Trump decides to leave businesses

WASHINGTON • President- elect Donald Trump said yesterday he plans to leave his businesses "in total" to focus on the White House, and will discuss the matter at a news conference on Dec 15 in New York with his children, some of whom are business associates.

"While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses," Mr Trump said in a series of tweets.

"Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!"

Concerns about potential conflicts of interest in domestic and foreign affairs have already begun to bubble up for the billionaire ahead of his January inauguration.

Mr Trump did not say if he would sell or gift his businesses to his children, nor did he spell out what structure he would put in place to distance himself from the Trump Organisation.

Former White House ethics lawyers have urged him to fully divest of his assets and put the cash in a blind trust to avoid any conflicts of interests.

Presidents are exempt from the 1978 Ethics in Government Act, an exception crafted in the belief that presidents should not have to worry about triggering ethics probes when making decisions.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'Trump decides to leave businesses'. Print Edition | Subscribe