Donald Jr. admits there is no barrier between President Trump and his businesses

Laurel Raymond

Laurel Raymond General Reporter, Think Progress

President Donald Trump has ignored the advice of the independent Office of Government Ethics and other ethics experts to fully divest from his businesses. Instead, he insists that, because he has resigned from management positions and handed control over to his adult sons Eric and Donald Jr., he has no conflicts.

Trump and his lawyers say that by putting his sons in charge, Trump has set up a firewall between his administration and his businesses, though he still owns them. But his sons’ own public statements show there’s no firewall at all.

Donald Trump Jr. told the Associate Press on Tuesday that he “has spoken to his father more frequently in recent weeks,” though he said he didn’t discuss the details of either business or the government with his father.

Yet a few weeks ago, defending his father’s business arrangements, Trump Jr. said he had almost no contact with his father.

“I basically have zero contact with him at this point,” he said in a speech at a GOP fundraiser in Dallas, according to NBC news.

In a March interview with Forbes, Eric Trump said that he would give his father business profitability updates as often as every quarter.

“My father and I are very close,” Eric Trump said. “I talk to him a lot. We’re pretty inseparable.” According to Forbes, Eric Trump’s admission that he’d give his father business reports came less than two minutes after he said that he and his father didn’t discuss the government or the business.

Eric Trump also told the Telegraph on Monday that he expects his father is watching his businesses closely — despite Trump having vowed many times that he’d have no conflicts with his businesses as president because he “couldn’t care less” about them.

According to the Telegraph’s report, Eric Trump said that he expected his father “will be watching closely” as Eric stewards his projects in Scotland — and that when Trump makes a state visit to the UK later this year, he’ll probably stop by to check on it and play a round of golf.

“Hey, if he is over in this part of the world, would he I’m sure love to come over and play a round of golf. Absolutely, no question about it. This is a property he loves,” Eric Trump said.

Eric and Donald Trump Jr have also been included in some of Trump’s government meetings and events, despite their claims that they have no involvement whatsoever in the Trump administration. They were even official members of his transition team.

Because Trump hasn’t divested from his businesses, his separation from the vast conflicts of interest they pose is already shaky — and any separation at all rests wholly on his promise not to talk to his sons about them. None of the parties involved have provided any way to verify that this promise has been kept — and now, reports keep leaking out from Trump Jr. and Eric Trump themselves that President Trump is much more informed on his businesses than he alleges.

It’s just one more piece of evidence that Trump’s separation from his businesses is no more than a corporate shell game, and that there is little to stop him from making decisions as president that enrich him personally.

“He is breaking down one of the few barriers he claimed to be establishing between him and his businesses, and those barriers themselves were weak to begin with. But if he is now going to get reports from his son about the businesses, then he really isn’t separate in any real way,” Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a former chief ethics officer at the Federal Election Commission, told Forbes.

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Reposted from Think Progress.

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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