When the president declined to financially detach himself from his businesses upon taking office, spitting in the face of decades of precedent, Americans knew we were in for a bumpy ride. An array of conflicts of interest ensnare the president, including issues like that posed by the existence of his D.C. hotel, which is poised to be used by people of social and political interests seeking to gain favor with the nation’s chief executive.
Trump administration conflicts of interest do not end, however, with the president himself. It’s now come out that a man with business ties to Donald Trump, Jr. has enjoyed access to White House officials during the time that Donald Trump has been in office.
The Associated Press reports that Gentry Beach, who participated in a previously reported upon meeting with the National Security Council over U.S. policy on Venezuela last year, has a business relationship with Trump, Jr. and that the two of them having apparently formed a company together last year.
That company is known as Future Venture LLC and although Beach did not initially list Trump Jr. in any official capacity on company paperwork or disclosure forms, papers filed by the LLC in New York and obtained by the AP list Trump Jr. as the president, secretary and treasurer of the company. The Trump Organization said that the purpose of the LLC is “to pursue technology investments.”
Other business connections of Trump Jr. to Beach include him having put “$200,000 in a dry Texas oil well managed by Beach’s father and an undisclosed amount in a failed mining stock affiliated with Beach’s uncle.”
All of these revelations come “despite past claims from both men that they were just friends,” in the description of the AP.
Beach, for his part, proved to be a fundraising powerhouse for the elder Trump’s presidential campaign, having helped raise millions of dollars, and he claims that the relationships that he developed during that process — and not his relationship with Trump Jr. — are what he used to gain access to the White House.
The first major instance of him having access to the White House came in February of last year, when he sat down alongside an Iraqi-American businessman with NSC officials to discuss a plan to ease sanctions on Venezuela in order to open up opportunities for American companies. The AP reports that according to a former U.S. official, experts were told to accept the meeting “because Beach and the businessman were friends of Trump, Jr.”
Seven months after sitting down with NSC officials to offer an eventually rejected plan, Beach attended a private lunch including Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Republican donors.
The White House insisted in response to scrutiny that Trump, Jr. had never played any formal role in setting up meetings at the White House. Even still, this issue is hardly the first time that concerns have been raised about business connections affecting the White House.
The New York Times recently came out with a report, for instance, stating that Jared Kushner had met with the heads of firms that eventually gave large loans to his family business.
These issues would be more publicly clear if the White House chose to stick with precedent and make its visitor logs publicly available.
In conjunction to these issues, the Trump White House continues to face questions about possible connections to Russian interests, including in the financial sector.
Former Trump campaign official Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates have already been revealed to have carried on with a massive money laundering scheme in connection to work for overseas pro-Russian political interests.
The president, of course, has maintained his innocence throughout all of this.
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