Democrats preparing bill to force Trump to divest himself of assets

Washington, Dec 16 (IANS) A group of Democratic senators will present a bill that would obligate US President-elect Donald Trump to divest himself of any financial interests that may pose conflicts of interest and to place his assets in a blind trust, a specialised daily The Hill reported on Thursday.

The bill would also consider any violation of ethics laws or conflicts of interest by Trump “a high crime or misdemeanour under the impeachment clause of the US Constitution”, EFE news quoted the five sponsors as saying in a summary of the legislation.

“The American people deserve to know that the President of the United States is working to do what’s best for the country — not using his office to do what’s best for himself and his businesses,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren — one of the bill’s sponsors — in a statement on the measure.

Also sponsoring the bill are Sens. Ben Cardin, Chris Coons, Dick Durbin and Jeff Merkley, and they will formally present the legislation in Congress in January.

The bill would require incoming First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, his wife Karen Pence, and Trump’s youngest son Barron to abandon any financial assets that would pose a conflicts of interest and place them in blind trusts.

The bill would also prevent them from participating in matters that are directly related to the financial interests of the Trump family, or in businesses controlled by the President-elect or his wife.

The bill has a complicated future in a congress controlled by the Republicans, where the leading members of both chambers have expressed their interest in working with Trump despite the difference they had with him during the campaign.

Trump had said that he would hold a press conference this week to lay out in detail how he will divest himself of his assets and businesses, but a couple of days ago he postponed that public appearance until January.

The magnate also has not released his tax returns, something that presidential candidates have done as a matter of course for decades.

–IANS

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