Donald Trump's plan to separate himself from his business empire does not go far enough and could create major ethics and even constitutional problems on the first day of his administration, experts said.
A Trump lawyer on Wednesday told reporters in New York that Trump will separate from his global business assets by putting them into a trust run by his two eldest sons and a Trump Organization executive. The company will also hire an ethics advisor to clear any new domestic deals, and Trump will donate any hotel profits generated from foreign governments to avoid the appearance of gifts.
With this structure, Trump is "walking through a minefield blindfolded" when he takes office Jan. 20, said Norman Eisen, a former top White House ethics lawyer under President Barack Obama who has led calls for Trump to divest his businesses, along with former George W. Bush lawyer Richard Painter.
"The president-elect's disregard for ethics and precedent and the Constitution in his press conference today are going to precipitate an ethics and constitutional crisis from the day he's sworn in," he told MSNBC on Wednesday.
Many ethics experts had called on Trump to divest his business or give his assets to a truly independent trustee to avoid the potential for him or his family to profit from the presidency. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics, an independent executive branch agency, previously said the involvement of Trump's children would not go far enough to reduce conflicts.