Sep 6, 2019

House Dems open inquiry into use of tax dollars at Trump properties

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler speaks to reporters July 26. Photo: Caroline Brehman/Getty Images

The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform committees on Thursday sent letters demanding information on "multiple efforts" by the president, vice president and other administration officials to spend taxpayer dollars at properties owned by the Trump Organization, according to the AP.

Why it matters: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a statement that the, "Potential violations of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution are of grave concern to the Committee..." and its members are now weighing whether to recommend articles of impeachment.

Context: The letters came less than a week after Vice President Pence stayed at the Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg, Ireland, though his meeting with Irish officials was 180 miles away in Dublin. Pence's trip followed President Trump's late August proposal to host the 2020 G7 summit at his Miami golf resort, where revenues have dropped since Trump took office.

The big picture: House Democrats are attempting to keep the public tuned into open-ended investigations of Trump and his administration.

  • Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the Judiciary panel, told the AP that they "have been focused on the Mueller report and that is a very small part of the overall picture. We must get America focused on the ongoing violations against basic Constitutional principles.”

Details: In the letter sent to Pence's chief of staff, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings wrote:

"The White House has not made public how much the Vice President's trip cost the American Taxpayer⁠—or benefited the Trump Organization—but based on previous investigations by the Government Accountability Office, the bill could be significant."
"President Trump stayed at his property in Doonbeg in June, which cost the American people an estimated $3.6 million."

Go deeper

Air Force orders stopover review after Scotland Trump resort bookings

Air Force One takes off from Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire, Scotland, as President Trump and First Lady Melania leave Britain in July. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

The U.S. Air Force is reviewing how it selects overnight accommodation locations after reports that air crews had occasionally stayed at President Trump's Scotland resort while refueling, it said in a statement to Politico Sunday night.

Why it matters: The review comes as the Trump administration faces growing criticism for government officials spending taxpayer dollars at Trump properties. Vice President Pence came under fire last week for staying at the Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg during his 2-day trip to Ireland — even though his meeting with officials was 180 miles away in Dublin.

Go deeperArrowSep 9, 2019

WaPo: Pence national security adviser was on Trump-Ukraine phone call

Photo: Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence's national security adviser Keith Kellogg was on the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is now at the heart of House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, the Washington Post reports, citing "current and former U.S. officials."

Why it matters: Pence likely would have been briefed the following day on the details of the phone call, in which Trump asked Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden. The summary of the call, which has since been released by the White House, also likely would have been included in Pence's briefing materials ahead of a Sept. 1 trip to Warsaw in which he met with Zelensky and informed him that the administration had frozen millions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.

Go deeperArrowOct 2, 2019

House Judiciary to hold hearing on potential Trump emoluments violations

Trump National Doral resort in Miami. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday scheduled a hearing for Sept. 23 titled, "Presidential Corruption: Emoluments and Profiting off the Presidency."

The big picture: The hearing is part of the committee's efforts to broaden its impeachment investigation of President Trump to include allegations of corruption that extend beyond the contents of the Mueller report. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced in August that the committee would specifically investigate Trump's proposal to host the 2020 G7 summit at the Trump National Doral resort in Miami, arguing that the president's "personal financial interests are clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities."

Go deeper: Federal appeals court reinstates Trump emoluments case

Keep ReadingArrowSep 17, 2019