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Donald Trump said Wednesday he sold his stocks in June because he thought he would win the presidency and wanted to avoid conflicts when making policy.
In an interview on NBC's "TODAY," the president-elect elaborated on a statement Tuesday by a spokesman confirming he had sold all of his stock in June. The transition team, however, did not provide any documents to prove the sale.
Stock holdings were one small part of Trump's personal fortune that could have been affected by his presidential decisions. For example Trump's proposals to loosen financial regulations and promote American energy production could have boosted some of the companies in which he invested.
"I don't think it's appropriate for me to be owning stocks when I'm making deals for this country that maybe will affect one company positively and one company negatively, so I just thought it was a conflict," Trump told "TODAY."
For example, Trump's administration could decide on the fate of the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, which is operated by Energy Transfer Partners. He held shares of the company earlier this year.
Trump's brokerage accounts also had shares of Apple, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Verizon, among dozens of other companies, as of May, according to a financial disclosure document. Some of those stocks have rallied since Trump's election, partly on hopes about his policy agenda.
Trump claims he "let everybody know" that he sold his stocks in June, though CNBC could not find a record of his campaign announcing that. However, he told Fox Business in August that he "got out" of the stock market, but did not specify when.
A stock sale only reduces some conflicts for Trump's presidency, as his company still has real estate holdings around the globe. Trump plans to hand his businesses over to his three eldest children, but that may not eliminate conflicts, as they serve on his transition team. Daughter Ivanka sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shortly after the election.