Trump’s Conflicts of Interest Continue to Pile Up
May 19, 2017
While Trump goes on his first international trip, there is growing concern about his conflicts of interest and his family’s brazen efforts to exploit the presidency for their personal gain, putting their own interests ahead of the security of the American people. Here’s some of the newly reported conflicts that you may have missed this week:
Trump’s business explorations in Israel and Saudi Arabia pose ethics concerns that could conflict with the purpose for his diplomatic trip.
The New York Times: “In Israel, Mr. Trump has long sought a tower project in Tel Aviv. … Mr. Trump has come close to a major development deal in Israel. About a decade ago, he signed a licensing deal on a 70-story Trump Tower on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.”
The New York Times: “Last year, [Trump’s] executives were discussing a deal to be a partner on a 61-story tower in Tel Aviv that would have included residences and a hotel, according to Eric Danziger, the chief executive of the Trump hotel division. … ‘We had to retreat, period, simply because of the election,’ Mr. Danziger said. ‘Had he not won, we would have done’ the deal.”
The New York Times: “Mr. Trump has registered or applied for a number of trademarks in both Israel and Saudi Arabia in the last decade, according to a review of international trademark databases, in categories that cover both potential real estate development projects and consumer goods.”
Jared Kushner’s real estate firm exploited their relationship with the White House in an attempt to raise money from Chinese investors through a controversial visa program.
The New York Times: “For Chinese citizens, American green cards can be notoriously difficult to obtain. But a Beijing immigration company called Qiaowai tells visa applicants of a secret weapon: It is working on behalf of a real estate firm owned by the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.”
Trump is selling his St. Martin mansion for $28 million, which was far more than it was worth, and a Russian investor “seemed to light up” when Trump’s mansion was mentioned before it even went on the market.
The Washington Post: “Four St. Martin real estate agents told The Washington Post that the $28 million price tag far outstrips the amount that sellers are getting for the most exclusive properties on the Caribbean island, where the market is still rebounding from the 2008 banking crisis. Owners of the most luxurious homes on the market are asking $15 million to $17 million, agents said.”
The Washington Post: “In February 2016, as Trump’s profile in the Republican presidential primaries was rising, Jagtiani said he was showing estates in the area to a Russian investor and mentioned that Chateau des Palmiers was owned by the New York developer. ‘He seemed to light up when we mentioned the name ‘Trump.’”
A former Trump business partner reportedly used funds from a Russian state-run bank once chaired by Vladimir Putin to prop up a struggling Trump Hotel in Toronto.
The Wall Street Journal: “VEB, a Russian state-run bank under scrutiny by U.S. investigators, financed a deal involving Donald Trump’s onetime partner in a Toronto hotel tower at a key moment for the project, according to people familiar with the transaction. Alexander Shnaider, a Russian-Canadian developer who built the 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, put money into the project after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from a separate asset sale that involved the Russian bank, whose full name is Vnesheconombank. … After Mr. Shnaider and his partner sold their stake in the steelmaker, Mr. Shnaider injected more money into the Trump Toronto project, which was financially troubled.”
Trump properties that Trump regularly visits with foreign leaders reportedly have shoddy digital security.
ProPublica: “Since the election, Trump has hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and British politician Nigel Farage at his properties. The cybersecurity issues we discovered could have allowed those diplomatic discussions — and other sensitive conversations at the properties — to be monitored by hackers.”