March 31, 2018

PLUM DUFF:

From Mueller to Stormy to 'emoluments,' Trump's business is under siege (Jonathan O'Connell and David A. Fahrenthold, March 30, 2018, Washington Post)

The carefully maintained secrecy around President Trump's finances is under unprecedented assault a year into his presidency, with three different legal teams with different agendas trying to pry open the Trump Organization's books.

On one side is special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who has subpoenaed Trump Organization documents as part of his wide-ranging investigation into the 2016 campaign. On another is Stormy Daniels, the adult-film actress seeking internal correspondence as part of her effort to be freed from a nondisclosure agreement centering on an alleged affair with Trump.

And in the most direct assault, the District and Maryland have sued Trump, alleging that he is improperly accepting gifts, or "emoluments," from foreign or state governments through his businesses, including his hotels. A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the case can proceed, opening the way for the plaintiffs to seek at least a portion of Trump's tax returns, which the president has refused to release. [...]

The inquiries are exposing the risks Trump took on when he made the decision to maintain ownership of the company that bears his name while serving in the White House -- a departure from 40 years of presidential tradition and the advice of ethics officials. Previous presidents have chosen to fully divest their assets. When Trump took office, he instead put his stake in his company into a trust managed by his sons, accessible to him at any time.

Now, what initially seemed like a plum arrangement for Trump -- enjoying the fruits of his business while running the country -- may come back to harm the Trump Organization if it is forced to reveal the kind of financial information and private correspondence that real estate firms closely guard.

Posted by at March 31, 2018 8:33 AM

  

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