Dem: More disclosure needed on Trump’s business ‘empire’

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) called on President Trump Wednesday to disclose more information about his business dealings abroad, questioning how the public can be sure the president’s foreign policy decisions are not influenced by his overseas business interests.

“The president has [a] far-flung empire of 500 companies doing business in 20 different countries, and we really have no knowledge because he has failed to disclose about all of those business operations,” Blumenthal said on CNN’s “New Day.”

Blumenthal and dozens of other Democratic lawmakers are reportedly filing a lawsuit against Trump sometime next week, according to Politico. They allege that the president's business interests abroad have created conflicts of interest, violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. 

The emoluments clause states that "no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, 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."

After taking office, Trump handed over the reins of the Trump Organization to his two adult sons, but some critics say he has not done enough to separate his presidency from his business interests. 

Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers can’t agree to “what we don’t know” about Trump's dealings.

“He has a duty at the very least to disclose what those deals and payments and benefits are so the American people know he is putting our interests first and not his business interests. At the very least, he has to disclose what those business payments are,” he said, citing the president’s overseas business interests with Saudi Arabia, China, India, and Russia. 

The Democratic senator said the “American people deserve to know” whether his actions overseas are influenced by his business deals. 

“And the American people deserve to know whether when he praises Turkey or the Philippines leaders — he’s doing it because it is in our interest or because he has business deals there,” the Connecticut senator said in part. “We know about those deals and other deals around the world, where potentially he could be sending arms to Saudi Arabia or other kinds of diplomatic relationships that otherwise he wouldn’t engage in and otherwise maybe not be in our interest.”

Blumenthal said it is lawmakers’ “role and responsibility” to enforce the constitution.