The bulk of real-estate transactions made by President Trump’s businesses since he won the Republican nomination for president have involved sales to shell companies with unknown owners, a report revealed late Tuesday. An analysis by USA Today of every property deal by Trump’s companies since his nomination shows a huge spike in the number of shell companies that made purchases, with 70 percent of purchases made by limited liability companies since Trump won his party’s presidential nomination—compared to a mere 4 percent in the two years prior. Limited liability companies are known for allowing for the owners’ identities to be obscured. According to the report, Trump’s businesses have sold 28 of 430 properties since Election Day, with $33 million in profits. Although the funds go into a trust managed by his eldest sons, Trump, as the sole beneficiary, can withdraw the funds whenever he wants. The report raises new questions about whether the president has really separated his business interests from his role in the White House, as he has promised to do. The news comes as nearly 200 Democratic lawmakers said early Wednesday they were preparing to file a lawsuit alleging the president has violated the constitutional emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from accepting payments from foreign governments. The attorneys general in D.C. and Maryland took legal action over the same issue this week.
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