Trump’s morass of conflicting interests is slowly but surely dominating coverage of his transition, with Talking Points Memo reporting that the Argentinian journalist Jorge Lanata reported that Donald Trump asked Argentine President Mauricio Macri to approve a building that he and a business partner are building in Buenos Aires.
According to TPM’s translation, Lanata said this: “Macri called him. This still hasn’t emerged but Trump asked for them to authorize a building he’s constructing in Buenos Aires, it wasn’t just a geopolitical chat.” (As an aside, the TPM piece is somewhat suspect because its headline is “Cashing In BIGLY.” Donald Trump does not say “bigly.” He says “big league.”)
A spokesman for Macri denied that Trump asked for the favor, and the controversy quickly became a he said-he said.
The project, according to TPM, has been “held up by a series of complications tied to financing, importation of building materials, and various permitting requirements.” But if Trump does get the permit and did lobby the Argentine president, he could have violated the law, which prevents politicians from self-dealing with foreign governments. (Trump has a long history of self-dealing involving his charity, which has done very little actual charity work.)