As Trump kicks off his fourth year as president with an impeachment trial tied to his actions involving Ukraine, critics say the president has yet to face accountability for blatant conflicts of interest tied to his private businesses.
He has spent one out of every three days as president visiting one of his luxury resorts, hotels or golf courses. He has leveraged his powerful international platform to promote his developments dozens of times. And he has directed millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to his businesses around the globe.
In three years in the White House, Donald Trump has accomplished something no president before him has done: fusing his private business interests with America’s highest public office.
Trump’s early decision to maintain his grip on his sprawling real estate empire — despite his pledge to put his business aside while in the White House — has created a vast web of potential conflicts of interest, accusations about his policies being driven by his business interests and even possible violations of the law, according to documents and interviews.
Even as Trump kicks off his fourth year as president this week facing the stain of an impeachment trial, he has managed to skirt accountability for widespread possible conflicts of interest that critics say represent a blatant abuse of power and create dangerous risks to the integrity of the presidency.
The intersections between Trump Inc. and President Trump are everywhere: A Chinese state-owned company was awarded a multimillion contract to help develop a Trump golf course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, amid a U.S.-China trade war. T-Mobile executives stayed at Trump’s Washington hotel while seeking a green light from the federal government for a merger. The IRS commissioner, who refused to release Trump’s tax returns to Congress, collects rent from a pair of Trump condos in Hawaii.
And in recent weeks, even Trump’s staunchest allies bluntly acknowledged that the president had left his own properties vulnerable to attacks by Iran after his order to kill the country’s top general.
“The level of this is shocking and deeply disturbing,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a member of House leadership who serves on the Judiciary Committee. “This president has a habit of doing things out in the open, which are completely improper or even illegal and somehow … the average person thinks, ‘Well, if he’s doing it out in the open it must be OK; I must not completely understand the rules.’ But it’s not.”
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