Donald Trump’s stunning victory will force the United States to confront a series of never-before-seen entanglements over the president’s private business, debts and rocky financial history. No laws prohibit Trump from involving himself in his private company, the Trump Organization, while serving in the highest public office.
Ethics officials urged Trump during his campaign to pledge he would sell his businesses or cede them to an independent authority. Many modern presidents — including Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and both Bushes — went beyond what was required and placed their assets in “blind trusts,” run by third-party managers who keep complete control. But Trump has refused to make such a pledge, saying only that he would give companies to his children and executives to run. Attorneys said that would put little distance between a President Trump and the businesses he spent a lifetime grooming and profiting from.
"Now we are faced with the possibility that a son or daughter of the president will turn up in Moscow or Uzbekistan or somewhere else negotiating a deal on a new property that will bear the name of the president, and the full knowledge that the president really is an owner of the company," Trevor Potter, a former Federal Election Commission chairman, general counsel for George H.W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Member of Caplin & Drysdale, said in September. "That presents problems of a dimension we have never seen before."
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Excerpt taken from the article “Trump’s Conflicts of Interest are Without Precedent in American Presidential History” by Drew Harwell for The Washington Post.