News by VICE

Trump takes a break from transition work to meet with business associates

by Tess Owen
Nov 20 2016, 4:00pm

Donald Trump is still in the game it seems. According to The New York Times, the president-elect took a break from transition work to hold a meeting with three Indian business partners at Trump Tower this week, prompting renewed questions about how he plans to avoid any conflict of interest between his businesses and his role as president.

A photograph of Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia, Kalpesh Mehta and Trump giving the thumbs up was posted on Twitter earlier this week. They are currently building a Trump luxury apartment complex south of Mumbai, The Hill reported. A spokesperson for the president-elect said that they had simply flown in to congratulate the president-elect, and that it was not a formal affair.

News of the meeting comes a little over a week after Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen announced that the president-elect would be handing over the reins of his multi-billion dollar empire, the Trump Organization, to his three children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric.

Where his offspring are concerned, the domains of business and politics seem to run into one another – his children Eric and Ivanka were reportedly present at the meeting with the Indian business partners. And despite not having security clearances, Ivanka Trump also sat in on Trump’s meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week — his first meeting as president-elect with a foreign leader.

“Donald Trump’s children and son-in-law have been deeply involved in the transition and selecting who will be part of his administration,” Noah Bookbinder, the executive director for the watchdog Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics, told The Hill. “At the same time, they are deeply involved in the business. There does not seem to be any sign of a meaningful separation of Trump government operations and his business operations.”

“It looks to us that he’s clearly not able to maintain a blind trust and still keep the company under his ownership and, frankly, control,” Jordan Libowitz, communications director from the same watchdog told the Huffington Post. “We really think that the best thing he can do is sell the company outside of the family and place the money from the sale into an actual blind trust.”