WASHINGTON (CNN) – If Donald Trump brings any of his children into his administration, or gives them the company to run how will he navigate conflict-of-interest concerns that he promised during his campaign to avoid?
“Our government will be honest, ethical and responsive,” said Trump.
When Donald Trump is in the White House, he plans to hand off his business holdings to his children but there are growing signs of potential conflicts-of-interest.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka joined him in his meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister.
“What it looks like is he may be forming less of a team of rivals and more of a team of a team of relatives. And that’s a problem,” said Matthew Sanderson, a Political Law Attorney.
Like any business, Trump’s empire is affected by policies set by the government. However, with his children playing key roles in his transition team, choosing the country’s top policymakers, critics say it’s problematic.
“It’s incredible. I mean, there are conflicts at every turn. Trump has said that there will be a wall between his kids, his business interests, and his public ambitions. There’s no wall that we’re seeing right now,” said Drew Harwell, The Washington Post.
The Trump transition team says it will make sure all rules and regulations are followed and Trump’s business organization says this is how it plans to handle the ethical dilemma.
“It’s going to be placed into a blind trust,” said Michael Cohen, Trump Organization Attorney.
But experts say, your own children are not what most lawyers would call a blind trust.
“It’s not credible to say that it’s a blind trust. Because in an actual blind trust he would divest himself of all of the interests that he holds. He would sell off his properties that he owns. And he would put the proceeds into a trust that’s run by an independent third party,” said Sanderson.
Trump himself has shown uncertainty.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. Is that a blind trust, I don’t know,” said Trump.
One of Trump’s top supporters offers this assurance.
“There will have to be a wall between them with regard to government matters,” said Rudy Giuliani, (R) Former New York City Mayor.
Also complicated: the case of Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who’s playing a trusted role in the Trump transition team. He runs a newspaper and a billion-dollar real estate company. Could Trump give a top post to his own son-in-law?
“It may be be legally questionable and politically perilous for him to choose someone close to him, and the number-one qualification being that they’re related to Donald Trump,” said Sanderson.
Why doesn’t Trump just turn his entire business empire over to an outside third-party trustee?
“Donald trusts no one more than he trusts Ivanka, Donald Jr, and Eric. But the problem that Donald has is that he doesn’t trust many people,” said Michael D’Antonio, Author, “The Truth About Trump.”
One glaring physical example of President-elect Trump’s potential conflicts of interest is here. Just a few blocks from the White House, the Trump International Hotel. Trump Hotels is the tenant. And once he becomes president, Trump is going to be the landlord, because the property is rented from the federal government.
Trump is going to be in the position to hire and fire the head of the General Services Administration, the GSA, which oversees the property, and Trump could conceivably, effectively be in a position to negotiate the rent here with himself. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump transition team would comment on that.
The GSA told CNN it will work to address any potential conflicts of interest with this building.