Mar 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump failed to follow the law on foreign gifts, House Democrats say

Former President Trump speaks at CPAC. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Former President Trump and his family failed to follow the law by not reporting hundreds of foreign gifts during their time at the White House, House Democrats said in a new report released Friday.

Why it matters: According to the report, Trump's failure to disclose these gifts "raises new questions about whether these and other gifts may have been used by foreign governments to influence U.S. policy under President Trump," the report said.

  • It raises questions about why "Trump failed to disclose these gifts to the public, as required by law," the report said.

Driving the news: The 15-page report, released by the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability on Friday, said that Trump's White House failed to properly document more than 100 gifts valued at more than $150,000 that the former president had received.

  • Trump and his family received 117 foreign gifts totaling $291,000 that went unreported, according to the report.

Zoom in: The National Archives have no records of two sets of gifts from foreign officials, including a $3,040 driver and a $460 putter given to Trump from Shinzo Abe, then-prime minister of Japan, the report said.

  • There are also no records of the "larger-than-life-sized painting” of Trump given by El Salvador President Nayib Bukele, according to the report.
  • Records obtained by the committee showed that the Trump administration and the White House Gift Office requested that the NARA transfer some foreign gifts back from the NARA to the White House, according to the report.
  • One of those gifts — which remains unknown — was sent from Egypt to Jared Kushner.

Flashback: The 15-page report from the House Oversight Committee comes after nearly a year-long investigation into foreign gifts received by Trump.

  • In a letter in June of last year, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), alleged Trump failed to report gifts that Trump received from foreign governments.

The big picture: Like other federal employees, the president is prohibited from receiving personal gifts from foreign officials and governments without Congressional consent, Axios' Jacob Knutson notes.

  • Such gifts are considered property of the United States government and are then handled by the National Archives once they are reported to the State Department.

What's next: The committee said in its report it will assess whether legislative reforms are needed to make sure that foreign gifts records are preserved and made available to the public.

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