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
Macron criticizes US over its ‘isolationist’ principles
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to address a joint meeting of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
A day after flaunting his friendship with Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron challenged many of the US president’s policies on Wednesday.
During his visit to the US, Macron and Trump repeatedly shook and grabbed hands, exchanged kisses on the cheek, and slapped each other’s backs while praising their friendship.
But on the last day of his visit, Macron repeatedly criticized the president’s isolationist principles in a speech to a joint meeting of Congress, an honor given to a small number of visiting foreign leaders.
“This requires more than ever the United States’ involvement as your role was decisive for creating and guarding today’s free world. The United States is the one who invented this multilateralism. You are the one now who has to help preserve and reinvent it,” Macron said.
The French leader even encouraged students at George Washington University to step up the fight against one of the issues previously hurled at Trump.
“You will have to fix the climate change, air pollution, the biodiversity in the ocean. My generation will do its best, in order for your generation to have the choice to choose. But it will be the duty of your generation to do the job,” said the French leader.
Macron is in the US to try to persuade Trump to stay in the 2015 nuclear pact between Iran and six major powers.
Capping his three-day visit, the French president calls on the US to not leave the deal until a broader international accord is reached that addresses all remaining concerns about Iran.
Trump has often vowed to pull Washington out of the agreement. He will decide by May 12 whether to restore u-s economic sanctions on Tehran, which could be a first step to ending the deal.
But a US envoy clarifies on Wednesday, Washington is not seeking to reopen the nuclear deal but hopes to stay in it to fix its flaws with a supplementary agreement. — Reuters
Trump, Macron’s awkward French connection amid differences
United States President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2018. Reuters/Brian Snyder
From spontaneous grooming to effusive praise, US President Donald Trump’s fondness for French President Emmanuel Macron was on full display on Tuesday.
As they posed for a photo opportunity, Trump leaned over and brushed something from the French leader’s shoulder.
After that press availability, he also grabbed the French leader’s hand and guided him toward the oval office.
Later in the day, Macron repeatedly reached out to Trump and patted his arm while he discussed his hopes regarding the Iran nuclear deal.
Trump is a hosting a state dinner for Macron Tuesday evening, a high honor not afforded to all visiting leaders. — Reuters
Palace: Trump’s support on Duterte’s war on drugs, more important vs. reports
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has refused to pay attention to the latest report of US State Department that expresses alarm over President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”.
Based on the report, the cases of extrajudicial killings are the “chief human rights concern” in the Philippines which shows “a sharp rise with the onset of the anti-drug campaign in 2016”.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the report directly contradicts US President Donald Trump’s statements which support the anti-drug war.
“Given what we heard from President Trump, let’s just say it exists but we prefer to hold on to the words of President Trump. He is, after all, the president,” Roque said. — UNTV News & Rescue