Trump aide dodges questions about business dealings

Trump aide dodges questions about business dealings
© Greg Nash

A Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE spokesman on Tuesday dodged questions about the president-elect’s business dealings and potential conflicts of interest as he gears up to take office next year.

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Asked by a reporter on a daily transition call whether Trump plans to fulfill his campaign promise to step back from his businesses, Jason Miller demurred.

“I’ll go ahead and let the president-elect speak for that directly,” he said.

Asked by another journalst about reports that Trump has discussed his businesses while talking with foreign leaders, Miller slammed the report that Trump used a congratulatory call from Argentine President Mauricio Macri to talk about a business project in the country, noting both sides have denied it.

He quickly pivoted to the transition effort to help Trump prepare for his inauguration in January. 

“We’re continuing to work through the transition process and we’ll do our best to go get you updates as that moves along,” Miller said. “We don’t have anything additional to add right at this time.”

Trump is facing scrutiny over the handling of his businesses as he also deals with the presidential transition process. His advisers have said his adult children will run the business separately from Trump, but they are part of the transition team and have sat in on meetings with visiting leaders.

In addition to the report about the call, several other reports have emerged that highlight instances of possible conflicts of interest.

Over the weekend, Trump and his children reportedly met with three Indian business partners at Trump Tower about a new Trump-branded luxury apartment south of Mumbai. 

And a Washington Post report on Tuesday found that the Trump Foundation admitted to “self-dealing” and transferring "income or assets to a disqualified person” on its 2015 tax form.

During the Tuesday call, Miller said there’s currently no scheduled press conferences following Thanksgiving, but said the team will keep reporters updated about any upcoming plans. Trump hasn’t held a press conference since winning the White House, and his last one was on July 27.

Miller also announced Trump's Tuesday schedule. The president-elect is meeting with Seema Verma, founder and CEO of SVP Inc., a health policy consulting firm; retiring Rep. Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisLiz Cheney leads GOP field by 20 points in potential Wyoming Senate race: poll Liz Cheney and Rand Paul extend war of words Pressure rises on Cheney to make decision MORE (R-Wyo.); and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. He will also discuss the transition effort with Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePublic impeachment hearings enter second week Trump attacks Pence aide who called Ukraine call 'inappropriate' Top Pence aide told lawmakers Trump's Ukraine call was 'inappropriate' in closed-door testimony MORE.

Republican National Committee chief strategist Sean Spicer said the president-elect has held nearly 60 meetings during the transition process. 

Before departing for his Florida hotel Mar-a-Lago for Thanksgiving, Trump will also meet with the New York Times on Tuesday. He abruptly canceled the meeting early Tuesday in a tweet, but both sides said it is now back on. The meeting will also include an on-the-record session with reporters and columnists.