As recently reported, Ivanka Trump sat in on a meeting that the President-elect had with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
At the time, critics said that even if Donald Trump was going to separate his business interests from his duties as president by turning over management to his adult children, the presence of his children inside of the U.S. government, including at meetings, presented a clear conflict. And no one, outside of Trump and his close advisers have even been able to justify the concept of Donald Trump having business interests while being U.S. president.
The New York Times now reports that at the same time as the meeting that Ivanka Trump attended, another meeting was going on in Tokyo as her clothing company worked to reach a licensing agreement with Sanei International, whose largest shareholder is wholly owned by the Japanese government.
The Times reported that the deal has been in the works for two years. There are no reports that the discussion at Trump Tower included mention of Ivanka’s business venture. However, the circumstances illustrate the potential conflicts of interest facing the Trump family.
Beyond that, it demonstrates that the Trump family is not even making an effort at addressing any conflicts of interest by completely excluding — meaning placing a wall between — the Trump children, and their families, from the U.S. government.
Last week, Trump announced on Twitter that he and his children would give details on their plans about “leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country,” on December 15. But by all measures, the President-elect is not taking into account the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The New York Times noted that “an examination of the professional histories of the three children — who also serve3 on the presidential transition team — shows how deeply the Trump family, Trump business and Trump politics are interwoven, raising significant doubts about how meaningful a wall can ever be erected between Mr. Trump and his heirs at the Trump Organization.”
The President-elect seems to be focused on conflicts — which the president may not have much concern with — rather than Constitutional requirements and the criminal laws of the United States — which may have much more serious consequences than merely being questioned on his ethics.