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ACLU files legal request demanding details on Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest

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The American Civil Liberties Union filed a legal request with several government agencies on Thursday demanding details on Donald Trump’s potential conflicts of interest related to the extensive business affairs of the incoming U.S. president and his family.

The request, made under the Freedom of Information Act, demands that the agencies to turn over documents that shed light on any of Trump’s actual or potential conflicts of interest and seeks details concerning regulations on divestment of financial interests and prohibitions on nepotism.

The request on the eve of his inauguration marked the first salvo in what promises to be a contentious relationship between the rights group and Trump.

“We have serious concerns that Donald Trump will be in violation of the Constitution on Day One,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said in an interview. “He has taken anemic steps to address the real questions around his businesses, his family’s business interests and his role now as president of the United States.”

Trump, a wealthy real estate developer, said on Jan. 11 he would maintain ownership of his global business empire but hand off control to his two oldest sons while president. The Trump Organization will not enter into any new overseas deals, his legal adviser Sheri Dillon said.

Trump raised nepotism concerns by naming his daughter Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner, to a senior advisory role in the White House.

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The ACLU’s legal request demands emails, legal opinions, memos and other communications drafted since Nov. 9, the day after Trump was elected, from agencies including the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and the General Services Administration. It also seeks all communications to and from the presidential transition team.

The ACLU vowed an aggressive posture toward the new Trump administration, committing to hire an extra 100 employees to mount possible legal challenges in the areas of abortion and birth control, immigration, government openness, free speech and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

Using a flood of donations made since Election Day, it also said it has created a fund that now stands at $47 million to fight any civil rights violations by the Trump administration.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Fireworks erupt at latest Mueller hearing as chairman Jerry Nadler schools GOP’s Jim Jordan

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A feisty Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) schooled Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) for blatantly misstating facts about the investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

After Jordan went on a lengthy diatribe against the FBI for supposedly relying on the Steele dossier to launch an investigation against the Trump campaign, Nadler jumped in to formally correct the record.

"It is well established that the investigation was not predicated on the Steele dossier, but rather on the observation of..." Nadler began.

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Trump emphatically explains that unmanned drones don’t have people in them as he rambles about Iran’s big ‘mistake’

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During a joint press availability with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Donald Trump opened up about the drone that was shot down by Iran.

According to Trump, drones are unmanned, a fact he felt was important to convey to those who haven't seen a Jason Bourne film or a spy thriller.

"Iran made a big mistake," Trump said. "This drone was in international waters clearly. We have it all documented. It’s documented scientifically, not just words. They made a big mistake."

He also said that he doesn't believe the decision to shoot the drone down likely came from the Iranian government in Tehran.

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BUSTED: Trump super PAC accused of lying to government about the source of mysterious $325,000 donation

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According to a report from the Daily Beast's "Pay Dirt" investigative unit, a Super PAC affiliated with President Donald Trump has some explaining to do about a $375,000 donation that was wrongly attributed to one company -- but wire transfers tell a completely different story.

As the Beast notes, "The super PAC America First Action reported receiving a $325,000 contribution last year from a company called Global Energy Producers. But records released in federal court this week indicate that contribution came from an entirely different company," adding that the discrepancy was pointed out by the  Campaign Legal Center which labeled it a violation of federal campaign-finance laws.

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