TRUMP: 'I will be leaving my great business in total'

President-elect Donald Trump announced on Twitter early Wednesday morning that he would leave his business “in total” to avoid conflict of interests and “fully focus on running the country.”

“The Presidency is a far more important task!” Trump tweeted.

He added that legal documents were being drafted that would remove him “completely” from business operations.

Trump, the chairman and president of the Trump Organisation, said he would discuss the move at a December 15 press conference in New York City with his children, to whom he has said he plans to leave control of his business.

At various points along the campaign trail, Trump had said his business would be controlled by his children in what he said was a “blind trust,” even though that constitutes an independent manager who typically is not someone as closely tied to the holder as his or her children.

The Trump Organisation includes a portfolio of real estate, hotels, and golf courses, as well as other investments.

Trump’s ability to separate his business ties from the presidency has come under scrutiny throughout the transition process. His daughter Ivanka, who stands to be a leader in taking over his company, sat in on a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week and was on a congratulatory phone call between the president-elect and Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

Trump also met in his Trump Tower office with three Indian business partners who are building a Trump-branded apartment complex near Mumbai. The three men posed with Trump in a picture posted to Twitter.

According to a recent Washington Post story, at least 111 separate Trump companies have conducted business in 18 countries across South America, the Middle East, and Asia.

Pointing specifically to a Trump Towers project in Istanbul, something Trump at one point said could present “a little conflict of interest,” The Post wrote that “policy and ethics experts are scrambling to assess the potential dangers of public rule by a leader with a vast web of private business deals.”

Yet as recently as last week, it was unclear as to how Trump would go about navigating the situation. In an interview with The New York Times, he said that “in theory” he could run both his company and the country “perfectly” because the president is exempt from some conflict-of-interest rules. But he said he would nevertheless phase out his role in his organisation.

“My company’s so unimportant to me relative to what I’m doing,” he said.

Allan Smith contributed reporting.

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