SHOCKER: Law Firm Advising Trump On Conflicts Of Interest Has Massive Russian Ties
Is Trump Shushing And Winking At The Russia Question?
President-elect Donald Trump held his first press conference in almost half a year, Wednesday. At his last press conference, on July 27th, 2016, he asked Russia “if you’re listening” to release 30,000 of Hillary Clinton’s emails. On Wednesday, Russia also figured prominently in the press conference, as Trump fought allegations published Tuesday by CNN and Buzzfeed that Russia has compromising material on him.
Related: BREAKING: British Spy Alleges Russia Has ‘Personally And Financially Compromising’ Info On Trump
The press conference was unusual for several reasons. One was the simple fact that an attorney representing the president-elect of the United States spoke at length about how he claims that he plans to distance himself from his business interests while serving in office. Attorney Sheri Dillon of the law firm, Morgan Lewis, detailed the alleged plan to divest. According to the Washington Post‘s transcript, She summarized the plan,
“complete relinquishment of management, no foreign deals, ethics adviser approval of deals, sharply limited information rights”
According to the plan, Trump and his daughter Ivanka will officially no longer be involved with the Trump Organization, but his sons and a long-running executive will run it. Trump and his sons won’t be allowed to discuss it (which seemingly asks the public to take a huge leap of faith), and the Organization will have a new compliance officer. This, Dillon claimed, would “sever” Donald from his Organization.
Following the press conference, Walter Shaub, head of the Office of Government Ethics, blasted the plan, saying that Trump needs to fully divest from his business. Shaub complained that Trump has not communicated with the OGE at all.
But questions were raised about the Dillon and Morgan Lewis as well, as commentators couldn’t help but notice that the law firm that Dillon works for was a ridiculous choice. Morgan Lewis employs almost 2,000 lawyers around the world. One country that they do a great deal of business in, is Russia. The firm’s website says,
“Our Moscow office includes more than 40 lawyers and staff who have been working together for many years. Our lawyers are well known in the Russian market, and have deep familiarity with the local legislation, practices, and key players.”
In 2016, Chamber and Partners, a British publication that reviews the legal industry, gave Morgan Lewis its “Russia Law Firm of the Year” award. In its press release patting itself on the back about the award, Morgan Lewis wrote,
“Morgan Lewis’s Moscow office provides full-service business representation for clients, including advice on corporate and finance matters; mergers and acquisitions; transactional finance; litigation and international arbitration; energy and natural resources projects; real estate property transactions; labor and employment issues; immigration; and a wide range of regulatory matters.”
— Chambers & Partners (@ChambersGuides) April 22, 2016
Trump’s hiring this law firm fits squarely within the pattern of Trump’s public denials about his connections to Russia coinciding with obvious connections via his business and political dealings, appointees and policy priorities. If Trump wanted to conduct business in Russia in conflict with his public office, while claiming that he was “severed” from his business, he chose the perfect law firm to try to pull it off.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
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Marc Belisle is the Reverb Press World Affairs Editor. He is a writer, activist and teacher. He has a Master’s degree in International Conflict Analysis from the Brussels School of International Studies. READ MORE BY MARC.