During Donald Trump’s first press conference as president-elect, he most famously called CNN’s Jim Acosta “fake news” and refused to answer any of his questions. Stacked next to him were mountains of file folders that purportedly held all of the complicated documents that it took for Trump to sign away his businesses to avoid any conflicts of interest as president.
It was quite a show, meant to exemplify how wealthy Trump is and how the common peasant is too ignorant to understand the workings of a billionaire’s sophisticated business dealings.
Of course, the whole display was exactly that: a show. Signing a business over to a president’s children doesn’t eliminate a conflict of interest for a president since the money from those businesses are still very much feeding into the coffers of the president’s family.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a 2020 presidential contender, is leading the charge to ensure that neither Trump nor any future president can abuse the emoluments clause while in office. On her website, the bill is explained:
‘United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with 30 of her Senate colleagues, yesterday reintroduced the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act, a bill that would require the President and Vice President to disclose and divest any potential financial conflicts of interest. It also would require presidential appointees to recuse themselves from any specific matters involving the president’s financial conflicts of interest that come before their agencies.’
.@realdonaldtrump remains the most corrupt president in American history, just in terms of criminal investigations.
There’s still the hush money investigation and the emoluments lawsuit. He's NOT exonerated of corruption, by a long shot.
— Tom Steyer (@TomSteyer) March 25, 2019
The bill has multiple provisions for a president and vice president, but more importantly in Trump’s case, it includes provisions for his family. Trump’s children are not unbiased arbitrators of the funds earned by the Trump Organization; therefore, their personal business holdings are still very much affecting policy.
‘Requiring the President, Vice President, their spouses, and minor or dependent children to divest all interests that create financial conflicts of interest by placing those assets in a true blind trust, which would be managed by an independent trustee who would oversee the sale of assets and place the proceeds in conflict-free holdings;
‘Adopting a sense of the Congress that the President’s violation of financial conflicts of interest laws or the ethics requirements that apply to executive branch employees constitute a high crime or misdemeanor under the impeachment clause of the U.S. Constitution; and
‘Prohibiting presidential appointees from participating in matters that directly involve the financial interests of the president.’
— ryan cooper (@ryanlcooper) March 27, 2019
Warren explained her support of the bill and the corruption it’s meant to end. In Trump’s case, it would end his presidency. Have no doubt: forced to choose between his billions and the good of the country, Trump would choose his money every time. That’s what his entire presidency has been about, after all.
‘Corruption has always been the central stain of this presidency. This bill would force President Trump to fully divest from the same Trump properties and assets that special interests have spent two-plus years patronizing to try and curry favor with this administration – all while lining the President’s pockets.’
— Ann Telnaes (@AnnTelnaes) March 20, 2019