Senate Dems Rolling out Bill to Force Trump to Shed Conflicts of Interest
Senate Democrats are trying to force Donald Trump to put his investments in a blind trust, saying it would be a conflict of interest if he doesn’t do it.
The Hill reports:
A group of Senate Democrats will introduce legislation requiring President-elect Donald Trump to divest any financial assets that pose a conflict of interest and place the money into a blind trust.
The bill would also consider any violation by Trump of conflict of interest or ethics laws a “high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. constitution,” according to a fact sheet on the forthcoming bill from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office.
“The American people deserve to know that the President of the United States is working to do what’s best for the country — not using his office to do what’s best for himself and his businesses,” the Massachusetts Democrat said.
Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Chris Coons (Del.), Dick Durbin (Ill.) and Jeff Merkley (Ore.) also back the legislation. They’ll formally introduce the bill next month when lawmakers return to Washington.
The legislation would require incoming first lady Melania Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, his wife, Karen Pence, and Trump’s youngest son, Barron, to shed any financial assets that would pose a conflict of interest and place them into a blind trust.
It would also block presidential appointees from participating in matters that are directly linked to the Trumps’ financial interests, or businesses controlled by the president-elect or Melania Trump.
The legislation would face an uphill battle in a GOP-controlled Congress, where leadership has stressed since the election that they are focused on working with Trump.
But Democrats are showing no signs of backing down from their monthslong hounding of Trump over his financial ties, urging him to follow the advice of a top government ethics office.
Twenty-three senators sent a letter to Trump this week, warning that his financial ties “have the potential for serious conflicts between the national interest and your personal financial interests.”
Durbin noted that Trump was expected to announce his plans to untangle himself from his vast businesses ties this week, but argued he instead took time to meet with Kanye West.
“President-elect Trump’s financial entanglements are unprecedented in American history, and the American people are still waiting to hear what steps he will take before January 20th to guard against conflicts of interest and corruption in his Administration,” he said.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said the press conference would be delayed until next month because of “how convoluted and complex many of these business holdings are.”
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) separately released a letter from the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) that noted it wasn’t involved in Trump’s business plan. It also said that Trump’s stated plan to turn over the Trump Organization to his oldest children would not qualify as a “blind trust.”
Trump defended his businesses on Thursday morning, saying on Twitter: “The media tries so hard to make my move to the White House, as it pertains to my business, so complex — when actually it isn’t!”
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