A couple of months ago, a few of us from ProPublica and WNYC sat together in a conference room and started scribbling on a whiteboard. We were brainstorming all the possible paths to investigate around President Donald Trump and his family businesses.
It looked like Carrie Mathison’s wall. There’s so much that’s still unknown. We don’t know if the president is taking money from his businesses, or what deals are happening, or who his partners are, who’s providing the financing. It goes on and on.
We were sitting there, frustrated, staring at the whiteboard filled with basic, unanswered questions. Then it occurred to us. That is the story.
More than a year into Trump’s presidency, we still have no way to know whether he is making decisions that place his company’s interests — and profits — ahead of the country’s.
There’s never been a situation like this before, where the person elected to lead our country has declined to divest and still owns a sprawling, active business empire.
So we’re trying something new: ProPublica and WNYC are teaming up to launch “Trump, Inc.” It’s a weekly podcast that will start with questions, not answers.
We’re thinking of it as an “open investigation.” We’ll be laying out what we know and what we don’t. And we’re inviting everyone — our journalism colleagues elsewhere, experts, tipsters and anyone else interested — to join us in the quest for answers.
In our first episode, we take a breath, roll back a year, and lay out how we got to this point, where it’s almost impossible to see the line between Trump the president and Trump the CEO.
The president has spent a third of his time at properties he owns. He has promoted his winery in Virginia during a press conference about the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has plugged his New Jersey golf resort during an official speech in South Korea. And his daughter and son have had nearly simultaneous business in India: one official, one private.
We’re trying to make sense of it all. And we want to hear from you: We’re always eager for tips. We also want to hear your questions. What would you like to know about Trump’s businesses? What confuses you? We may be able to answer. And if not, we’ll explain that too.
You can contact us via Signal, WhatsApp or voicemail at 347-244-2134. Here’s more about how you can contact us securely.
You can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally, you can use the postal service:
Trump Inc at ProPublica
155 Ave of the Americas, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10013