Senate Dems introduce resolution on Trump's business ties

Senate Democrats are pushing Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE to put his assets into an independent blind trust, arguing the move is needed to avoid a "potential misunderstanding" about if the president-elect is violating the Constitution.

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats — led by Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinTrump officials brief lawmakers on North Korea Blackwater founder calls for military contractors in Afghanistan Tillerson moves to eliminate special envoy posts at State Dept.: report MORE (D-Md.) — introduced a resolution Tuesday that would give Senate approval to request that Trump put his assets in "simple, conflict-free holdings" and blind trusts managed by an independent trustee. 
 
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The Democrat senators argue in the resolution that "the intermingling of the business of the Trump Organization and the work of government has the potential to constitute the foreign corruption so feared by the Founding Fathers and betray the trust of America’s citizens."

"The intent of this resolution is to prevent any potential misunderstanding or crisis with regards to whether the actions of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States will violate" the Constitution or federal laws, the Democrats add.

Under the resolution, if Trump doesn't convert his assets — or take an equivalent step — Congress would consider any transactions between Trump-owned companies and foreign governments as potential violations of the Constitution. 
 
“The American public has a right to know that the President of the United States is acting in their best interest," Cardin said. "Not because he or she has received some benefit or gift from a foreign government like Russia or China or any other foreign governmental entity." 
 
He added that introducing the resolution before Trump takes office sends "a clear message to the president-elect that there is ample time to take appropriate action and avoid any potential conflict with the Constitution.”
 
Democrats argue Trump not moving his assets into a blind trust could violate Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, which states: "No Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
 
The resolution also urges Trump "not to use the powers or opportunities of his position as President-elect or President of the United States for any purpose related to the Trump Organization." 
 
Trump's business ties have rankled Democrats for months, and watchdog groups separately raised concerns over the setup to The Washington Post because the eldest Trump children, who Trump has said will take over his business, are also part of their father's transition team. 
 
But with Republicans controlling both chambers it's unlikely the resolution will be taken up by the end of the year.
  
Trump downplayed concerns about his business ties during a meeting with The New York Times last week. 
 
"The law's totally on my side, the president can't have a conflict of interest,” he told the Times, according to a reporter in the meeting. 
 
But he also suggested that he has no plans to liquidate his assets and place them in a blind trust — as has been typically recommended of past presidents by ethics experts — because of his real estate investments.