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This week in Donald Trump's conflicts of interest: A this-for-that in India?

Trump prepares to host the Indian prime minister, just as his government prepares to sell off Mumbai properties


Matthew Rozsa
June 24, 2017 10:30AM (UTC)

There are many ways in which President Donald Trump is benefiting from his policies as president, which have so far shown they can line the pockets of both himself and the family members who help run his business empire.

Let's take a look at examples that have cropped up in the past week.

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India's largest real estate developer is selling condominiums in Trump Tower Mumbai while the president prepares to host Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian real estate developer Mangal Lodha, who is very influential in the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, is preparing to sell off properties in Trump Tower Mumbai, according to a report by Bloomberg. Although Lodha paid as much as $5 million in order to license the Trump name on the development, he insists that there is no conflict of interest because he claims Trump has stopped being personally involved in the company since becoming president. Of course, if Trump's son Eric (who he entrusted to run the empire from which he hasn't fully divested himself) is to be believed, this isn't the case.

Ivanka Trump has had 10 trademarks granted with preliminary permission since the start of the year

Remember when Kellyanne Conway got into trouble for hawking Ivanka Trump's fashion products on national television? While the White House counselor may have been chided, Ivanka Trump remains as brazen as ever. Ivanka Trump Marks has filed three successful requests to extend her brand name on apparel including lingerie, according to a report by Bloomberg. Overall this year she has had 10 trademarks receive preliminary permission, which poses a conflict of interest for her given that she has emerged as an influential adviser in her father's government.

Not everything is turning up Donald

Although Trump's businesses have been able to cash in quite handsomely on his presidency, there is one notable exception. The Washington Post discovered that his Mar-a-Lago Club is losing banquet customers for reasons ranging from being intimidated by the increased amount of security to other unanticipated consequences of having to do business with a club that happens to be owned by the president and his family.

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Democrats are still fighting back

Although congressional Republicans have by and large resisted Democratic efforts to hold the Trumps accountable for their conflicts of interest, Rolling Stone reports that Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland is taking advantage of a 1928 law that requires the White House to provide documents to a congressional panel if at least seven of its members submit a document request. As Cummings pointed out in a letter to acting General Services Administration chief Tim Horne, this "is not a regulation or guideline, but a statute that was passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president."

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Cummings added: "Although you may wish to limit oversight from Democratic Members of Congress through a misguided policy that responds only to Republican Chairmen, compliance with federal law is not an optional exercise that may be overridden by a new Trump Administration policy."


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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