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Engel Statement on President-Elect's Foreign Conflicts

ENGEL STATEMENT ON PRESIDENT-ELECT’S FOREIGN CONFLICTS

WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“We’re just two weeks past Election Day, and concerns have already emerged about serious conflicts between the President-elect’s official responsibilities and his overseas business interests. American national security requires the President to be singularly focused on what’s good for the United States.  But the likelihood that President-elect Trump’s will protect his business holdings in countries as important as China, India, and Saudi Arabia creates a clash between his personal finances and our national security. This is unacceptable.

“In 14 short days, we have learned that President-elect Trump's business partners from India paid a courtesy call at Trump Tower between meetings when Mr. Trump was interviewing candidates for the cabinet. Trump executives are pressuring foreign diplomats to stay at Trump Hotels, which after Inauguration may represent a violation of the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. The reported next head of the Trump Organization, who happens to be Mr. Trump’s daughter, joined a meeting with the Prime Minster of Japan and a phone call with the President of Argentina, both countries in which Mr. Trump has business interests. And the President-elect personally asked British politician Nigel Farage to campaign against wind farms near a Trump golf course in the U.K., and then, in a stunning breach of protocol, tweeted that Mr. Farage should be made ambassador to the United States.

“For more than 200 years, the presidency has represented ‘we the people.’ Now, weeks before he is set to take the oath of office, the President-elect must demonstrate to the American people that he is not using the power of his presidency to enhance his business interests.  This is a big deal.  As Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, I will work tirelessly to find out just how deep these conflicts go and ensure that the President-elect’s business interests do not interfere with our national security. 

“Fortunately, there's an easy way for President-elect Trump to clear up this situation: he should immediately disclose all his financial records, personally divest from the Trump Organization and its affiliates, and place all his assets in a blind trust. This pathway is no different from what Presidents of both parties have done over many decades.  Leaders in Congress should demand that these conditions be met before we consider any part of the Trump agenda. Otherwise we will have no idea who stands to benefit from his proposed policies.”