Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined 15 other senators in sending a letter to the Trump Organization and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust pressing for answers about each entity’s financial relationship to the president and about the president’s compliance with the Constitution.
The letter comes as President Donald Trump was set to leave for his first foreign trip, which included stops in two countries — Saudi Arabia and Israel — where there have been questions of possible conflicts of interest with him and his administration.
While Trump stated in January that he was “completely isolating himself from his business interests,” recent reporting has shown that the president’s trust agreement allows him to request and receive any “net income or principal” from the trust — at any time and for whatever reason. This only heightens concerns about conflicts of interest and violations of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which bars the president from accepting any benefit or payment from foreign governments or entities controlled by foreign governments without the express consent of Congress.
Referring to news reports, the senators wrote, “If accurate, the president will receive regular updates on the ongoing affairs of his businesses and will be able to regularly access profits. It defies common sense to believe that this type of arrangement resolves the president’s conflicts of interest. It also raises serious questions regarding how such an arrangement could credibly insulate the president from unending Emoluments Clause violations.”
“Our democratic institutions derive legitimacy and public confidence through transparency,” the senators continued. “It is essential for the American people to know that the president’s decisions are not affected by his personal financial interest. And it is similarly imperative for the American people to trust that he is operating within the confines of the Constitution. Neither can be said at present.”
A copy of the May 18 letter is available at bit.ly/2qMZ1Zf.