Despite Vows, Documents Show Trump Retains Close Ties to Business Empire

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Despite Vows, Documents Show Trump Retains Close Ties to Business Empire

'Records provide documentary evidence of what ethics experts have been warning about since before Trump took office'

President Donald Trump leaves the President's Room of the Senate at the Capitol after he formally signed his cabinet nominations into law on the day of his Inauguration. On Monday, Jan. 23, 2017,  ethics watchdog groups filed suit alleging that Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments. (Photo: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Appearing to show proof of what ethics watchdogs have warned from the start, documents obtained by news outlets show that President Donald Trump has not distanced himself from his business dealings to any secure or measurable degree.

First reported on Saturday by the New York Times, the documents, which were provided as the result of a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request by Pro Publica, indicate that Trump remains the sole beneficiary of the trust set up to control many of his assets, an agreement he can reportedly nullify at any time.

The Times reports:

While the president says he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, two people close to him are the named trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son, Donald Jr., and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer. Mr. Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time.

What’s more, the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the president. This trust remains under Mr. Trump’s Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned.

According to the Washington Post, "the records provide documentary evidence of what ethics experts have been warning about since before Trump took office."

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