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Monday, January 09, 2017

Keeping all the conflicts straight is job one

by digby

This is a useful tool put together by the Sunlight Foundation. It's hard to wrap your arms around the massive, monumental corrupt practices of the Trump empire as he enters the White House. But it's got to be done.

Conflict of interest red flags 

  • Businesses registered during the campaign in Saudi Arabia
  • Businessmen from India meet with President-elect TrumpForeign diplomats at Trump Hotel in DC
  • Ivanka Trump sits in on meeting with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
  • Ivanka Trump’s company hawks a bracelet after 60 minutes interviews
  • Trump children (who will run business) on transition team. Donald Trump Jr. reportedly is involved in Secretary of Interior selection process
  • Trump currently facing investigation by Department of Labor
  • Trump hotel lease with GSA (which he could be in violation of on day 1 of his administration.)
  • Trump currently under audit by IRS
  • Russian Foreign Minister saying they were in touch with Trump campaign
  • Debt with foreign banks some now facing federal fines
  • Ivanka Trump joined President Mauricio Macri congratulatory phone call with her father
  • Trump said to have told British politician Nigel Farage to oppose wind farm near his Scottish golf course (then lobbying in a tweet for Farage to become ambassador to the U.S.)
  • Philippines appoints man building Trump Tower (licensed under the Trump name) in Manila as “special envoy.” President Duterte has said Trump expressed support for his drug war which has been criticized as an abuse of human rights.
  • Self-dealing (Using nonprofit to help self, business or family) reported in Trump Foundation 2015 Tax return posted on Guidestar.
  • Turkish newspapers reporting that Trump praised his Turkish business partner in a call with Turkish President Erdogan. Erdogan hasreportedly arrested a businessman from Dogan, the company which works with Trump to possibly have leverage for the return of Gulen to Turkey.
  • Trump Foundation received $150,000 from a Ukrainian oligarch for a video speech Trump made in September 2015
  • Trump’s stock in oil pipeline company
  • Long-stalled Trump Tower project in resort town in former Soviet republic of Georgia moves forward
  • Bahrain to hold major event at Trump’s D.C. hotel
  • Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro involved in a criminal investigation in Brazil. (The Trump Organization announced it will pull the name off the hotel and will not operate it.)
  • Trademarks registered around the world
  • His stock portfolio (which reportedly includes shares in banks, pharma, and oil). The transition has stated the portfolio (which according to a Mayfinancial disclosure also includes Boeing) was sold in June, but has not presented evidence of that move.
  • Trump named properties could present global security risk (per former White House ethics lawyer)
  • Holds United Technologies Corp bonds (parent company of Carrier).
  • Ladder Capital, which owns at least $282 million in Trump debt, may beup for sale.
  • Trump has telephone call with Taiwan president where the Trump Organization reportedly is looking at building hotels. (“Beijing... regards the island as a renegade province.”)
  • NBC reportedly has ordered episodes of “The New Apprentice.” Variety reports Trump will retain his Executive Producer title for the show.
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • Sold tickets to Mar-a-Lago New Year’s Eve party
  • 2 Indonesian resort projects with billionaire Hary Tanoesoedibjo as Trump’s local partner. Eric Lipton reported a potential conflict: Tanoesoedibjo “ran for vice president of Indonesia in 2014 and is organizing a political party for another possible run at national office in 2019.”
  • More than 150 financial institutions hold debts connected to the President-elect, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis

Areas of potential conflicts needing more reporting 

  • Reports from Argentina newspaper La Nacion Trump asked President Mauricio Macri about a building project there.
  • Jared Kushner rumored to join the White House
  • Trump team denies they asked for security clearance for Trump children

Settled potential conflicts 

Other swampy behavior 

  • Huge perks for inauguration donors

There is no way for a President of United States to recuse himself from making domestic or foreign policy decisions which would have an impact upon his business holdings. If the transition does not take action, the potential for the most corrupt administration in history is clear. The President of the United States is not above the law, as former White House ethics counsels Norm Eisen and Richard Painter explain the serious conflicts of interest, appearance of conflicts, and Emoluments Clause problems that exist in the video embedded below.

Watch the first 2:30 of this video to see Trump pretty much tell these ethics people to bug off. He does not care.

I don't know what it will take to deal with this because the Republicans are fine with it too. In fact, from their actions so far, they want in on the deal.

But you never know. Something like Watergate would obviously be laughed off today. And Trump isn't vulnerable on some obscure land deal or an affair. In fact, he isn't even vulnerable on sexual assault. So, I don't know what it would take to shock the country enough for him to be impeached. What I do know is that Democrats need to be prepared to move if and when one of these conflicts bursts wide open. That's why it's important to keep track, one by one.