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Pentagon’s plans to move into Trump Tower raise ethics concerns

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Trump Tower is seen in New York in March 2016. The U.S. military is looking to rent space at Trump Tower for use when President Donald Trump returns to his longtime home in New York City.

NEW YORK >> The Department of Defense is planning to lease space in New York’s Trump Tower, the 68-story building where President Donald Trump has his home and business headquarters, and ethics experts are not happy about it.

“We shouldn’t be in a place where we have to put questions of conflict of interest against questions of national security,” said Jordan Libowitz of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, a Washington-based watchdog.

The leased space would be “necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building,” Defense Department spokesman J.B. Bridle said in a statement released Tuesday.

It is not unprecedented for the U.S. government to lease space in order to provide support services for the president when he travels home; the Pentagon rented space at President Barack Obama’s Chicago home. Trump Tower, however, happens to be an unusually expensive address where a floor with 13,000 to 15,000 square feet of space rents for about $1.5 million a year.

The Secret Service and New York Police Department are already installed in the building to provide security for Trump’s wife, Melania, and son, Barron, who have not yet moved to the White House, and for the president when he visits.

According to public records filed Jan. 26, Trump transferred ownership of Trump Tower to the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust as part of a promise to turn over the business to his sons. Critics say he still benefits from the trust.

Trust documents obtained by the nonprofit news outlet ProPublica state that the “purpose of the Trust is to hold assets for the exclusive benefit of Donald J. Trump.”

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    • agree. Trump is in this office to enrich himself at the public’s expense. He needs to be impeached as he is in violation of the emolument clause of the Constitution. He needs to step down.

        • I amazes me that Trump supporters continue to call Hillary the liar but a Trumpf makes her look like an Honest Abe. It is obvious that many Trumpf supporters hav blinders on that keeps them from seeing how they are being fleeced by this snake oil peddler.

    • Exactly. He promises to drain the swamp but is creating his very own swamp. People here complained about Obama’s costly stays here but Trumof’s costs will far exceed Obama’s by millions.

  • The leased space would be “necessary for the personnel and equipment who will support the POTUS at his residence in the building,” Defense Department spokesman J.B. Bridle said. And the Obama haters complained about christmas in Hawaii. His residence is The White House.

  • The United States of Trump. It’s amazing how in two weeks the Don has been able to disassemble a democracy that has been in place for 240 years. Once he get’s the Supreme Court (and he surely will), he will have successfully collapsed the three branches of power into one branch and he will be the Supreme Leader. Sound familiar?

  • You have to applaud Trump for another great deal for himself. Being able to get the US government having to lease space from him so that the government can serve him.

    If they can’t prove conflict of interest, it certainly is an appearance of conflict. Which can be more damaging. Got to hand it to Trump. Inevitably one of his better real estate scams. This “trumps” his Trump University scam.

    • When a president has shown much in his actions during his first days it is not wise to let those things pass your scrutiny. It would be foolish to allow continued damage to the nation’s security and the rights of its citizens (which includes all races).

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