesses before he moves into the White House on Jan. 20. Trump says that unlike other government officials, he is not required to steer clear of conflicts of interest.
“I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don’t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to,” Trump said.
Ethics experts said the arrangement did not go far enough.
“Mr. Trump’s ill-advised course will precipitate scandal and corruption,” said Norm Eisen, a former White House ethics adviser under Democratic President Barack Obama.
Trump appears to be still involved with his business while preparing to take office, saying he had turned down a $2 billion development deal in Dubai he had been offered over the weekend.
“I didn’t have to turn it down because as you know I have a no-conflict situation because I’m president,” he said.
“DAMAC can confirm that the discussions took place as stated in the media briefing but the proposals were declined ..,” a spokesman for DAMAC, the company involved, told Reuters by email.
Sheri Dillon, a lawyer for Trump, said profits generated at Trump’s hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the U.S. Treasury.
The Trump Organization will not enter into any new overseas deals while Trump is president and will only undertake domestic projects after a company ethics adviser has approved them, said Dillon, a lawyer at Morgan Lewis who focuses on tax and ethics.
Trump will only know of those deals if he hears about them through the news media, Dillon said.
Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, is to have no further involvement with management authority in the group, she said. Trump has appointed her husband, Jared Kushner, to a senior advisory role in the White House.
Since Trump sold all his stocks last year, the Trump trust will hold only business assets and liquid assets such as cash, Dillon said.
Many other ethics experts, including the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, have urged Trump to completely divest or set up a blind trust for his assets. Dillon said that was not a realistic possibility and would hurt him financially.
In a blind trust, the owner does now know what the holdings are or how their assets are managed. Trump’s oldest sons will be running his business, so the arrangement does not meet that standard.
Trump was aided in setting up the trust by lawyer Fred Fielding, a former White House counsel to Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Remaining debt will stay in place and will be dealt with during the ordinary course of business, Dillon said.
— By Steve Holland, Andy Sullivan and Emily Stephenson
Trump says North Korea has returned remains of 200 U.S. war dead
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a rally with supporters in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S. June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump said North Korea had returned on Wednesday (June 20) the remains of 200 U.S. troops missing from the Korean War, although there was no official confirmation of the move from military authorities.
“We got back our great fallen heroes, the remains, in fact today already 200 have been sent back,” Trump told a crowd of supporters during a rally in Duluth, Minnesota.
U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Tuesday that in coming days North Korea would hand over a “sizeable number” of remains to United Nations Command in South Korea, and they would then be transferred to Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.
Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a historic summit last week in Singapore, and said in a news conference afterwards that Kim had agreed to return the remains of U.S. soldiers.
About 7,700 U.S. military personnel remain unaccounted from the 1950-1953 Korean War, U.S. military data show. According to the Pentagon, North Korean officials have indicated in the past that they have the remains of as many as 200 U.S. troops. More than 36,500 U.S. troops died in the conflict. — Reuters
Trump signs executive order to keep immigrant families together
U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order on immigration policy in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump, addressing what his administration has characterized as an unwanted side effect of his zero-tolerance policy on illegal immigration, signed an executive order on Wednesday (June 20) to keep families who illegally cross the U.S. southern border together as they await immigration proceedings.
“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump told reporters as he signed the measure.
The order requires that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although it was not immediately clear for how long. It also moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings. The order does not end a “zero tolerance” policy that calls for criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally.
Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from abroad, including Pope Francis.
Trump, a frequent viewer of cable television newscasts, had recognized the family separation issue was a growing political problem, White House sources said. First lady Melania Trump, in private conversations with the president, urged him to do something, a White House official said.
Wednesday’s move marked a rare instance since Trump took office in January 2017 in which he has changed course on a controversial policy, rather than digging in. — Reuters
Trump says he wants to end border crisis by deporting illegal families together
US President Donald Trump (Image grabbed from Reuters video)
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday (June 19) that the current immigration crisis surrounding the separation of undocumented family members at the southern U.S. border could be resolved if new laws would allow the U.S. to deport entire families together as one unit.
Trump was speaking at the start of an address to the National Federation of Independent Business in Washington.
His comments came the same day a major business lobbying group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urged an end to his administration’s policy of separating children from parents trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the border with Mexico.
The family separations, highlighted by videos of youngsters detained in cages and an audiotape of wailing children, have sparked an outcry at home and strong condemnation abroad.
Trump also suggested in his comments on Tuesday that some of the problems are caused by child smugglers who have taken advantage of loopholes in U.S. immigration laws and that lawyers assisting asylum seekers are also gaming the system. — Reuters