Trump's Business Ties Already Jeopardizing American Interests (@kurteichenwald)
Not only has President-elect Trump refused to release his tax returns (the first U.S. President in over 40 years who hasn’t), which should have set off alarm bells for every American citizen, but now the details of the enormous entanglement of business and political conflicts his election presents is proving to require a breathtaking effort.
In Newsweek, “How Donald Trump’s Business Ties Are Already Jeopardizing U.S. Interests,” by Kurt Eichenwald, the author examines several known conflicts that are already of concern. One example:
Just the suspicion that Trump might re-establish formal relations with Taiwan for the financial benefit of his children—or might use it as a bargaining chip for landing the kind of development deals on the mainland that Eric Trump discussed—will now be part of the foreign policy calculations in Beijing, as officials there attempt to deal with the new U.S. president.
If you have not already read the article, do it. It goes into enough depth to see that we are all about to really step in it.
Even some of Trump’s picks for his administration have conflicts of interest. Take Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s pick for National Security Advisor, with respect to Turkey’s accusation that Fethullah Gülen, who lives in the U.S., was involved in the recent coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (emphasis below is mine):
Erdogan has placed Gülen on country’s list of most-wanted terrorists, but the Obama administration has not acted on the extradition request, and it has told the Turks they would have to produce proof of Gülen’s involvement in the coup attempt before he could be sent to Ankara, the Turkish capital.
Enter Donald Trump. The day of the U.S. election, the news site The Hill published an article by Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn… “The forces of radical Islam derive their ideology from radical clerics like Gülen, who is running a scam,” Flynn wrote. “We should not provide him safe haven… It is imperative that we remember who our real friends are.” (Flynn, who runs a consulting firm hired by a company with links to the Turkish government, seems unaware that radical Islamic groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS, are more likely to decapitate someone like Gülen.)
Flynn’s statement fits too nicely with Trump’s business interests in Turkey, and illustrates that it is likely the Turkish government has significant leverage over Trump even before he takes office.