Right before Trump took office, his attorney and tax counsel since 2005, Sheri Dillon, stated that Trump had relinquished control of the Trump organization “without any involvement whatsoever from President-elect Trump.” The assets of his more than 400 businesses were to be conveyed to a Trust prior to his inauguration on January 20th, and his sons Don and Eric, along with Trump executive, Allen Weisselberg would take full control as trustees.
Today news has surfaced that on February 10th, a trust document was signed, stipulating that Donald J. Trump can pull funds from his businesses pretty much like an ATM, whenever he requests it.
Now, he can cash in to those businesses he said he was hands off of, any time he likes.
The change states: The Trustees shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request, as the Trustees deem necessary for his maintenance, support or uninsured medical expense, or as the Trustees otherwise deem appropriate. The change was put in place even though Trump was already designated as “exclusive beneficiary” in January.
Some background: Since everybody in contact with Trump appears to have ties to Russia these days, it would probably not surprise anybody that Sherri Dillon is a partner at a global law firm, Moran, Lewis & Bockius, which was named “Russia Law Firm of the Year” in May 2016. Ted Cruz was a partner there from 2008-2013. Dillon contributed to the Hillary campaign in 2007, though not in 2016. Hillary also worked with Morgan Lewis to vet her running mates.
Back in March 2016, Sheri Dillon said in a letter that Trump’s tax returns from 2002-2008 weren’t under audit by the IRS, though Trump still refused to release them, stating, “they’re all linked” at the time. Then last month, the Republican-controlled House voted to block Democratic resolutions demanding 10 years of President Trump’s tax returns, as well as any Treasury documents showing any debts Trump has to foreign governments or investments in foreign companies. All of this is, of course, highly relevant to the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, among other foreign governments.
One of the arguments Republicans used to block access was that it raised privacy concerns. On the same day, House Republicans voted to sell American citizen’s internet history to online advertisers. So much for privacy concerns…
Today, we still don’t have access to most of Trump’s tax returns other than a choice and partial one from 2005 that was suspiciously dropped on Rachel Maddow.
Though Trump seemed to turn over his assets to his sons, they were never placed in a blind trust.
“The conflicts of interests laws simply do not apply to the president or the vice president,” Dillon said.
Big Red Flag:
Eric Trump in February:
“There is kind of a clear separation of church and state that we maintain, and I am deadly serious about that exercise,” Eric told Forbes. “I do not talk about the government with him, and he does not talk about the business with us. That’s kind of a steadfast pact we made, and it’s something that we honor.”
Two minutes later, according to Forbes, Eric conceded that he will update his father on the businesses: “Yeah, on the bottom line, profitability reports and stuff like that, but you know, that’s about it.”
Sounds like that separation of church and state is about as blurry and undefined as Ted Cruz or Mike Pence would have the real thing.
George W. Bush’s former chief ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, called out Eric:
“It just means that a lot of what they say is malarkey because the president isn’t distancing himself from the business,” Painter said. “It doesn’t matter how much of the management is being delegated. Things are always delegated in business, down to who the hotel clerk is at the Trump hotel. But at the end of the day, he owns the business. He has the conflicts that come with it.”
The revised trust document states the trustees “shall not provide any report to Donald J. Trump on the holdings and sources of income of the Trust.”
Right…does anybody believe that for 1 second?
If you think Trump and his sons aren’t discussing the Trump organization, we have a highly suspicious Trump Tower in Azerbaijan to sell you. Meanwhile, who knows what money Trump will be pulling from his assets going forward? The details will likely be as murky as that separation of church and state, or Donald’s tax returns. (At least until the investigation is finally completed)
Video showing Sheri Dillon discussing Trump turning over his assets: