Saturday, February 04, 2017
A big difference
Between a blind trust and and the wide open trust subject to his ultimate approval and openly for his benefit that The Tangerine Shitgibbon has allegedly moved his assets into for the duration of his term of office.
Just days before his inauguration, President-elect Donald J. Trump stood beside his tax lawyer at a Midtown Manhattan news conference as she announced that he planned to place his vast business holdings in a trust, a move she said would allay fears that he might exploit the Oval Office for personal gain.The good thing for him about this trust is that the assets will be available for his legal defense fund when he is impeached.
However, a number of questions were left unanswered — including who would ultimately benefit from the trust — raising concerns about just how meaningful the move was.
Now, records have emerged that show just how closely tied Mr. Trump remains to the empire he built.
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.
While the trust structure, outlined in documents made public through a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, may give the president the appearance of distance from his business, it drew sharp criticism from experts in government ethics.
“I don’t see how this in the slightest bit avoids a conflict of interest,” said Frederick J. Tansill, a trust and estates lawyer from Virginia who examined the documents at the request of The New York Times. “First it is revocable at any time, and it is his son and his chief financial officer who are running it.”
It is not uncommon for people to place assets in a trust with themselves as beneficiaries for estate-planning purposes. But Mr. Trump’s situation is unprecedented because it involves a wealthy president acting to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest.
The Trump Organization declined to comment for this article.
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