How Much Can Trump Really Stay Out of Business? Plus, Pelosi Wins and New Sanctions For North Korea

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Are countries looking for White House favor helping the Trump brand along?
Photo Credit: 
Chicago Tribune

Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he would be leaving his business dealings “in total.” However, he has not said who he will turn these responsibilities over to. He published a series of tweets saying, “While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as President, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses…Hence, legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations. The Presidency is a far more important task!” A press conference is scheduled Dec. 15 to discuss further plans for the Trump business empire. Until then, no information will be released on whether Trump intends to turn over ownership or merely control of his various companies. Already, conflicts are arising with various states hosting events at or fast tracking the construction of Trump real estate. One report from the Huffington Post points to the Argentine president calling to congratulate Trump on his election win, before a Buenos Aires property received the green-light to build. Another incident includes the Embassy of Bahrain’s announcement that it will hold its National Day celebration at the Trump International Hotel in D.C.

Also yesterday, a Russian diplomat told the Washington Post that Donald Trump’s transition team and Moscow were in talks regarding Syria. The diplomat is Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who is responsible for Russian relations in Africa and the Middle East; he refused to name any individuals from the Trump team whom he said Moscow was working with. Vladimir Putin referenced Trump the same day, speaking to a Moscow forum, saying “Now, after the uproar of the U.S. election campaign is over, and soon a new president will arrive at the White House, we would like to believe that a chance will appear to smooth relations, which is important not only for the people of both countries but for ensuring international stability and security.”

Steven Mnuchin and Wilbur Ross held a joint press committee yesterday to confirm that they were being nominated to serve as treasury secretary and commerce secretary, respectively. Both feel confident the Trump administration will be able to boost economic growth by 4 percent per year. Mnuchin also confirmed that “there will be no absolute tax cut for the upper class” and that “there will be a big tax cut for the middle class.” Ross went on to address Trump’s threats of double-digit tariffs on goods shipped from China and Mexico, as well as his threats to pull out of free-trade deals. Ross said that those measures would be a last resort: “Everybody talks about tariffs as the first things. Tariffs are the last thing. Tariffs are a part of the negotiation. The real trick is going to be increase[d] American exports.”

The United Nations Security Council has imposed new sanctions on North Korea. After the fifth and largest nuclear test by Pyongyang in September, the council hopes to cut the country’s export revenue by a quarter. There was a unanimous vote to slash North Korea’s biggest export, coal, by about 60 percent, with a sales cap of $400.9 million or 7.5 million metric tonnes per year, whichever is lower. The sanctions also ban the export of copper, nickel, silver and zinc, as well as the sale of all statues. “In total,” said Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, “this resolution will slash by at least $800 million per year the hard currency that the DPRK has to fund its prohibited weapons programs, which constitutes a full 25 percent of the DPRK’s entire export revenues.”

Nancy Pelosi won the race to lead the Democratic caucus for her eighth term on Wednesday. The announcement comes after House Minority Leader Pelosi was challenged by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), forcing her to scramble to keep her spot, as she began frantically pitching ideas for leadership changes and increased opportunity to junior lawmakers. Despite Pelosi’s win, Ryan still managed to represent the highest margin of rejection Pelosi has ever experienced. Many are disappointed with Pelosi’s continual reign, but do realize her stronghold is coming to an end.

The Food and Drug Administration has agreed to allow the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) proceed with a Phase 3 clinical trial regarding the pairing of ecstasy and Molly with psychotherapy. A Phase 3 clinical trial is the last step before a drug is considered for approval. Currently MAPS is using ecstasy and Molly to treat PTSD, and hopes the drugs could be available for clinical use in 2021. With closely monitored ecstasy and Molly usage paired with psychotherapy, MAPS’ trials have shown 83 percent of participants no longer experienced PTSD two months after treatment begins, and treatment effects last longer than four years.

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