This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: Favoritism from Vancouver to New York City

The president's week was overshadowed by a speech and Sessions, but that doesn't mean a lack of conflicts galore

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 4, 2017 11:30AM (EST)

 (Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)
(Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Shutterstock/Salon)

President Donald Trump's week has been dominated by an unexpectedly popular speech to Congress and the revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled Congress about his contact with a Russian ambassador, but the Trump presidency will continue to be shaped by any conflicts of interest the commander-in-chief may or may not have.

Let's dive in.

The developer of a Trump Tower in Vancouver thanked the president while his sons were present.

When the 63-story Trump Tower opened in Vancouver on Tuesday, project developer Joo Kim Tiah made it clear that he feels indebted to President Trump. While Trump's sons Donald Jr. and Eric and daughter Tiffany were present, Tiah proclaimed, "I’d like to thank President Trump, who is not here." He also added that he looked "forward to more future ventures together."

Tiah is the son of one of Malaysia's wealthiest businessmen.

A Chinese businesswoman who sells "access" to her nation's government just purchased a penthouse apartment at Trump Tower for nearly $16 million.

Xiao Yan Chen, better known as Angela Chen, owns a consulting firm known as Global Alliance Associates that offers corporations access to the governments of China and the United States. As of Feb. 21, she was also the new owner of a $15.8 million penthouse apartment at Trump Tower in New York. Because the president is still the company's owner, he will directly profit from the sale of the penthouse, which is the first major real-estate deal in Trump Tower since he was elected to the presidency in November.

Chen will also live remarkably close to Trump's family, and a trip of a few floors could get her close to the president outside of prying eyes.

Want a bite to eat while you meet the president's inner circle? Head to the restaurant in Trump's Washington hotel.

Benny Johnson of the Independent Journal Review was lucky enough to get a tip that Trump was going to dine at a steakhouse in a Washington hotel. He got a prime seat there and caught Trump dining with his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, and far-right British politician Nigel Farage, as well as briefly chatting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his wife. While Johnson didn't observe anything inappropriate that night, it is just another reminder that Trump continues to bring dignitaries to a hotel from which he has not fully divested himself.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012, was a guest on Fox Business in 2019, repeatedly warned of Trump's impending refusal to concede during the 2020 election, spoke at the Commonwealth Club of California in 2021, was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022 and appeared on NPR in 2023. His diverse interests are reflected in his interviews including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (1997-2001), director Jason Reitman ("The Front Runner"), inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, World War II historian Joshua Levine (consultant to "Dunkirk"), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), seismologist John Vidale, Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), Fox News host Tucker Carlson, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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