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Note -- I did my absolute best to refer to the Trump organization as "Trump organization" and president Trump only as "President" or "Administration" to avoid confusion as they are understood (At least, when you give them the benefit of the doubt) to be separate entities.

It was reported by the AP that China granted the Trump organization 38 trademarks that it's been doing ten years of legal proceedings to acquire. I'm going to give the current administration the benefit of the doubt and assume that this grant of trademarks was an attempt to curry favor with the Administration without being directly requested by the president or any of his subordinates. I am assuming based on the fact that the Trump Organization had so much trouble getting these trademarks through until the President had taken office and the large number was approved nearly simultaneously indicates foul play and an attempt to curry favor on the part of the Chinese government.

Assuming this is the case -- How can the current administration have any positive interaction that does not give the appearance of being based on a conflict of interest? Giving Concessions to China without (universally understood) equal benefit to the United States would have the appearance of giving way to conflict of interest, how can proper relations possibly continue?

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    There is no law against the appearance of conflict of interest. For POTUS, there is no legal conflict of interest. I think this is really a political question, since in fact there is no legal issue. – user6726 Mar 8 '17 at 18:41
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    The legal issue arises under the Emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. People who aren't legal specialists often describe this as a conflicts of interest law, which isn't quite correct but captures the spirit of it. washingtonpost.com/politics/… – ohwilleke Mar 9 '17 at 8:09
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    The same way as how Hillary avoided this with The Clinton Foundation. – Sjoerd Jun 15 '17 at 5:28
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    @Sjoerd - you mean by getting no financial payment or any kind of benefit, whatsoever, from a charitable foundation? Yeah, that would be a good way to do it. Trump has chosen not to go that route, though. – PoloHoleSet Jun 15 '17 at 14:31
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    The Clinton foundation hired at high salaries, Clinton associates Huma Abedin and Sidney Blumenthal, while both had full time jobs elsewhere - Huma was supposed to be working for State. What a busy gal... Plus, the pricey speech payments to Bill Clinton from the Russian banks involved in the uranium deal, were actually made to Bill and Hillary Clinton, according to the Podesta email dumps. Finally, when Clinton lost, donations to the CF plunged to a trickle... as if the donors were expecting something more than just a warm glow of satisfaction for all that money they gave. – tj1000 Jun 15 '17 at 18:19
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"How can it?" Complete divestiture of businesses and all assets placed in a blind (not "run by my kids") trust.

That's why this is often (really, almost always) done, and why people have been calling for Trump to do it.

If it's "How can it, in the current status quo?" It can't. It's rife with actual conflicts of interest, inadvertent conflicts, and even more appearances of conflicts of interest.

  • Does 'blind' mean that all the publicly visible assets of the Trump Organisation, including buildings and trademarks would have to be sold, with the trust keeping the details of what they bought in exchange secret? – bdsl Jul 16 '17 at 14:07
  • @bdsl - I'm not a legal expert, but to be "blind," yes, Trump should not be able to know what business assets he owns, so in the case of branded holdings, they should be sold. – PoloHoleSet Jul 17 '17 at 14:14

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