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Trump says he’s leaving businesses to focus on presidency

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    President-elect Donald Trump walks past a crowd as he leaves the New York Times building following a meeting on Nov. 22, in New York.

WASHINGTON >> President-elect Donald Trump said that he’s leaving his business empire to focus on being the nation’s 45th president, bowing to pressure to avoid potential conflicts of interest between governing and profiting in the private sector.

“I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again,” he tweeted in a series of missives sent before dawn today. “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses.”

He said legal documents are “being crafted which take me completely out of business operations,” he added, saying the presidency is “a far more important task!”

Meanwhile, former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s former campaign finance director, confirmed that Trump has picked him as treasury secretary and that billionaire investor Wilbur Ross has been chosen for commerce secretary.

Mnuchin, 53, led Trump’s finance operations during the presidential campaign. But he has no government experience, which could prove a political hurdle. If confirmed by the Senate, Mnuchin would play a central role in shaping Trump’s tax policies and infrastructure plans. He would also lead an agency tasked with implementing international economic sanctions.

Trump has previously said that he’d leave his business operations to his three eldest children — Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka, though that wasn’t clear from his tweets Wednesday.

Reince Priebus, Trump’s incoming White House chief of staff, said Wednesday “that’ll all be worked out.”

Priebus told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” that Trump has “got the best people in America working on it.” Priebus demurred when asked if Trump planned to put his businesses in a blind trust — as presidents have traditionally done — or leave them in his children’s hands.

“I’m not ready to reveal that really,” Priebus said.

Priebus added that Trump’s business acumen and the many business interests he has as a result of it is “nothing to be ashamed about.” He said Trump is “taking seriously” the issue of possible conflicts of interest.

“We’re making sure that all those conflicts are taken care of,” Priebus said. He said the applicable rules and regulations “are very vague” and that’s Trump’s people are “doing the best job we can.”

Priebus said the country hasn’t seen a president of such business acumen before and that the rules and regulations “don’t contemplate this scenario.”

Mnuchin, meanwhile, told CNBC on Wednesday that he and Ross are “thrilled to work for the president-elect and honored to have these positions.” He said “sustained economic growth” is the chief priority of the incoming administration and that “we can absolutely get to sustained 3 to 4 percent” in the gross domestic product.

He also outlined what he called “the largest tax change” since President Ronald Reagan — cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, a “big” middle-class income tax cut and simplifying taxes.

“By cutting corporate taxes, we’re going to create huge economic growth and we’ll have huge personal income,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

No previous commander in chief has brought with him such a sprawling business empire with so much complexity, opaqueness and opportunity for self-dealing as Trump.

Trump owns golf clubs, office towers and other properties in several countries. He holds ownership stakes in more than 500 companies. He has struck licensing deals for use of his name on hotels and other buildings around the world and has been landing new business in the Middle East, India and South America.

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    • Yeah, seeing is believing, and Trump has the tendency to bait and switch like he has done with many of him campaign promises so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just sells everything to his children and proclaim that as a bogus blind trust like he has been talking about ever since he won the election.

  • Bloomberg reports, “OneWest, the bank owned by Mnuchin, made just two mortgages to black borrowers in 2014 and 2015 across a swath of Southern California counties including Los Angeles, where it had 52 branches, according to a statement from the California Reinvestment Coalition and Fair Housing Advocates of Northern California. Despite the region’s diversity, the lender didn’t run a single branch there in a predominantly black neighborhood, the groups said.”

  • Nancy Pelosi retains Minority leadership …..He we go again. The Dems have truly Lost it’s way.

    Quote of the Day” The Democrat Party, today, has become the New Party of the Rich” and the Famous”.

  • Even if there were a plausible way for Trump to remove himself from running his business, that will not remove the potential for huge conflicts of interest.

    For example, in recent years, Trump obtained $364 million in loans from Deutsche Bank through mortgages on Miami’s Doral National golf course, Chicago’s Trump International Hotel and Tower, and the recently opened Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, just blocks from the White House. In September, the U.S. Justice Department demanded that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion to settle an investigation into its sale of bad mortgage-backed securities that contributed to the 2008 financial crisis. With Trump appointees Jeff Sessions at Justice and Steve Mnuchin at Treasury, do you really believe that there is no conflict of interest for Trump, that his businesses can’t profit from his administration letting Deutsche Bank get away with a much lighter penalty?

  • Trump said the system is rigged, the he would break up the banks and tax Wall Street, that hedge fund managers are “getting away with murder,” Clinton was too cozy with the banks, and Tim Kaine was “owned by the banks.” His final campaign commercial bashed Goldman Sachs and George Soros.
    Now, Trumpkins, meet Trump’s Treasury Secretary — Steve Mnuchin, a second-generation Goldman Sachs partner who partnered with George Soros to start a hedge fund that bought IndyMac, a failing California bank that went on to make billions while foreclosing on homeowners during the financial crisis. The Nation reported that “the Mnuchin group paid FDIC $1.5 billion for the bank, far less than the value of IndyMac’s assets. The FDIC was so desperate to unload IndyMac that Mnuchin and his colleagues were able to obtain, as part of the purchase deal, a so-called “shared loss” agreement from the FDIC which reimbursed these billionaires for much of their costs for foreclosing on people unlucky enough to have mortgages from IndyMac. Within a year, the group that the Los Angeles Times called a ‘billionaires’ club of private financiers’ had paid themselves dividends of $1.57 billion. In other words, the FDIC took much of the risk by subsidizing the bank’s troubled assets, while Mnuchin and his colleagues pocketed the profits.”

    So much for “draining the swamp.” Trump and his billionaire pals are the alligators in the swamp, gleefully splashing about like children at a water park.

    • How do you think the Clintons have become rich? They are truly crooks.
      When people stop making mortgage payments – banks foreclose, duh.
      Wall Street didn’t make the mortgage loans. Liberal politicians, including Clinton, are responsible for the tens of thousands of loans to unqualified home buyers all guaranteed by the the Government. When they turned sour, they blamed Wall Street.
      Anyway, good for Trump for picking smart people instead of dummies. We have too many dummies for too long.

      • Although Breitbart and others love to blame the collapse of the housing bubble on the Community Reinvestment Act (black people), that racist lie has been exposed over and over and over again.

        Economists from Duke, MIT and Dartmouth concluded in their report that “While there was a rapid expansion in overall mortgage origination during this time period, the fraction of new mortgage dollars going to each income group was stable. In other words, the poor did not represent a higher fraction of the mortgage loans originated over the period. In addition, borrowers in the middle and top of the distribution are the ones that contributed most significantly to the increase in mortgages in default after 2007. ”

        The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, established by Congress, concluded, “…the CRA was not a significant factor in subprime lending or the crisis. Many subprime lenders were not subject to the CRA. Research indicates only 6% of high-cost loans — a proxy for subprime loans — had any connection to the law. Loans made by CRA-regulated lenders in the neighborhoods in which they were required to lend were half as likely to default as similar loans made in the same neighborhoods by independent mortgage originators not subject to the law.”

        • Community Reinvestment Act (black people), that racist lie has been exposed over and over and over again.

          I think you are the one that has turned this into a racial issue. It did play a role, and it had nothing to do with race.

    • Trump is stacking his administration and cabinet with billionaires like himself. Mnuchin intends to reduce taxes paid by corporations down to 15%, which is half of what I am paying. By gutting the Environmental Protection Agency, Big Oil, Gas, can do as they like, while contributing to global warming and climate change. The swamp, instead of getting drained as Trump put it, it’s getting filled with corporate billionaire alligators, and has more of the same swamp Republicans, Tea Party folk in Congress and the Senate than ever.

      • Yep. The Chumpsters got the royal shaft. He has pulled off the biggest scam in the history of mankind. They bought his bs and are now going to see a 1% decrease in their taxes if not an increase while his billionaire friends see more than a 10% decrease in theirs. Way to go idi-ts.

        • All good moves by President Trump. Appointing successful business people to get the job done unlike Obama and his lame friends. We are well on our way to “Make America Great Again”

  • I think,no wait! I KNOW it’s a good move on President Elect Trumps part,he can focus on the “Seriousness” the country faces today. And he’s on his way of getting things done!
    This is nothing “New”, he already said,he was going to do this, during his campaign.Turn over the reigns of his company to his kids.

    But for our “Reality Denying Democrats”? You didn’t take him to be a “Serious” contender. And why we have this ,as NEWS!

    I like this : And for his service as POTUS ,he asks to be Paid ($1) One Dollar a year. that’s right One Dollar a year(60minutes)! So who’s been getting rich off the tax payer’s dime all this time? IMUA

    • When Trump said that he would “turn over the reins (note correct spelling) of his company to his kids,” no one agreed that doing so would, as Trump claimed, create a blind trust or anything remotely resembling a blind trust. Even if someone other than his children runs the businesses, there will be massive conflicts of interest and the unavoidable likelihood that Trump will be in continual violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

      • Just give credit where credit is due. Is that so Hard? I don’t get it, if it’s me or what,but when Pres.Trump turns the Economy around, Brings Jobs Back, Defeat ISIS, Improve World Trade Deals and Improve Foreign Relations, Strikes down the Iran Nuke Deal and get rid of Obama Care….Heck even if President Trump Saved The World from Space Aliens! Haaaaaaaaaaaa!
        This will NEVER Be Enough or satisfy the likes of you and the Liberal base. It just boggles the mind! For you guys? There is no common ground….Kinda like Obama, My Way Or The Highway!
        SAD

        • I think most Liberals feel that those accomplishments by Obama that you listed for Trump would also not be enough for Republicans to have embraced him. Your emotions toward Trump remind me of the Liberals toward Obama, we are doing the same just with a different President.

          “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.” Maya Angelou

    • Trump turning his business over to his kids, Eric Donald Jr, and Ivanka. They are his puppets and lap dogs. They would not be able to make any decision without him getting involved. The swamp is just getting larger.

  • Regardless of who runs it or how his business empire will be run, he’ll be more honest as POTUS than HRC would have. She is the epitome of corruption.

      • That’s been the problem during the entire election…The MSM ignoring her 30 yrs of corruption and focusing whatever negativity they could on PE Trump. Sorry but I didn’t buy in to the brainwashing, but obviously some people did.

        • I actually though that the election was based on Clinton playing defense the whole time from all the allegations about her problems (email, foundation, Benghazi, etc.) Trump seemed to be more on offense, he controlled what was being talked about on Clinton and he decided the topics he was talking about. I do agree that he will now get ALL the attention and have to play defense in the beginning but hopefully he proves he is worthy to be President.

  • This man’s mendacity is his norm. Consider his earliest Obama wasn’t born in the U.S. which he has yet to retract much less apologize for. With a mentality of a prepubescent child whose greatest motivation is self-gratification, one shouldn’t expect much, much less “great.” Instead I suggest turning to prayer that he doesn’t bring this country to its knees. God save America.

  • If he’s focussing on the presidency, why is he spending his time watching television and tweeting? As Anderson Cooper said, “We are in uncharted waters with a president-elect who is continuing to tweet just as he did, maybe a little less, but as he did during the campaign. I mean, when I first heard that he was tweeting about something that was on this broadcast, a number of tweets ― again, factually incorrect tweets last night ― I kept thinking, ‘doesn’t he have, like, a briefing book on ISIS to be reading last night?’”

  • If he’s focussing on the presidency, why does he have time to watch television but no time for the President-Elects daily national security briefings?

    • How do you know that, are you there to know what goes on? Oh wait…Anderson Cooper’s words are golden. Too bad you bought into the MSM’s bias, you’ll never be happy.

      • Do some research in the fact-based media. In the three weeks since his election, Trump has attended only three of the daily intelligence briefings prepared for the President and the President-Elect by US intelligence services.

        • Research completed – VPE Pence is being his messenger while the PE is filling his cabinet team. Nothing to be alarmed about.

          Meanwhile….

          “The White House has a intelligence-focused Presidential Daily Brief scheduled for President Obama. But, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Institute, the President has attended 42.1% of them since he was sworn in.

          This not-so-stunning revelation certainly might answer a few questions about such international quagmires such as the Benghazi attack and the horrors currently going on in the Middle East.”

        • The 42.1% statistic is one that Breitbart loves, but it really isn’t meaningful. Obama receives and reads an intelligence report daily; he doesn’t always have a face-to-face briefing. Trump, as is reported by his staff, is getting his intelligence report from “other sources,” although his staff won’t reveal what those sources are (Infowars, Daily Stormer? National Enquirer?). They could have claimed that he reads the briefing books every night, but they didn’t. We know from his tweets that he watches television instead. Prior to George Bush, the daily intelligence briefing were normally delivered to the President in written form, but Bush didn’t like to read and face-to-face meetings became the norm, as was the case on August 6, 2001 when Bush’s briefing was headlined “Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S.” Famously, Bush told the CIA briefer, “All right. You’ve covered your ass, now.” and he spent the rest of the day bass fishing.

  • Nations that own their own oil revenues also invest the revenues in many many other businesses without conflicts of interest. Saudi Arabia, Iran. Kuwait. Indonesia. Malaysia, etc.

  • Trump has “all the best people.”

    He just announced his intent to nominate 47-year-old Todd Ricketts, the youngest son of billionaire TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, to be his deputy secretary of commerce.

    “Todd Ricketts is an immensely successful businessman with unparalleled knowledge of the finance industry,” said Trump.

    Ricketts’ bio says that he spent his “career as an entrepreneur and investor in the securities industry working at the New York City-based NASDAQ start-up, Knight Securities.”

    Knight Securities says that he worked there for 14 months in 1997–98 after his college graduation. In the two decades since then, he was the co-founder of a now-defunct eco-tourism business and in 2009 he bought a local bike shop. And his daddy bought the Chicago Cubs.

    I guess with that “unparalleled knowledge” he deserves an important appointment.

  • People believed the election was rigged and media lied, simply because they believed what their own eyes and ears told them every day – the incredible support they saw everyday for Trump. So, how could the media possibly be saying he was going to lose, unless it was rigged?

    So, will these same people now say the media is rigged and the conflicts of interest are overblown?

    How can Democrats reach the “middle” America and regain credibility and trust? Equally important, what will the demographics look like in two years, in four years?

    Most importantly, when and how will Democrats start reconnecting with people in middle America?

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