Trump's Children Playing Prominent Role in Transition

Trump's son, Donald Jr. helped pick the interior secretary, a source says.

December 14, 2016, 10:21 PM

— -- Donald Trump's adult children have been playing a prominent role in the transition process and the formation of his administration -- even as the president-elect says he's preparing to hand over control of his businesses to his sons.

The Trump transition team has defended the role of Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump as official members of the executive committee and say they've been transparent about it from the start, even as critics say it highlights potential for conflicts of interest.

Today, Trump's adult sons -- along with daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner -- attended a tech summit at Trump Tower with Silicon Valley leaders.

Trump Jr. was involved in the selection of Trump's pick for interior secretary, according to a source familiar with the discussions.

He made phone calls to multiple candidates and participated in interviews with the candidates and his father, according to the source.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner attended Trump's meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump Tower last month -- his first with a sitting head of state as president-elect. The meeting came as Trump's daughter reportedly neared a licensing deal with a Japanese company.

She also spoke with Argentine President Mauricio Macri when he called to congratulate Trump on his victory.

The transition pushed back forcefully on a report Wednesday that Ivanka Trump will receive office space in the East Wing of the White House.

"This is false," Trump transition spokeswoman Hope Hicks told ABC News. "No decisions regarding Ivanka's involvement have been made."

The Trump transition has defended the Trump family's role in the transition process.

"We've announced that right from the beginning. And so, it only makes sense if a transition team member was active in the process," transition spokesman Jason Miller said on a call with reporters Wednesday morning.

The president-elect also postponed a news conference where he was set to announce plans for separating himself from his businesses interests -- which present an unprecedented potential for conflicts-of-interest when he takes office.

He tweeted that he would leave his businesses to his sons and executives before the inauguration.

Ethics experts have called on Trump to liquidate his assets and put them in a blind trust. While it is not required by law, every president since President Jimmy Carter has done so.

"The President-elect has been focused on putting a team in place to enact real change starting on day one," a transition spokesman said in a statement. "With so many iconic properties and successful entities, moving the announcement to January ensures the legal team has ample time to implement the proper protocols so his sole focus will remain on the country and achieving his ambitious agenda with the help of the world-class cabinet he has built."

Richard Painter, who served as a White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush and has called on Trump to form a "true" blind trust, said Trump's stated plan "makes no sense."

ABC's Lauren Pearle contributed to this report.

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