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News Thursday, Apr 6 2017

A Guide to Trump’s Many Potential Conflicts With China

Apr 06, 2017

Against the backdrop of North Korea testing long range missiles and a feckless response from the Secretary of State, Donald Trump is bringing Chinese President Xi to his Florida golf club prompting new questions about potential conflicts of interest.

To help keep track of all the different ways Trump could be profiting from President Xi’s visit at the expense of working families, American Bridge is releasing a guide to Donald Trump’s financial ties and potential conflicts with China, including background on five key areas.

  • China Has Invested Billions In Trump And His Businesses

  • Trump  Still Makes His Products in China, Instead of the United States

  • China Granted Trump Dozens of Stalled Trademarks After His Election

  • Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner Have Potential Conflicts of Interest With China

  • Trump Can Draw Money From His Businesses’ Dealings With China At Any Time Without Disclosure

Chinese investments in Donald Trump’s businesses, his factories and newly granted trademarks, and his stake in nearly a billion dollars in debt owned in part by the Bark of China all raise concerns that the President is putting their interests ahead of those of the American people.

China Has Invested Billions In Trump And His Businesses

Trump’s Avenue Of The Americas Building Carries A $950 Million Loan, With One Of The Lenders Being The Bank Of China

Office Building Of Which Trump Was Part Owner, On The Avenue Of The Americas In Manhattan, Carried A $950 Million Loan; Among The Lenders Was The Bank Of China. According to the New York Times, “But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign. For example, an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.” [New York Times, 8/20/16]

Trump Tower Has Massive Chinese Bank As Tenant

2008: Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China – Largest Bank In Terms of Global Market Value – Agreed To Rent Space In Trump Tower. According to New York Post, “Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has chosen a location known for its international appeal to set up its first US outpost: Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Ave. The bank – said to be the world’s largest in terms of global market value – signed a deal for the 20th floor, about 14,256 square feet. Donald Trump said the tower’s office space is now fully leased.” [New York Post, 9/16/08]

  • Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China Reportedly Signed Deal To Rent 14,256 Sq. Ft. In Trump Tower For $150-$175 Per Sq. Ft., For Total Rent Of $2,138,400 To $2,494,800. According to New York Post, “Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has chosen a location known for its international appeal to set up its first US outpost: Trump Tower at 725 Fifth Ave. The bank – said to be the world’s largest in terms of global market value – signed a deal for the 20th floor, about 14,256 square feet. Donald Trump said the tower’s office space is now fully leased. Although Trump Tower is most famous for its retail atrium that’s now home to Gucci and for its tony condo apartments, it also has about 200,000 square feet of office space on floors 14-26, with some of the highest rents in the world – ‘in the $150-$175 a square foot category,’ Trump said yesterday.” [New York Post, 9/16/08]

2012: Trump Tower Tenants Included Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China. According to The Wall Street Journal Online, “Trump Organization is refinancing the retail and office space in its Trump Tower headquarters building at 725 Fifth Ave. in Midtown Manhattan, replacing an expiring $27 million mortgage with a $100 million mortgage. […]The loan covers the 244,482 square feet of retail and office space at the tower. Tenants in the commercial space, which is nearly 99% occupied, include Gucci America, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Trump Organization itself.” [Wall Street Journal Online, 09/05/12]

2016: Trump Bragged About His Positive Relationship With Chinese, Noted That “The Largest Bank In The World Is In One Of My Buildings In Manhattan.” According to a transcript from The Washington Post, Donald Trump said, “I deal with the Chinese all of the time. I do tremendous — the largest bank in the world is in one of my buildings in Manhattan. I deal with them.” [Washington Post, 2/6/16]

Lease Is Due To Expire During Trump’s Term, Putting Chinese Government In Negotiations With Trump Organization To Renew The Lease

Industrial And Commercial Bank Of China, Owned By The Chinese Government, Was A Tenant At Trump Tower Whose Lease Was Due To Expire During Trump’s Term; Chinese Government Would Be In Negotiations With Trump Organization To Renew The Lease. According to NPR, “For example, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is owned by the Chinese government, is a tenant at Trump Tower in New York, and its lease is due to expire during Trump’s term, the suit says. This could mean that the Chinese government will be in negotiations with the Trump Organization to renew the lease.” [NPR, 1/23/17]

Trump Bay Street Was Funded By Investors, Mainly Chinese, Through The EB-5 Visa Program

Trump Bay Street Took Advantage Of Investors From The EB-5 Visa Program

A Quarter Of Trump Bay Street Funding Came From Loans Obtained Through EB-5. According to Investor’s Business Daily, “The Jersey City project has raised $50 million, about a quarter of its funding, from loans obtained through EB-5, according to a slide presentation by US Immigration Fund. Mark Giresi, general counsel of US Immigration Fund, said he believed nearly all of the EB-5 investors in the Trump project were from China.” [Investor’s Business Daily, 3/11/16]

Trump Bay Street Was Funded By Investors, Mainly Chinese, Through The EB-5 Visa Program

Trump Agreed To Lend His Name To The Project, Partially Financed By A Visa Program Benefitting Wealthy Chinese Investors. According to China Daily, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has bashed immigrants and China in the US presidential race, is lending his brand to a building partly financed by a visa program that mainly benefits wealthy Chinese investors. Media reports say that Trump Bay Street, a luxury rental apartment building being built in Jersey City, New Jersey, is being funded in part through the federal EB-5 visa program.” [China Daily, 3/9/16]

One Hundred Chinese Investors Were Involved In The Development. According to China Daily, “CNN reports that US Immigration Fund, a private firm that solicits foreign investors for EB-5 projects, confirmed 100 Chinese investors in the project.” [China Daily, 3/9/16]

The 100 Chinese Investors Are Putting $50 Million Into The Project. According to CNN, “His partners in the Jersey City project are raising $50 million from 100 Chinese investors. The total cost is estimated at $195 million. U.S. Immigration Funds, a private firm that actively solicits foreign investors interested in investment visas, confirmed the number of Chinese investors in the Jersey City project to CNNMoney.” [CNN, 3/8/16]

Month Before Election, Trump Hotels Said It Planned To Build 20 To 30 Hotels In China

2016: Trump Hotels Chief Executive Said That The Organization Wanted To Open Hotels In 20 To 30 Cities In China. According to the Washington Post, “Just before the U.S. election, in October, Trump Hotels chief executive Eric Danziger was quoted in Chinese news media as telling an Asia Pacific hospitality conference in Hong Kong that the group was still aiming to open Trump hotels in 20 to 30 cities in China and Scion hotels in more cities — but this time without specifying a target date. ‘There will definitely be Trump hotels in big Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai,’ he was quoted as saying. But if Danziger is right, those projects could either fall apart or become a liability if Trump doesn’t keep the U.S.-China relationship on an even keel.” [Washington Post, 12/26/16]

2008: Trump Teamed With Chinese Property Developer Evergrande Real Estate Group, But Deal Fell Apart Due To Global Recession

2008: Trump Teamed Up With Guangzhou-Based Evergrande Real Estate Group To Fund A Bid On Developing A Landmark Office Tower In Guangzhou. According to the South China Morning Post, “Guangzhou-based Evergrande Real Estate Group has teamed up with developer Donald Trump of the United States and a Hong Kong-based fund to bid on developing a landmark office tower in Guangzhou, sources said. The consortium will vie for the development rights of the East Tower, one of the Guangzhou Twin Tower projects in the Zhujiang New Town financial centre. Developers are expected to be invited to bid – with offers at an estimated four billion yuan to five billion yuan – in the second quarter.” [South China Morning Post, 2/27/08]

Deal Fell Apart When Evergrande Pulled Out After The Global Recession Hit China. According to NPR, “INSKEEP: How far back does Trump’s business history in China go? SCHMITZ: Well, Trump has had his eye on China’s fast growing property market since 2008. That was the year he signed a deal with Evergrande Real Estate Group. That’s one of China’s largest developers. And their plan was to build an office tower in Guangzhou, a city near Hong Kong. The deal was going to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but it fell apart when Evergrande pulled out after the global recession hit China.” [NPR, 11/24/16]

2012: Trump Had Deal With China’s State Grid Corporation, But Was Scrapped When Chinese Authorities Opened A Corruption Investigation Into State Grid

2012: Trump’s Hotel Business Opened An Office In Shanghai And Hired A CEO To Manage Operation, And Signed A Deal With China’s State Grid Corporation. According to NPR, “INSKEEP: OK, bad timing there. Did anything else work? SCHMITZ: Well, like many prospective business deals here in China, his business deals follow the sort of familiar one-step-forward-two-steps-back approach. In 2012, Trump’s hotel business opened its first Asia office down the street from me here in Shanghai. They hired a CEO to manage operations, and a year later they signed a deal with China’s State Grid Corporation. That’s the company that provides electricity to nearly all of China. The deal was to build what was called a, quote, unquote, ‘major development in Beijing worth a billion dollars.’” [NPR, 11/24/16]

Deal Was Scrapped When Chinese Authorities Opened A Corruption Investigation Into State Grid, Alleging It Had Illegally Used Public Land For The Project. According to NPR, “But that deal was scrapped when Chinese authorities opened a corruption investigation into State Grid, alleging it had illegally used public land for the project. When we called the CEO for Trump’s hotel business here in Shanghai, he told NPR that he no longer works at the company. And a visit to its office showed that Trump’s Asia branch has been closed for some time. Despite all of that, on October 20 just a few weeks prior to the election, Trump Hotel Collection CEO Eric Danziger showed up to a hospitality conference in Hong Kong, and that’s where he told the Hong Kong newspaper that Trump Hotel Collection plans to build 20 to 30 Trump Hotels in major Chinese cities in the coming years.” [NPR, 11/24/16]

A Businesswoman Who Bought A Trump Penthouse Had Connections To A Chinese Intelligence Front Group

February 2017: Angela Chen Purchased A Four Bedroom Condo In The Trump Park Avenue Building. According to Mother Jones, “Chen, who also goes by the names Xiao Yan Chen and Chen Yu, purchased the four-bedroom condo in the Trump Park Avenue building in New York City on February 21. As Mother Jones first reported, Chen runs a business consulting firm, Global Alliance Associates, which specializes in linking US businesses seeking deals in China with the country’s top power brokers. ‘As counselors in consummating the right relationships—quite simply—we provide access,’ Chen’s firm boasts on its website. But Chen has another job: She chairs the US arm of a nonprofit called the China Arts Foundation, which was founded in 2006 and has links with Chinese elites and the country’s military intelligence service.” [Mother Jones, 3/15/17]

Angela Chen Had Ties To The Members Of Chinese Ruling Elite And To An Organization Considered A Front Group For Chinese Military Intelligence. According to Mother Jones, “When a Chinese American businesswoman who sells access to powerful people recently purchased a $15.8 million penthouse in a building owned by President Donald Trump, the deal raised a key question. Was this a straightforward real estate transaction, or was this an effort to win favor with the new administration? The woman, Angela Chen, refused to discuss the purchase with the media. The White House and the Trump Organization would not comment on it. Further investigation by Mother Jones has unearthed a new element to the story: Chen has ties to important members of the Chinese ruling elite and to an organization considered a front group for Chinese military intelligence.” [Mother Jones, 3/15/17]

Trump Still Makes Products in China, Instead of the United States

Trump Products Are Made In China

Trump And His Businesses Offshored Jobs To A Number Of Countries, Including Bangladesh, Indonesia, And China; Donald J. Trump Collection Was Produced By Factories In Central America And Asia. According to CNN, “Trump criticized politicians and business leaders, arguing that they created policies that allowed and encouraged the offshoring of American jobs to America’s competitors. ‘We got here because we switched from a policy of Americanism — focusing on what’s good for America’s middle class — to a policy of globalism, focusing on how to make money for large corporations who can move wealth and workers to foreign countries, all to the detriment of the American worker and the American economy itself,’ Trump said. A CNN investigation shows that Trump and his businesses offshored jobs to a number of countries, including Bangladesh, Indonesia, and even China. Trump cut a deal with the global apparel giant PVH to manufacture his clothes in 2004, the company told CNN. And ever since, the Donald J. Trump Collection has been produced by factories in Central America and Asia, then shipped to the U.S. for sale in stores and online. CNN purchased several of Trump’s clothing items in 2016, whose tags indicated they were manufactured throughout Asia.” [CNN, 6/22/16]

Most Of Trump’s “Line Of Suits, Ties And Cufflinks Bear A ‘Made In China’ Label” And “Some Also Come From Factories In Bangladesh, Mexico And Vietnam.” According to the New York Times, “Besides construction, Mr. Trump is big in the clothing business. But most of his line of suits, ties and cufflinks bear a ‘Made in China’ label. Some also come from factories in Bangladesh, Mexico and Vietnam. He has blamed China’s currency manipulation to argue that it is almost impossible to find garments that are made domestically these days, or that they are prohibitively expensive. ‘The answer is very simple,’ Mr. Trump told ABC News when asked about his merchandise in 2011. ‘Because of the fact that China so manipulates their currency, it makes it almost impossible for American companies to compete.’ Despite that claim, some companies such as Brooks Brothers continue to make clothes in the United States.” [New York Times, 6/30/16]

CNN Money, 2016: Most Trump Ties Are Made In China. According to CNN Money, “Many of his products are made outside the United States. Most Donald J. Trump ties are made in China.” [CNN Money, 3/8/16]

CNN Money, 2016: Trump’s Dress Shirts Made In China, Bangladesh, Or Otherwise Imported. According to CNN Money, “Many of his products are made outside the United States. Most Donald J. Trump ties are made in China. Some Donald J. Trump suits are also made in China. Donald J. Trump signature men’s dress shirts are made in China, Bangladesh or ‘imported,’ meaning they were made abroad.” [CNN Money, 3/8/16]

Trump Ties, Suits, Dress Shirts, Tie Pins, Tie Clips, And Cufflinks Are Made In China. According to ABC News, ‘As first reported by, the Trump wear sold in Macy’s, part of the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, is manufactured overseas, including ties in more than 50 different styles and colors (all made in China), suits (made in Mexico and Vietnam), and dress shirts (five styles made in China). All the Trump tie pins ($22) and tie clips ($28) are labeled as ‘Made in China,’ as are the cufflinks ($35 to $45 a pair) and even the boxes containing them.‘ [ABC News, 4/28/11]

China Granted Trump Dozens of Stalled Trademarks After His Election

Chinese Authorities Reversed Trump Trademark Stance As His “Political Star Rose,” Granted Him A Trademark Right Before The Election After A Decade. “Trump fought unsuccessfully in Chinese courts for years to try to gain control of the trademark, but his fortunes changed suddenly last year during the latter stages of his campaign for the White House. China’s trademark review board announced in September it had invalidated a rival claim for the Trump trademark, clearing the way for Trump to move in. In November, soon after the election, it awarded the trademark to the Trump Organization. The trademark was officially registered this week after a three-month notice period for objections expired. The sequence of events makes some ethics experts uncomfortable: Chinese authorities reversed their position as Trump’s political star rose.” [CNN Money, 2/17/17]

Trump Had Been Seeking The Trademark For More Than A Decade. According to CNN Money, “The Chinese government has granted President Trump and his business something they had been seeking for more than a decade: trademark protection for the use of the Trump name in the construction industry. Trump fought unsuccessfully in Chinese courts for years to try to gain control of the trademark, but his fortunes changed suddenly last year during the latter stages of his campaign for the White House.” [CNN Money, 2/17/17]

China Granted Preliminary Approval For 38 New Trump Trademarks Requested During The Presidential Election, Which Would Allow Trump Organization To Develop A “Host Of Branded Businesses From Hotels To Insurance To Bodyguard And Escort Services.” According to Associated Press, “China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Donald Trump and his family to develop a host of branded businesses from hotels to insurance to bodyguard and escort services, public documents show. Trump’s lawyers in China applied for the marks in April 2016, as Trump railed against China at campaign rallies, accusing it of currency manipulation and stealing US jobs. Critics maintain that Trump’s swelling portfolio of China trademarks raises serious conflict-of-interest questions. China’s Trademark Office published the provisional approvals on February 27 and Monday.” [Associated Press, 3/8/17]

If Trump Received Special Treatment In Securing The Trademarks, It Would Be A Violation Of The U.S. Constitution. According to Associated Press, “If Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the US Constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress, ethics lawyers from across the political spectrum say. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party” [Associated Press, 3/8/17]

Dan Plane, A Director A Simone IP Services, Indicated That It Was “Weird” That Trump’s Trademarks Sailed Through So “Quickly And Cleanly.” According to Associated Press, “Dan Plane, a director at Simone IP Services, a Hong Kong intellectual-property consultancy, said he had never seen so many applications approved so quickly. ‘For all these marks to sail through so quickly and cleanly, with no similar marks, no identical marks, no issues with specifications — boy, it’s weird,’ he said. The trademarks are for businesses including branded spas, massage parlors, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real-estate companies, retail shops, restaurants, bars, and private bodyguard and escort services.” [Associated Press, 3/8/17]

Richard Painter, Who Served As The Chief Ethics Lawyer For President George W. Bush Indicated That The Volume Of New Trademark Approvals Raised Red Flags. According to Associated Press, “Richard Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said the volume of new approvals raised red flags. ‘A routine trademark, patent, or copyright from a foreign government is likely not an unconstitutional emolument, but with so many trademarks being granted over such a short time period, the question arises as to whether there is an accommodation in at least some of them,’ he said. Painter is involved in a lawsuit alleging that Trump’s foreign business ties violate the US Constitution. Trump has dismissed the lawsuit as ‘totally without merit.’” [Associated Press, 3/8/17]

Trump Organization Is Reportedly Seeking “Dozens More” Trademarks In China After The Election. According to CNN Money, “Trump can also argue that he’s a lot more famous in China now than he was when he first started the trademark battle there in 2006, giving him a stronger claim to the Trump name. Trump already holds dozens of trademarks in China and is seeking dozens more.” [CNN Money, 2/17/17]

Trump’s Family/White House Advisers Have Potential Conflicts of Interest With China

Jared Kushner’s Family Company Was In Talks With A Chinese Financial Institution For An Investment For Redeveloping 666 Fifth Avenue In Manhattan

Anbang Insurance Group Was Planning To Invest In 666 Fifth Avenue, A Building Owned By Jared Kushner’s Family. According to the New York Times, “On the night of Nov. 16, a group of executives gathered in a private dining room of the restaurant La Chine at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Midtown Manhattan. The table was laden with Chinese delicacies and $2,100 bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild. At one end sat Wu Xiaohui, the chairman of the Waldorf’s owner, Anbang Insurance Group, a Chinese financial behemoth with estimated assets of $285 billion and an ownership structure shrouded in mystery. Close by sat Jared Kushner, a major New York real estate investor whose father-in-law, Donald J. Trump, had just been elected president of the United States. It was a mutually auspicious moment. Mr. Wu and Mr. Kushner — who is married to Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and is one of his closest advisers — were nearing agreement on a joint venture in Manhattan: the redevelopment of 666 Fifth Avenue, the fading crown jewel of the Kushner family real-estate empire. Anbang, which has close ties to the Chinese state, has seen its aggressive efforts to buy up hotels in the United States slowed amid concerns raised by Obama administration officials who review foreign investments for national security risk.” [New York Times, 1/7/17]

  • Deal Would Have Resulted In $4 Billion Investment By The Chinese Company While The Kushners’ Company Would Receive $400 Million. “A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million from a prominent Chinese company that is considering investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave. The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It would provide them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.” [Bloomberg, 3/17/17]

  • Larry Noble Of Campaign Legal Center Called It A “Sweetheart Deal.” “‘At the very least, this raises serious questions about the appearance of a conflict that arises from the possibility that the Kushners are getting a sweetheart deal,’ said Larry Noble, general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. ‘A classic way you influence people is by financially helping their family.’” [Bloomberg, 3/17/17]

Deal Fell Through After Democratic Lawmakers Expressed Concern To Office Of White House Counsel And The Treasury Secretary. “The Chinese financial conglomerate, Anbang Insurance Group, and the Kushner Companies ‘mutually agreed to end talks regarding the property,’ a Kushner Companies spokesman said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. The development came days after Democratic lawmakers wrote letters to the Office of White House Counsel and Treasury Secretary, expressing concern that the possible deal could breach federal ethics rules, and as Mr. Trump is preparing to meet Xi Jinping, China’s president, for their first summit at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.” [New York Times, 3/29/17]

Ivanka Trump Had Financial Ties To China

Ivanka Trump’s Products Were Also Made In China

2016: All Of Ivanka Trump’s 838 Products Advertised On Her Website Were Imported And None Were Made Exclusively In The United States. In a PBS op-ed Robert Lawrence, former member of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers wrote, “In a recent debate Marco Rubio mentioned ties. But the ties made in China are just the tip of the iceberg. What about Donald J Trump sports jackets, cufflinks and eyeglass frames? All made in China. Inexpensive Donald J Trump shirts? Made in Bangladesh. More expensive Trump shirts? ‘Imported.’ The Trump brand also has a more feminine side — the Ivanka Trump brand. And where are the dresses, purses, shoes and other accessories that reflect Trump’s daughter’s taste made? Of the 838 Ivanka products advertised through the site, none appear to be made exclusively in the U.S.; 628 are said to be imported and 354 made specifically in China.” [PBS, 3/8/16]

  • Yahoo! On Trump Product Imports: “A Large Portion Of The Increase In Outsourcing Has Come From The Ivanka Trump Clothing Line.” According to Yahoo! Politics, “A large portion of the increase in outsourcing has come from the Ivanka Trump clothing line. The Trump outsourcing data includes shipments received as recently as last month. In fact, there were 50 shipments in February, almost all of them of women’s clothes and shoes for Ivanka Trump’s fashion line.” [Yahoo! Politics, 3/8/16]

Ivanka Trump Scarves Were Made In China And Sold In Various U.S. Retailers For $12 To $68. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The 100% rayon scarves, manufactured in China and embroidered with the name of the daughter of Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump ‘do not meet the federal flammability standards for clothing textiles, posing a burn risk,’ the Consumer Product Safety Commission said in a notice. […]The scarves were sold by Lord & Taylor, Marshalls, TJ Maxx, as well as online retailers such as Inc. for $12-$68, according to the CPSC notice. Consumers are offered a full refund.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/6/16]

Trump Can Draw Money From His Businesses’ Dealings With China At Any Time Without Disclosure

An Unreported Change To A Trust Document Revealed That Trump Can Draw Money From His More Than 400 Businesses At Any Time Without Disclosure. According to Propublica, “The setup has long been slammed as insufficient, far short of the full divestment that many ethics experts say is needed to avoid conflicts of interest. A small phrase buried deep in a set of recently released letters between the Trump Organization and the government shows just how little separation there actually is. Trump can draw money from his more than 400 businesses, at any time, without disclosing it. The previously unreported changes to a trust document, signed on Feb. 10, stipulates that it ‘shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request’ or whenever his son and longtime attorney ‘deem appropriate.’ That can include everything from profits to the underlying assets, such as the businesses themselves.” [Propublica, 3/3/17]

Trump’s Trust And The Trump Organization Were Privately Held, Meaning There Was Nothing Requiring Trump To Disclose When He Takes Profits From The Trust. According to Propublica, “There is nothing requiring Trump to disclose when he takes profits from the trust, which could go directly into his bank or brokerage account. That’s because both the trust and Trump Organization are privately held. The only people who know the details of the Trump trust’s finances are its trustees, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer. Trump’s other son, Eric, has been listed as an adviser to the trust, according to this revised document.” [Propublica, 3/3/17]

Trump’s Federal Financial Disclosure Did Not Require Profits From The Trust. According to Propublica, “There is a chance Trump will list his profits in his next federal financial disclosure, in May 2018, but the form doesn’t require it. The surest way to see what profits Trump is taking would be the release of his tax returns — which hasn’t happened. Income has to be reported to the IRS, whether it comes from a trust or someplace else.” [Propublica, 3/3/17]

Published: Apr 6, 2017

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