EghtesadOnline: Sixteen U.S. Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday urged hearings be held in Congress on federal conflict-of-interest rules and Republican President-elect Donald Trump's business empire, though Republicans were unlikely to agree to it.
House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Democrats asked its Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte, who controls its agenda, "to examine federal conflicts of interest and ethics provisions that may apply to the President of the United States."
The Democrats' letter to Goodlatte followed Trump's vow on Wednesday to step back from running his business to avoid conflicts of interest, as concern over his dual roles mounts ahead of the Republican's inauguration on Jan. 20, Reuters reported.
Goodlatte's spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment. If the chairman and his fellow Republicans reject the Democrats' request, it is unlikely that a hearing will occur.
Trump, a real estate magnate and former reality television star, wrote on Twitter that he will hold a news conference in New York on Dec. 15 with his children on how he will separate himself "in total" from his worldwide business holdings.
Calling Trump's announcement "vague," the lawmakers told Goodlatte that it raised questions, such as whether Trump will transfer his assets to his children; whether his children will be involved in his administration; and whether businesses, foreign governments, and others will "continue to be able to take actions that benefit Mr. Trump and his family."
Trump said on Wednesday that he is not required by law to alter his relationship with his business, but added: "I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses."
The Democrats said the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service had prepared a list of federal ethics and conflict-of-interest rules that "may and should apply" to the president once he assumes office, including four criminal statutes and a clause in the U.S. Constitution.