Warren Pushes for Presidential Divestment Bill

Democrats say a blind trust is the only way

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren says it has been the standard for presidents to divest themselves from financial interests, “and our bill makes clear the continuing expectation that President-elect Trump do the same.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Thursday that Senate Democrats will introduce legislation that would require President-elect Donald Trump to divest from any financial entanglements that could conflict with his presidential duties.

The bill more strictly codifies the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, and would force the president, vice president, their spouses and any dependent family members to place their financial assets in a blind trust. 

The new legislation, which will be formally introduced in January, will also require high-ranking presidential appointees to remove themselves from situations regarding the president’s financial concerns, according to The Springfield Republican

“The only way for President-elect Trump to truly eliminate conflicts of interest is to divest his financial interests and place them in a blind trust,” Warren said in a statement. “This has been the standard for previous presidents, and our bill makes clear the continuing expectation that President-elect Trump do the same.”

Past presidents have voluntarily absolved themselves of similar conflicts of interest.

Under pressure from Congress and government agencies, Trump tweeted his intention last month to hand over control of his business empire to his children, earning him the praise of the Office of Government Ethics. 

But Warren and the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, Sens. Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Chris Coons of Delaware, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, say that doesn’t go far enough.

Trump was supposed to outline his plans to avoid conflicts of interest between his international business ventures and White House duties at a press conference Thursday, but the event was rescheduled. 

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