Speed Reads


Trump tweaked his trust so he can draw money from his businesses at any time without disclosing it

President Trump has boasted about the lengths he has gone to in order to distance himself from his business empire upon entering the White House, but ProPublica writes that a previously unreported tweak to a trust document means the president is far closer with his organization than was previously believed. The updated language allows for Trump to "draw money from his more than 400 businesses, at any time, without disclosing it," ProPublica reports.

"It's incredibly broad language," remarked family estate and trust attorney Frederick J. Tansill. The clause was added via a document signed Feb. 10, which states that the trust "shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request," including everything from profits to an actual business itself.

ProPublica adds:

Taking profits regularly could benefit Trump in a variety of ways. It would give the president yet more details on the ongoing finances of his businesses. Trump's son Eric recently told Forbes he plans to update his father on the company regularly, though the revised trust document states that the trustees "shall not provide any report to Donald J. Trump on the holdings and sources of income of the Trust."

Trump could also simply find the income helpful, even as president. The trust document shows that Trump has "broad rights to the trust principal and income to support him as necessary," Tansill said. [ProPublica]

Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller said in a statement: "President Trump believed it was important to create multiple layers of approval for major actions and key business decisions." Read more about the amendment to Trump's trust at ProPublica and read Jeff Spross' analysis of the massive conflicts of interest in Trump's business empire at The Week.