Jun 7, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House Oversight opens investigation into Trump's foreign gifts

Former President Trump speaking in Casper, Wyoming, in May 2022.

Photo: Chet Strange/Getty Images

The House Oversight Committee opened a new investigation into foreign gifts received by former President Trump during his final year in office, according to a letter the committee sent to the National Archives on Monday.

Why it matters: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who chairs the committee, alleged in the letter that the Trump administration failed to report gifts that the former president received from foreign governments based on information provided by the Department of State to the committee.

  • Like all federal officers and employees, the president is prohibited from receiving personal gifts from foreign governments and foreign officials without the consent of Congress.
  • Such gifts, however, are considered property of the U.S. government and are handled by the National Archives after they are reported to the State Department by the Executive Office of the President.

What they're saying: "As a result, the foreign sources and monetary value of gifts President Trump received remain unknown," Maloney wrote in the letter.

  • "The Committee has also learned that the Trump Administration mismanaged gifts from foreign sources during President Trump’s term and left the State Department’s gift vault in 'complete disarray,'" she added.
  • "These revelations raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments, which may have put the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States at risk, and about possible violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from obtaining benefits from foreign entities while in office."

The big picture: The committee requested information from the archives related to foreign gifts Trump or his family members received throughout his term.

  • The committee, citing public records, alleged that Trump accepted multiple gifts from foreign sources in 2020 that did not appear on a public list compiled by the State Department.
  • These allegedly include a bust of Mahatma Gandhi that he received during a trip to India, a Louis Vuitton golf bag and photographs from French President Emmanuel Macron, and a gold-framed portrait of himself from the Prime Minister of Vietnam, according to the letter.

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