The $713 Million Dollar (and then some) Man [update]
More proof of Trump’s anti-elitism: like many un Joe ordinaire he’s up to his eyebrows in debt.
According to his own public disclosure, Trump, as of May, was on the hook for 16 loans worth at least $713 million. This list does not include an estimated $2 billion in debt amassed by real estate partnerships that include Trump. One of those loans is a $950 million deal that was cobbled together by Goldman Sachs and the state-owned Bank of China—an arrangement that ethics experts believe violates the Constitution’s emolument clause, which prohibits foreign governments from providing financial benefits to federal officials.
Sure it might violate the emolument clause now, but give Trump and his Concerned Conservative Congress a few minutes and it will be legal to shoot anyone who says the words emolument clause.
All of Trump’s top properties—including Trump Tower, the Trump National Doral golf course, and his brand new luxury hotel in Washington, DC—are heavily mortgaged. That means Trump maintains critical financial relationships with his creditors. These interactions pose a significant set of potential conflicts because his creditors are large financial institutions (domestic and foreign) with their own interests and policy needs. Each one could be greatly affected by presidential decisions, and Trump certainly has a financial interest in their well-being.
However, congratulations to Deutsche Bank are in order. It looks like the bank will dodge a $14 billion bullet.
Trump has an enormous conflict of interest on his hands with Deutsche Bank. As Trump himself noted in his 2008 lawsuit against the bank, Deutsche played a prominent role in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The Obama administration has targeted Deutsche Bank and other banks for creating and repackaging bad mortgage products, and earlier this fall the Justice Department announced it was seeking to settle claims against the bank for about $14 billion. That was much more than Deutsche Bank was expecting to pay, and the news sent the bank into a tailspin. Its stock price plummeted amid speculation that it could not remain afloat if the Justice Department pressed the bank for such a big settlement.
Negotiations between the bank and the Justice Department over the size of the settlement are underway. But if they are not resolved by January 20, Trump’s administration will be in charge of handling this case. So a federal government run by Trump will have to decide how hard to push the bank that Trump owes so much to and that has been critical to Trump’s personal fortune.
If you have not already clicked the link, do so for a list of what he owes to who.
I predict this plan will feature so many superlatives describing the plan and feints in the direction of other topics that there will be no room for an actual plan. Update: Will never get off the ground because “You can do anything you want!” is the new IOKIYAR!
Donald Trump has announced that on December 15 he will hold a press conference to reveal to the world his plan to address the many conflicts of interest between his vast business empire and his new role as president. Trump has indicated that he will remove himself from the daily “business operations” of the Trump Organization—but not sell off his holdings or create a truly blind trust.
Ethics experts have criticized this approach because … he would not be separating his presidential decision-making from his own personal financial circumstances. Yet, arguably, the biggest conflicts he faces aren’t related to what he owns. Rather, they relate to what he owes.
Unless he plans to spend 10 minutes screaming at the press.