'Serious concerns': Top government ethics official wants to investigate Trump business deals -- but is blocked by Republicans
Donald Trump during CNN debate (Photo: Screen capture via video)

The top ethics official for the United States government says President Donald Trump's business dealings in office "raise serious concerns" and that the Office of Government Ethics is unable to investigate.


The acting director and general counsel at the ethics office, David Apol, wrote a letter responding to more than 60 Democrats to explain the predicament, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

At issue is a billion-dollar Trump Organization development in Indonesia, that the Chinese government reportedly is backing with a $500 million investment. Days after the investment was announced, President Trump reversed course against the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE.

"At the outset, I agree that the information cited in your letter raises serious concerns," the Office of Government Ethics wrote. "It is essential to the success of our republic that citizens can trust that the decisions made by government leaders are motivated by the public good and not by personal interests."

The letter notes that, "Congress has left no doubt that the primary criminal conflict of interest statute is inapplicable to the President."

The ethics watchdog argued that "under the Constitution, the primary authority to oversee the President's ethics rests with Congress and ultimately, with the American people."