Dozens of former high-ranking national security officials released an open letter to Donald Trump via The New York Times this morning (Monday). They asked the GOP presidential nominee to immediately disclose the nature of his overseas business relationships.
Michael J. Morell, a former acting director of the CIA, and Michael G. Vickers, a former undersecretary of defense for intelligence, drafted the memo. Signers include prominent Republicans such as Michael Chertoff, who led the Department of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush, and Paul D. Wolfowitz, Bush's deputy secretary of defense.
The letter points out that Trump has not yet "revealed to the American public his international business relationships, even as it becomes increasingly clear that his overseas ties could well constitute significant conflicts of interest when it comes to charting U.S. foreign policy," reported The New York Times.
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And the officials don't stop at asking Trump to reveal his international business ventures...
They also wish him to divest himself of his overseas business interests entirely, should he win the November election.
Here's a look at Trump's business interests that have national security officials so concerned...
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Open Letter to Donald Trump Follows Newsweek's Damning Exposé
Just last week Money Morning outlined Newsweek's Sept. 14 in-depth exposé on how the Trump Organization could upset national security (you can view that full article here).
From that research, here are two instances in which the Trump brand aligned itself with some questionable foreign characters:
The Trump Organization's "Gadhafi Ties": Trump made several entreaties to the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi - whose 42-year ruthless authoritarian rule includes bizarre horrors like keeping his enemies' bodies stored in a walk-in cooler for 25 years.
Beginning in 2008, the reality star tried to use the Trump brand to cash in on a deal with a sovereign wealth fund called the Libyan Investment Authority.
This deal was kept low-key for the past eight years. But in Newsweek's Sept. 14 article, an anonymous Arab financier and a former businessman from the North African country spilled the beans.
The Trump Organization's "Illicit Indian Connection": Another dubious Trump brand connection involves the Trump Towers Pune in India.
You see, last month the state government and local police there started looking into inconsistencies in the land records associated with Trump's tower construction agreement. Authorities found that the property on which the towers were being built may not have been legally obtained by Trump's Indian developer, Panchshil Realty. The finding implies Trump failed to diligently research who he was dealing with.
These are just two of the five questionable business deals outlined by Newsweek last week.
So today's open letter does not come as much of a surprise.
However, Trump's not the only presidential candidate struggling with suspicious international ties...
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's own business dealings - particularly having to do with the Clinton Foundation - are under fire as well.
Hillary Clinton Has Her Own Brand Issues
In a June speech, Clinton sharply criticized three countries - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait - for "funding extremist organizations." She said that these countries should stop supporting "radical schools and mosques around the world" that expose young people to extremism.
Here's the irony though: The Clinton Foundation has received a whopping $40 million from all three of these countries.
- The New York Times: Letter to Trump Calling for Disclosure of Business Investments