Profiting While In PowerPlay
With David Folkenflik
High profits and the Trump presidency. Senior advisors Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner raked in a lot of money last year while working for the government. What about Trump himself?
Jonathan O'Connell, Washington Post reporter covering economic development with a focus on commercial real estate and the Trump Organization. (@OConnellPostbiz)
Norm Eisen, senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. (@NormEisen)
Adam Davidson, staff writer at The New Yorker. (@adamdavidson)
From The Reading List:
Washington Post: "Trump can profit from foreign government business at his hotel if he doesn’t do favors in return, Justice Dept. argues" — "Top lawyers for Maryland and the District contend that President Trump’s financial interest in Washington’s Trump International Hotel allows him to unfairly profit in violation of a constitutional ban on payments to federal officials from foreign governments.
Justice Department lawyers say the president is not breaking the law when foreign officials book rooms at his hotel in the capital because he is not trading favors in exchange for a benefit.
The competing arguments came during a federal court hearing Monday in Maryland as attorneys parsed the definition of the anti-corruption emoluments clause, a once-obscure provision that now is a pivotal issue in several lawsuits taking aim at the president’s business dealings."
CNBC: "Disclosures show Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump's wealth and debt have risen" — "Financial disclosure forms show that White House special adviser — and President Donald Trump's son-in-law — Jared Kushner's wealth and debt both appear to have risen over the year, an indication of the complex state of his finances and the potential conflicts that confront some of his investments.
Disclosures issued late Monday by the White House for Kushner and his wife, Trump's daughter Ivanka, showed that Kushner held assets totaling at least $181 million. His previous disclosure filed in April 2017 had showed assets in at least the $140 million range.
The financial disclosures released by the White House and filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics routinely show both assets and debts compiled in broad ranges between low and high estimates, making it difficult to precisely chart the rise and fall of the financial portfolios of federal government officials.
New York Times (Opinion): "Will Congress Block Trump’s Deal With a Dangerous Company?" — "Instead of hosannas greeting President Trump upon his return from Asia, a clash with Congress awaits him: Senators of both parties have just agreed to add language to the annual defense spending bill that would reverse his decision to save the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.
Mr. Trump, riding high off his meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, is sure to fight back. He will most likely claim that he knows what he’s doing, and that internal political dissent will make him look weak at a critical moment, points that his political and media allies will surely echo.
But the Senate must hold its ground: Not only does ZTE pose a unique threat to American security, but Mr. Trump’s kid-glove treatment of the company raises questions about possible links between it and Trump family businesses."
The New Yorker: "The Michael Cohen Revelations Are a Crash Course in Shady Corporate Entities" — "The Trump Administration has inspired a national crash course in a host of legal issues. We are all learning a great deal about the formal and informal rules governing the Presidency, the relationship between the White House and the Department of Justice, the emoluments clause of the Constitution, and the political and legal constraints of impeachment. Many of us have also become far more acquainted with the ins and outs of money laundering and the anti-bribery Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. We might now be entering the section of the course called 'Legal Entities: How to Hide Everything You Do Behind Shell Companies.'"
Presidential advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made at least $82 million last year. That’s as much as they made before entering the government. And the president faces sharp questions about the promotion of his owns businesses — especially all those resorts he keeps visiting. And he is facing a lawsuit too. The issue never quite seems to go away for this administration.
This hour, On Point: Profiting while in the White House.
- David Folkenflik
This program aired on June 14, 2018.