Trump separating from business to avoid conflict concerns: lawyerBy Reuters
Wednesday January 11, 2017 12:19
President-elect Donald Trump is separating himself from his far-flung global business empire by transferring all assets into a trust and putting his two sons in charge, a Trump lawyer said on Wednesday.
Along with plans to hire an ethics adviser, Trump is taking the steps to avoid inevitable questions about a potential conflict of interest between his businesses and the office of the presidency, although his lawyer insisted he was not required to take them.
Republican Trump, who is to be sworn in on Jan. 20, has been under pressure to take these steps before he moves into the White House.
Trump operates a variety of golf resorts and hotels around the world. The lawyer, who spoke to a small group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said all profits generated at Trump's hotels by foreign governments will be donated to the U.S. Treasury.
Trump is to resign from all positions he holds with Trump Organization entities, and his daughter, Ivanka, is to have no further involvement with management authority in the group.
Ivanka Trump is the wife of Jared Kushner, who Trump has appointed to a senior advisory role in the White House.
The Trump Organization will not enter any new deals while Trump is president, according to the lawyer.
Since Trump sold all his stocks last year, the Trump trust is to hold only liquid assets such as cash and business operating assets, the lawyer said.
Many ethics experts had urged Trump to completely divest or set up a blind trust for his assets. The lawyer said Trump opted against these steps because it was not a realistic possibility.
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.
Interviews are being conducted in the search for an ethics adviser for the trust, the lawyer said.
"The written approval of the ethics adviser will be required for new deals, actions and transactions that could potentially raise ethics or conflict of interests concerns," the lawyer said.
Trump has terminated all pending business deals to clear the way for becoming president. His access to information about his businesses will be sharply limited, the lawyer said.
The moratorium on new deals does not apply to contracts that are entered into by the Trump Organization and its affiliates in the ordinary course of business.
Remaining debt will stay in place and will be dealt with during the ordinary course of business, the lawyer said.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; editing by Anna Driver and Grant McCool)