House Democrats discover ‘stunning web’ of foreign money to Trump during presidency


Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have unearthed a “stunning” web of at least $7 million in payments from foreign governments directly into the coffers of then-President Donald Trump after a years-long inquiry.

The committee’s findings, detailed in a newly released staff report, are based on documents obtained by the panel before Republicans took control of the House last year, effectively ending the investigation into whether Mr Trump illegally accepted payments from foreign governments in violation of the US Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.

As per the report, Democrats on the committee discovered “millions of dollars in payments made by foreign governments and their agents directly to Trump-owned businesses” during his presidency, including the Washington, DC hotel Mr. Trump maintained just blocks from the White House.

Foreign governments also made payments to Mr Trump’s Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas, his Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in New York, and his eponymous Manhattan skyscraper, Trump Tower.

According to the report, the payments totaled $7.8 million over only two of his four years in office, and came at a time when foreign governments such as China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others were “promoting specific foreign policy goals with the Trump Administration and, at times, with President Trump himself, and as they were requesting specific actions from the United States to advance their own national policy objectives.”

The report details payments sent straight to the then president’s coffers from the following foreign countries, among others.”

  • China has contributed $5.6 million to Trump Tower, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, and the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas.

House Democrats discover ‘stunning web’ of foreign money to Trump during presidency

  • Saudi Arabia donated $615,422 to the Trump World Tower and Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
  • Qatar sent $465,744 to Trump World Tower.
  • $303,372 from Kuwait to the Trump World Tower and Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
  • From India, $282,764 was sent to the Trump World Tower and Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
  • $248,962 from Malaysia to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.
  • $154,750 from Afghanistan to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC

Ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, Jamie Raskin, said in a statement that the records in question, obtained from Mr Trump’s former accounting firm Mazars USA, showed what was most likely “just a small fraction of the payments former President Trump received from foreign governments while in office, in violation of the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause.”

He also stated that the panel discovered that the then-president received money from 19 foreign nations based on two years of data collected by the panel prior to Republicans taking control of the lower chamber.

“After promising ‘the greatest infomercial in political history,’ former President Donald Trump repeatedly and willfully violated the US Constitution by failing to divest from his business empire and allowing his businesses to accept millions of dollars in payments from some of the most corrupt nations on earth,” he said.

“The countries that made these payments expected specific foreign policy outcomes from President Trump and his administration.” “Every dollar accepted by former President Trump violated the Constitution’s strict prohibition on receiving payments from foreign governments, which the Founders enacted to prevent presidents from selling out US foreign policy to foreign leaders,” he continued.

The Maryland Democrat also blasted his Republican colleagues on the panel, led by Kentucky Chairman James Comer, for “burying any further evidence of the Trump family’s staggering corruption” by abandoning efforts to force Mazars to comply with a subpoena issued when Democrats controlled the chamber during Mr. Trump’s term.

“Despite these efforts, today’s report shows that former President Trump prioritized cash from foreign governments seeking policy favors over the interests of the American people.” By hiding the proof of Trump’s swindle, House Republicans shamelessly condone former President Trump’s prior behavior and open the door for future presidents to exploit greater office,” he stated.

The House Democrats’ report appears to be the final act in a long-running battle over Mr. Trump’s vast business interests, which began just days before his inauguration in 2017 when the then-president-elect refused to divest from the eponymous real estate and branding empire he’d built over decades.

House Democrats discover ‘stunning web’ of foreign money to Trump during presidency

Rather than putting his assets in a blind trust, Mr. Trump gave management to his adult sons, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr, who declared that the Trump Organization would not get into any “new” foreign business ventures during their father’s presidency.

When Democrats retook the House halfway through Mr. Trump’s term, they launched an investigation into whether Mr. Trump’s ownership of his businesses, particularly the Washington, DC hotel, violated a provision of the US Constitution that prohibits presidents and their families from accepting anything of value from other governments, including foreign and state governments.

Mr Raskin, the oversight committee’s current ranking member, told reporters on Thursday that the committee’s work was the end of a process that began with the late Maryland Representative Elijah Cummings, who served as the oversight committee’s top Democrat when Mr Trump was elected in 2016.

“When Donald Trump was elected, Cummings sensed immediately that there was going to be a problem with a president bringing more than 500 businesses into office with them and refusing to divest himself of any of the businesses, or even putting them into a blind trust,” he told CNN.

That was shocking and ethically dicey enough, but Cummings also took note of the fact that Trump said he would not agree to not engage in business with foreign governments … that presented an immediate prospective offense to the Constitution in Article One, Section nine, clause eight, the foreign government Emoluments Clause,” he went on to say.

The investigation, which began under Cummings, lasted through Mr Trump’s final two years in office, and when the panel moved to demand data from Mr Trump’s accountants, he filed a lawsuit to halt the request. The subsequent litigation eventually found its way to the Supreme Court, which concluded in Trump v Mazars that the House panel may subpoena the then-president’s private business papers.

Mr Raskin, the committee’s current ranking Democrat, said Mr. Trump’s violations of the foreign emoluments clause were unprecedented in the nearly 250-year history of the American presidency, citing efforts by his predecessors to strictly adhere to the constitutional provision at issue.

“There are no kings, princes, or nobles in the United States.” Furthermore, no one holding a profit or trust position under the United States shall collect an emolument from any prince, king, or foreign authority… an emolument, which means a payment, an office, or title of any kind, whatever. “It is a categorical prohibition,” he stated.

“No president has ever come close to doing what Donald Trump did, in receiving money from foreign princes, kings, and governments”.

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