The Trump Organization will be placed into a blind trust to prevent a conflict of interest when Donald Trump becomes president, Trump's attorney said. But legal experts say the plan is functionally, and perhaps legally, impractical.
In an interview Thursday with CNN, Trump attorney Michael Cohen said the president-elect is no longer interested in running his privately held multibillion-dollar Trump Organization or trying to leverage his presidency to grow his fortune or holdings.
Instead, his ownership of the company will be placed in a blind trust, and that his three oldest children will run it.
"We're going to do it, legally," Cohen said. "It's going to be placed into a blind trust. The children — Don, Ivanka, Eric, they're really intelligent. They're really qualified. … He's very comfortable with them at the helm and the people who will surround them."
Cohen admitted some people wouldn't be satisfied with the arrangement.
"Will we be able to appease everybody? The answer is no. No matter what the man does he can't appease everyone. But, everything will be done legally. He's not interested in the company anymore."
Still, lawyers say placing the organization into a blind trust would amount to little more than window dressing. A blind trust, by definition, prevents the owner from knowing what the company owns or holds. Since Trump built the organization, he knows each asset inside and out — from the 17 golf courses, 15 hotels and dozens of residential buildings.
What's more, having his kids run the company would still keep the business it in the family.
"Turning the business over to his kids will free up his time but it does nothing to resolve conflicts of interest," said Kenneth Gross, a political-law expert and ethics expert at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, who has advised many presidents.
"A creator of a blind trust is tagged with the knowledge of the assets put into the trust, and in terms of conflicts his children's interests are co-extensive with his self interest."
People familiar with the company say that the three Trump children will each manage a separate part of the company. Ivanka would run the hotels, Donald Jr. would run the golf properties and Eric would run the winery and new development projects.