“The interests of these businesses, the interests of these politicians, often go directly against the interests of American national security. So right now you have Donald Trump in a situation where he makes money by aiding the people whose interests don’t coincide with America’s,” Newsweek senior writer Kurt Eichenwald told CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota on “New Day,” adding later, “The important thing here is this is an entanglement that can’t be unwound.”
The Newsweek report
raised a series of questions about how Trump would handle the countless conflicts of interests inherent in his overseas business interests.
CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on the report and has not yet received a response.
Trump has said he plans to entrust his business to his children if he is elected president, a move that would only partially distance Trump from his massive corporation and do little to quell questions about influence-peddling and conflicts of interest.
“From what I’m hearing, Trump is planning to say that he will put the company in a blind trust — which is sort of like saying ‘I have 100 million shares of Apple stock and I’m going to put it in a blind trust,'” Eichenwald said. “He would know what’s there, he knows who his partners are and he knows, you know, he will know going forward.”
“Now, in the future, you’re talking about giving money to either the family of the President of the United States or money that will go to the President of the United States if his company is in this, you know, blind trust.”
The report outlines a series of potential conflicts of interests, from Trump’s dealings with businessmen who have been the subject of government investigations in India and Turkey to his ties to powerful Russian oligarchs.
On “New Day,” Eichenwald explained why Turkey would be problematic for the Republican nominee. He said that a failed business deal between Trump and a politically-connected organzation in the country had created potential tension between Trump and the President Recep Erdogan, who had called the deal a “mistake.”
“What I am being told is that Turkey’s cooperation with the United States, in terms of providing an air base where we are able to launch bombers against ISIS would be at risk if Donald Trump was president,” he said.
And where Trump has suggested significant changes to US foreign policy, the Newsweek report magnified some of Trump’s business dealings.
Trump, who has floated the idea of Japan and South Korea obtaining nuclear weapons, maintains an ongoing business relationship with Daewoo Engineering and Construction, according to Newsweek. Daewoo is one of the top South Korean companies involved in nuclear energy projects.
In India, Newsweek raised questions about Trump’s ties to powerful businessmen and political parties in the country, particularly in light of promises from Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., to build “a very aggressive pipeline” there with “exciting new projects” to come.
“If he plays tough with India, will the government assume it has to clear the way for projects in that ‘aggressive pipeline’ and kill the investigations involving Trump’s (Indian business) partners? And if Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America’s strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardize his profits from Trump Towers Pune?” Eichenwald wrote.
Eichenwald also discussed potentially problematic connections between Trump and Russian oligarchs under the political umbrella of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
One such connection comes from a deal in which the GOP nominee attempted to license the Trump name to an organization in Russia. Eichenwald said that “the head of that organization, who, again, very politically connected, very tied in to the Putin government, backed away from the deal because Trump wanted too much money.”
Trump would undoubtedly have the most expansive and complex international business portfolio of any president in US history, which would bring an added layer of scrutiny to nearly every foreign policy decision Trump would make as president.