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Obama suggests Trump follow his example on business conflicts


    Obama, speaking on the margins of an Asia-Pacific summit, said tensions over trade are likely under the new Trump administration and trade pacts may be modified. But he predicted that once the administration sees how the deals are working, “they’ll determine that it’s actually good both for the United States and our trading partners.”

LIMA, Peru >> President Barack Obama said Sunday he’d avoided ethical scandals throughout his administration by trying to follow the spirit, not just the letter of the law, and suggested President-elect Donald Trump would be wise to follow his example.

Closing out his final foreign trip, Obama was asked about the complex conflict-of-interest questions Trump faces as he transitions from real estate mogul to Oval Office occupant. Though Obama declined to explicitly offer Trump advice, the president said he’d been served well by selling his assets and investing them in Treasury bills.

“It simplified my life,” Obama said. “I did not have to worry about the complexities of whether a decision that I made might even inadvertently benefit me.”

Good government advocates have criticized Trump’s decision not to liquidate his sprawling business interests, but put them in a blind trust entrusted to his children, who are playing major roles in helping him form his administration and are expected to remain involved in one capacity or another.

Obama said he was proud his administration hadn’t faced the scandals he said have “plagued” other administrations. He said after eight years, he felt he could tell Americans he’d lived up to his promise to run an accountable and ethical government.

He summed up the rule of thumb his first White House counsel used to come up with policies for his administration: “If it sounds like it would be fun, then you can’t do it.”

Obama’s remarks came as he concluded his final world tour as president. For Obama, it was the last time he’d take questions on foreign soil, a staple of his overseas trips that his administration has seen as an important symbol of America’s commitment to a rigorous free press.

Obama chatted briefly earlier Sunday with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the summit got under way. The conversation, which was likely to be the leaders’ last face-to-face interaction, lasted just four minutes.

Obama later told reporters he encouraged Putin to uphold his country’s commitments under the Minsk deal aimed at ending the Ukraine conflict. Both the White House and the Kremlin said the leaders had agreed that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov should keep working throughout Obama’s final months on initiatives to lower violence in Syria and alleviate suffering.

Putin, speaking later in Lima, said he and Obama had noted that while their working relationship had been difficult, they’d “always respected each other’s positions — and each other.”

“I thanked him for the years of joint work, and said that at any time, if he considers it possible and will have the need and desire, we will be happy to see him in Russia,” Putin said.

The short interaction came amid intense speculation and concern about whether Trump’s election might herald a more conciliatory U.S. approach to Russia. Under Obama, the U.S. has enacted severe sanctions on Russia over its aggressive behavior in Ukraine and has sought unsuccessfully to persuade Moscow to stop intervening in Syria’s civil war to help prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Questions about Trump trailed Obama throughout his final overseas trip, as anxious world leaders quizzed him on Trump’s stances on key issues like trade, foreign policy and the NATO alliance. On his final day in Peru, Obama sought to reassure world leaders gathered here that their longstanding ties with the U.S. wouldn’t falter under Trump.

Sitting down with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia, Obama said he assured Turnbull that the alliance between their countries would remain as strong as ever. Turnbull said he and Obama were of the mind on trade — an issue Trump sees quite differently. Still, he added that Australia wanted the U.S. to succeed under Trump.

Both the U.S. and Australia helped negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multinational trade agreement involving 10 other Pacific Rim countries. But Congress is unlikely to ratify the deal, dealing a blow to Obama’s once high hopes of having the agreement become part of his presidential legacy. Trump says trade deals can hurt U.S. workers, and he opposes TPP.

Obama, who met with TPP country leaders the day before, said they’d told him they want to move ahead with the deal.

“Preferably, they’d like to move forward with the United States,” Obama said.

He alluded to a competing deal China is trying to broker that he said would be worse for workers and environmental concerns.

Meeting with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Obama said he had no doubt the close and important U.S.-Canada relationship will persist after he leaves office, saying that’s been constant with Republican and Democratic administrations alike. Trudeau said he’s invited President-elect Donald Trump to visit Canada soon after Inauguration Day and hopes to welcome him to Canada.

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    • Personally my strong hope is that immediately after taking the oath on 20 Jan 17, President Trump will begin working with Congress to reprise the House UnAmerican Activities Committee to hold hearings and shine the light of truth on all the things the current occupant of the White House has done over the last 8 years to weaken and harm the country he most despises on this planet: America.

      On day one, Trump would do well to bring the bust of Winston Churchill back into the White House by way f rebuking our 44th POTUS.

    • Yes, as bad as he’s been, Obama doesn’t lack ego or self confidence. He has probably surrounded himself with yes people like Chris Mathews, who once called him “perfect”.

  • Kellyanne Conway spoke recently on this conflict of interest issue, calling Trump’s presidency a “day job”, stressing his business success. Jason Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee seems to be nowhere to be heard. He did say he had two years worth of material against Clinton, so it would seem that he now has all of this free time to address Trump’s conflicts of interest.

    If the multitude of issues surrounding Trump are not addressed, how can Republicans reconcile this presidency against accomplishing agendas that have been stalled for the last eight years? Enough said for now.

      • His promise of jobs, trade, immigration, foreign relations and ethics. And depending on what part of the country you live in, not necessarily in that order.

        And stop the tweets, he sounds like an immature kid with nothing else better to do, day or night.

        • So nomu, What kind of results are you expecting from Mr. Trump after 12 days on the job. He made promises to the people like ALL newly elected presidents do and you’re expecting results after 12 days. BTW, what is the definition of an “issue” to you? You sound like another Democrapic puppet thats getting your strings yanked. Time to stop the whining. Trump will win 2 terms. Might as well get over it now.

        • Really? Let me remind you (as if you had to be reminded, but conveniently forgot), that obama has taken every opportunity to promote himself on social media, talk shows, public appearances, etc. He has grossly overextended his presence at every turn. Very unpresidential. So, where were you the past 8 years? Your “immature” comment is meaningless, nomu, and much more appropriate for your Empty Suit of a “president”.

        • Hope Trump does succeed, because if he does, so does our country. At the end of the day, we are all citizens of America, the greatest democracy in the world.

    • Jason Chafetzz is beginning to sound shrill. The republicans investigated Sec. Clinton numerous times over numerous issues and came up with nothing. They all need to move on and take care of the people’s business.

      • Why would you say they came up with nothing? There’s lots of evidence of corruption, illegal activities etc. Soon she will be tried, then she will be in a new house. Not the White House, but the Big House.

        • After numerous investigations, she hasn’t been charged with any crime. The republicans will let it fall by the wayside and get on doing the people’s business. First thing I want to see is the repeal of the individual mandate. Next, term limits. People like Hatch,McCain,Pelosi,Schumer etc.have been in DC way too long. Reid is on his way out and not a moment too soon.

      • Tita Girl says: The republicans investigated Sec. Clinton numerous times over numerous issues and came up with nothing.


        Just wait until President Trump’s brand new AG appoints a special prosecutor to crawl up Felony-Shrillary’s [redacted] with a microscope and then turn the evidence of her criminal wrong doing over to a federal grand jury.

        As Al Jolson was often heard to say, “Baby, you ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet!”

        • I think Hillary is guilty of crimes but I also agree with Tita Girl because the republicans, like Chaffetz, have been talking about it for years with nothing to show for it. Seems like BS to me. Like all politicians they speak like big shots in front of a camera but nothing happens later.

    • Trump strongly supports deregulating the financial sector. He is also reputedly choosing several Wall Street lobbyists and corporate insiders to be on his transition team and in his cabinet–in effect doing an about-face on his campaign promises to keep Wall Street in check. I’m not nearly as concerned about the possible business conflicts of interest this may entail regarding Trump, compared to the likelihood that choosing such a course may send the U.S. and world economy into another great recession:
      President-elect Donald Trump ran a campaign that lambasted Wall Street and the established financial elites—but his transition team is chock full of lobbyists and corporate insiders. That is at least accounting to the watchdog-in-chief of these matters—Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

      Warren called out 22 Wall Street insiders, lobbyists, and corporate insiders that are on Trump’s transition team, or are rumored to have a spot in his cabinet that raise concerns. That includes rumored Treasury Secretary pick, Steven Mnuchin, who formerly worked at Goldman Sachs; Jeffrey Eisenach, who has worked as a consultant for Verizon; and energy lobbyist Mike McKenna.

      • you believe lieawatha? she said she was part indian.. she lied
        like judge judy said, you lie once everything else you say are lies.
        you sound like a democrat troll

      • You ever notice that Elizabeth “Faux-cahontas” Warren is ALWAYS trembling with anger each time she appears in the media? The woman has some definite issues. Mental, mostly, I’m afraid. Oh, well. Some say Liberalism is a mental disease. With Warren as the poster child, I’m very inclined to agree.

  • actually, it’s a good piece of advice. trump’s enterprises encompasses a wide variety of business interests. giving his children ownership and control of his business empire allows trump to avoid criticism for mixing political influence with his personal business gains.

  • Just go away Barry. You promised a lot, you gave us nothing. Wait, I guess there were some things you gave us.
    1. A much bigger national debt.
    2. Much worse race relations.
    3. Much worse relations with every other country.
    4. We’ve fallen behind most countries in countless areas.
    5. Doubled our welfare system
    6. Homelessness went up dramatically.
    ( I know Barry, it was all started with George W.)
    The list could go on for days…
    And you want to give advice to Trump?

    • You don’t think the national debt has anything to do with Bush’s two biggest gifts to Obama: 1) the biggest financial collapse since the Great Depression and 2) an unfunded was of choice in Iraq?

      • You do know that the Democraps had FULL control of Congress at that time right. When W left, Democraps had control of both House and Senate, yet you clowns blame W. Trump will win 2 Terms. Want some whine with that?

        • Sadly, control of Congress didn’t come with a magic wand that could make the Great Bush Recession go away or turn back the clock so Democrats could reverse Bush’s decision to start a war of choice in Iraq, the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history.

        • No wand bs, jus calling you out. yet you skirt the facts. Losers. Iraqi Liberation Act. You might want to learn b/4 shooting you mouth off. True puppet.

      • While the Great Recession was spurned on by a systemic deregulation of our financial sector by both the Dems and GOP, in my opinion, Republican laissez faire economic policies is at the root cause of the worst recession wince the Great Depression. And while some could argue that Obama at times, behaved like a neo-conservative, such as when he launched the U.S. into a semi-war against Libya–it can also be argued that Republican neocons created ISIS.

        • You do know that after taking control of both House AND Senate in 2014, the evil Republicans REDUCED government spending 2 consecutive years and STOPPED Odummies wasteful spending, and are looking to go 3 years in a row right? Don’t believe me, look it up. “Republicans… created ISIS? Maybe you should check in State Hospital instead. You need help.

        • tiger you better check your history or check google on who is to blame. not all the republicans fault.

        • Don’t bet on it. Tiger, Boots and Bs are just puppets for the Democraps. You can call them out all the time on their lies, yet, like the Eveready Bunny, they jus keep on going.

        • You would not make such a foolish statement had you read “Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon” by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner, a book that identifies the malefactors – – and tells what they did to bring about this collapse – – by name.

      • The biggest financial collapse since the great depression had its roots planted in the administration before GWB. The Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLBA), also known as the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 was enacted November 12, 1999. It repealed part of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933, removing barriers in the market among banking companies, securities companies and insurance companies that prohibited any one institution from acting as any combination of an investment bank, a commercial bank, and an insurance company. With the bipartisan passage of the Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act, commercial banks, investment banks, securities firms, and insurance companies were allowed to consolidate. Furthermore, it failed to give to the SEC or any other financial regulatory agency the authority to regulate large investment bank holding companies. The legislation was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

  • A coalition comprising government accountability groups and former White House ethics attorneys wrote an open letter to the President-elect last week, saying, “Mr. Trump, you were elected to the presidency with a promise to eliminate improper business influence in Washington, to break the stranglehold that commercial interests impose on government. There is no way to square your campaign commitments to the American people – and your even higher, ethical duties as their president – with the rampant, inescapable conflicts that will engulf your presidency if you maintain connections with the Trump Organization, including by maintaining ownership with control transferred to your children. “

    • accountability groups of liberal democRATs making threats to the duly elected president who hasn’t even been seated yet. amazing!!
      president trump will drive you liberals into the ground and fix america after all the damage barry and the democRATs did in the past eight years
      remember trump took on the democRATs, the republicans, the establishment, he wiped out two political dynasties (bush and clinton)
      the entire main stream media, everybody, and WON!! the man’s a genius and he WILL make america great again
      shut your mout!

  • “Obama suggest Trump follow his example on business conflicts”. Are you kidding me? In case you didn’t figure this out, oh Incompetent One, your party’s defeat was the manifestation of the complete lack of confidence that Americans in your policies and competence to lead. Do you get that? Obviously not. Hopeless.

  • The election is over and the lame duck President with trying to get the newly elected President to agree to agree to act just like hm and be his clone. If people wanted another Obama, they would have voted for Clinton.

  • Sorry Holmes, nobody cares what you think. Trump is hiring capable people to clean up your many screw-ups. It may be a little uncomfortable for your many sycophants to come to terms with but Trump is way more capable a manager than you will ever be. Just go back to your old job of street agitating since that’s about all you seem to know.

  • Peeps making such comments that Trump should liquidate assets have no business savy. It could take 4 or more years for Trump to sell off his assets or part ownership of assets such as hotels and golf courses. The selling of the Brand Trump would also be difficult. Any sales would probably only net pennies on the dollar of their true worth if he attempted to expedite the sale. And then what would Trump do after 4 or 8 years as President, it would be below him to hit the talk show circuit as most ex Presidents do- and what a boring life. Better for Trump to pick up where he left off…

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