- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2017

A group of 17 Democratic senators sent a letter Thursday to the Trump Organization demanding detailed accounts about how President Trump is avoiding conflicts of interest.

They singled out reports of Trump business ventures in Saudi Arabia and Israel, casting a cloud over Mr. Trump’s upcoming visit to those two countries on his first trip abroad.

Mr. Trump, a billionaire businessman with hotels and golf clubs around the globe, has agreed to isolate himself form the businesses, but recent reports indicate he still has the ability to withdraw profits from the Trump Organization.

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“If accurate, the president will receive regular updates on the ongoing affairs of his businesses and will be able to regularly access profits. It defies common sense to believe that this type of arrangement resolves the president’s conflicts of interest,” said the letter.

The letter was signed by Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is the ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 16 other Democratic senators.

“It also raises serious questions regarding how such an arrangement could credibly insulate the president from unending Emoluments Clause violations,” they said in the letter.

The letter was sent to Donald Trump Jr., the executive vice president of the Trump Revokable Trust, and Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, and other Trump Organization officials.

The senator demanded documentation of compliance with the presidents’ agreement to avoid conflicts of interest, including his pledge to turn over profits received from foreign sources to the Treasury.

The demands, which which the senators cannot compel compliance, included:

• When any entity within the Trump Organization receives income from the federal government, a state government, or a foreign government or instrumentality thereof, is that income segregated from income received from any other source? If so, please describe with specificity the manner in which that income is accounted and reported.

• A complete accounting of all federal funds since Jan. 21, 2017, that have been paid, for any reason, to any entity within the Trump Organization, e.g. for space at Trump Tower or golf cart rentals. Please describe how this income will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service.

• Detailed accounting for how profits revised from foreign individuals or governments at Trump hotels are identified and collected to be forwarded to the Treasury.

The senators noted that to date no payments have been made to the Treasure.

The Trump Organization was not immediately available to comment.

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