White House

Ethics experts have advice for President-elect Trump as he prepares his business future

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinnati. Russia’s government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U.S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party didn’t hold back.
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinnati. Russia’s government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U.S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party didn’t hold back. AP

President-elect Donald Trump tweeted more than a week ago that he would leave his businesses to focus on the presidency.

A slew of questions exist: Will he leave the operations to others but still profit from the company? What role will his children play? Will he establish a blind trust?

Trump says he will release details Thursday at a news conference.

The lack of information in the meanwhile leaves people to weigh in on what they think he should do.

On Friday, a group of more than two dozen organizations and individuals who specialize in government ethics and conflict of interest issues sent a letter to Trump urging him to immediately divest his businesses and place the assets and investments into a genuine blind trust.

“It must be clear to all that any domestic and foreign policy decisions you make are not being influenced by your business arrangements and family relationships or by your investment holdings,” says the letter, whose 29 signatories include the chief ethics lawyers for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

“Choosing not to separate from these business interests will haunt President-elect Trump throughout his entire presidency,” said Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center. “It will distract him and the American people from the important decisions he will need to make about domestic and foreign policies. It will create confusion and undermine his credibility when foreign nations and state-owned companies interact with the Trump Organization, or when the U.S. government undertakes actions that affect Trump business interests overseas.”

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