Minefield Of Scandals Ready To Explode During Trump Administration
Since the election one line has bounced about in my thoughts in relation to the messy and most troubling collision of America’s interests and the large business world of Donald Trump. The line that keeps going through my mind is “When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal”?
The person who uttered those words years after leaving the White House was Richard Nixon.
It does not take anyone any length of time to conclude there is a minefield of scandal just waiting to explode day after day once the new administration takes over. Simply denying the problem exists, or that is does not matter, or that there is no legal issue at play is simply wrong.
Potential Conflicts Around the Globe for Trump, the Businessman President, by Richard C. Paddock, Eric Lipton, Ellen Barry, Rod Norland, Danny Hakim and Simon Romero is the lead story in this morning’s paper.
And in Turkey, officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a religiously conservative Muslim, demanded that Mr. Trump’s name be removed from Trump Towers in Istanbul after he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. More recently, after Mr. Trump came to the defense of Mr. Erdogan — suggesting that he had the right to crack down harshly on dissidents after a failed coup — the calls for action against Trump Towers have stopped, fueling worries that Mr. Trump’s policies toward Turkey might be shaped by his commercial interests.
Mr. Trump has acknowledged a conflict of interest in Turkey. “I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” he said during a radio interview last year with Stephen K. Bannon, the Breitbart News executive who has since been designated his chief White House strategist. “It’s a tremendously successful job. It’s called Trump Towers — two towers, instead of one. Not the usual one. It’s two.”
Some former government officials from both parties [are asking] if America’s reaction to events around the world could potentially be shaded, if only slightly, by the Trump family’s financial ties with foreign players. They worry, too, that in some countries those connections could compromise American efforts to criticize the corrupt intermingling of state power with vast business enterprises controlled by the political elite. …
Mr. Trump’s companies have business operations in at least 20 countries, with a particular focus on the developing world, including outposts in nations like India, Indonesia and Uruguay … What’s more, the true extent of Mr. Trump’s global financial entanglements is unclear, since he has refused to release his tax returns and has not made public a list of his lenders. … Even if Mr. Trump and his family seek no special advantages from foreign governments, officials overseas may feel compelled to help the Trump family by, say, accelerating building permits or pushing more business to one of the new president’s hotels or golf courses, according to several former State Department officials. …
In April, even before Mr. Trump had secured the Republican nomination, his business moved to trademark the name American Idea for use in branding hotels, spas and concierge services, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was one of more than two dozen trademark applications that Mr. Trump and members of his family filed in the United States and around the world while he was running for president.