Donald Trump defies promise to resolve conflicts of interest before electors vote

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump brazenly walked back a promise to hold a press conference explaining how he would resolve potential conflicts of interest from his sprawling international business empire on Monday, CNBC reported.

Trump originally said he would hold the press conference on Dec. 15, before the Electoral College votes on Dec. 19 to confirm his win in the presidential race in November. He added "legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations."

Trump notably has not addressed widespread criticism of his plan to set up a so-called "blind trust" to put three of his adult children, Donald Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Trump, in charge of his businesses — the key issue being that an organization managed by his kids would not actually provide any safeguards against unethical behavior. After Trump tweeted the press conference plans, the executive branch's Office of Government Ethics trolled him in a lengthy tweet storm seemingly intended to goad him into total divestiture from his business concerns.

The president-elect has numerous potential conflicts of interest which he has expressed little interest in substantively resolving, Mic's James Dennin reported, from real-estate development deals across the world and outstanding loans to the Bank of China to investments in energy companies Trump's proposed policies could benefit.

Some stories are outright unnerving, such as reports Trump used an official call with former United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage to oppose wind farms within viewing range of his U.K. golf courses. Another story from NPR alleged Trump recieved a congratulatory call from Argentinian President Mauricio Macri and segued into a discussion of a stalled business development.

"His children managing the company, even if they never talk to him, would still be a conflict of interest as the law is traditionally understood,"  University of Toronto professor Andy Stark told Mic. "Your judgment is as skewed by what benefits your kids as much as it is by what benefits yourself."

While the president is formally excluded from federal conflicts of interest statues under existing Department of Justice standards, Trump could still run afoul of the Constitution's emoluments clause, which prohibits any office holders from conducting business deals or taking financial compensation from foreign governments without the consent of the U.S. Congress.

On Twitter, Newsweek contributor Kurt Eichenwald teased the decision to roll back the press conference could be related to an upcoming scoop about Trump's business interests.

When specifically pressed on the emoluments clause, Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks responded, "The president- elect has been focused on putting a team in place to enact real change starting on day one. With so many iconic properties and successful entities, moving the announcement to January ensures the legal team has ample time to implement the proper protocols so his sole focus will remain on the country and achieving his ambitious agenda with the help of the world-class cabinet he has built."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Here's the secret to hitting "pause" on your debt

Get rid of debt more easily by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card, trying out new financial management apps, and turning to traditional debt consolidation tactics.

These are the telltale signs your student loan "relief" company is a scam

Student debt relief or loan servicing companies may sometimes have shady business records. Here's how to tell if a firm is real — or a scam or fraud.

5 classes you've never heard of — but that can boost your pay in the future

To earn high pay, these are the best classes to take, as traditional industries face existential crises and new lucrative fields of study emerge.

Why your health care costs could rise under the Senate GOP bill

How the Senate healthcare bill affects you: It could increase out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and premiums for consumers, and cut people from Medicaid, while lowering plan quality.

Tips that pay off: These 5 bits of career advice will get you a job you actually love

It doesn't take much to go from novice to career genius. These 5 easy steps will snag you your dream job.

7 unconscious mistakes that are ruining your job hunt

Sometimes the best career advice is to get out of your own way — and pay better attention to the unconscious mistakes you're making while communicating.

Here's the secret to hitting "pause" on your debt

Get rid of debt more easily by getting a 0% balance transfer credit card, trying out new financial management apps, and turning to traditional debt consolidation tactics.

These are the telltale signs your student loan "relief" company is a scam

Student debt relief or loan servicing companies may sometimes have shady business records. Here's how to tell if a firm is real — or a scam or fraud.

5 classes you've never heard of — but that can boost your pay in the future

To earn high pay, these are the best classes to take, as traditional industries face existential crises and new lucrative fields of study emerge.

Why your health care costs could rise under the Senate GOP bill

How the Senate healthcare bill affects you: It could increase out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and premiums for consumers, and cut people from Medicaid, while lowering plan quality.

Tips that pay off: These 5 bits of career advice will get you a job you actually love

It doesn't take much to go from novice to career genius. These 5 easy steps will snag you your dream job.

7 unconscious mistakes that are ruining your job hunt

Sometimes the best career advice is to get out of your own way — and pay better attention to the unconscious mistakes you're making while communicating.