Donald Trump could face impeachment if he fails to declare conflicts of interest between his new presidential role and his business empire under a new bill introduced by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Questions have arisen around how the President-elect intends to handle his interests once he takes office, and Mr Trump has said his companies will be controlled by his adult children. However, some of them have been part of his presidential transition team and joined meetings with foreign leaders.
Mr Trump was due to elaborate on his plans for his businesses this week, but his announcement was pushed back until January.
Senator Warren’s bill seeks to make any conflict of interest by Mr Trump an impeachable offense.
Set to be introduced in January by Ms Warren and a group of Democratic senators, the bill will invoke the little-known Emoluments Clause of the constitution, which forbids the President from accepting gifts or favors from foreign actors.
Under Article I, Section 9 of the constitution, the President is forbidden from “accept[ing] any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”
The senator said that “experts have concluded that ‘[c]orporations owned or controlled by a foreign government are presumptively foreign states under the Emoluments Clause.’
“The American people deserve to know that the President of the United States is working to do what’s best for the country – not using his office to do what’s best for himself and his businesses,” said Senator Warren. “The only way for President-elect Trump to truly eliminate conflicts-of-interest is to divest his financial interests and place them in a blind trust. This has been the standard for previous presidents, and our bill makes clear the continuing expectation that President-elect Trump do the same.”
Mr Trump’s international business network has ties to global financiers and foreign officials from countries around the globe, including China, Libya, and Turkey.
However, the legislation will face an uphill battle to be passed in both Congress and the Senate, both of which are controlled by his Republican Party.