When Rex Tillerson is confirmed as our new Secretary of State, he'll have quite a problem on his hands, thanks to Donald Trump's conflicts of interest.
A new Kurt Eichenwald investigative report for Newsweek was previewed by Rachel Maddow. As she highlights, Turkey has already figured out how to leverage Trump's conflicts of interest for their own gain.
It begins with a phone call. “The day after our presidential election in this country, one of the world leaders who called up Trump tower and spoke with the president-elect was the president of Turkey."
She continued, “While Donald Trump was on the phone taking that congratulatory phone call from the president of Turkey, in that same call, Mr. Trump brought up to the president of Turkey by name that executive from the Doğan company, the guy who was the key guy on Trump’s big twin towers in Istanbul.”
So far, so good. Now cut to the chase.
Maddow continued, “Now Newsweek reports that Turkey has figured out how to turn that to their advantage and how to put the president of the United States over a barrel in the process."
How? Here is where we remember that Trump was effusive about these executives to Erdogan, tipping Turkey off that they could be of use to the government, who desperately wants the United States to extradite Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania and runs a charter school outfit here in the United States. The Obama administration has said they will not extradite him to Turkey.
But now, Turkey has leverage, as Maddow explains. "But if that’s what you wanted, what if you could squeeze the personal financial interests of the American president as a way to get what you want from the American government?”
Here's the answer. “I mean, the Trump family and the president-elect themselves, they stand to make millions of dollars from their relationship with the Doğan group in Turkey. That will stop if they get locked up. So they started locking them up. Nice leverage, right? it would be one thing if it was business leverage — but it’s leverage against all of us as Americans.”
Read the full Eichenwald story here. And this is just the beginning of what is sure to be many, many international conflicts simply because the new President of the United States also happens to be a guy with business interests all over the world. How can he possibly be effective?
I guess that's one for Rex Tillerson to figure out. Or hey! Maybe Erdogan's new pal Vladimir Putin can help mediate?