Two House committees are investigating President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other administration officials for possibly violating the Constitution's emoluments clause when Pence stayed at Trump's golf resort in Ireland.
The Democratic lawmakers are also probing whether Trump's continued promotion of a possible G7 summit location next year at his Trump National Doral resort near Miami would violate the emoluments clause.
On his trip this week to Ireland, Pence stayed overnight at Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg — 180 miles from Dublin, where the vice president later met with Irish officials.
Chairmen Elijah Cummings and Jerrold Nadler of the House Oversight and Reform and the Judiciary committees, respectively, sent letters to the White House, vice president, Secret Service, and the Trump Organization on Friday demanding answers about why Pence stayed so far away, at taxpayers’ expense, in one of Trump’s properties.
“The Committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies,” Cummings wrote in one of the letters.
The chairmen implied that the White House’s response to the letters could have implications on the Judiciary panel's deliberations on whether to bring articles of impeachment against the president.
“Potential violations of the Foreign and Domestic Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution are of grave concern to the Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” the chairmen wrote.
They also asked in their letters about Trump’s repeated pitches — publicly and in meetings with foreign leaders — to hold the next G7 meeting at his Trump National Doral resort near Miami, which they allege could also constitute emoluments violations.
“Doral happens to be ... only five minutes from the airport, the airport’s right next door,” Trump told reporters of his resort and possibly holding the next G7 meeting there.
“We have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows, they each hold from 50 to 70 rooms, they have magnificent views,” he said. “And what we have also is Miami.”
The White House declined to comment on the chairmen’s letters.
The State Department allowed seven foreign governments to rent luxury condos in Trump Tower in New York in 2017 without receiving consent from lawmakers, Reuters reported earlier this year. Democrats have argued that Congress must approve such transactions between foreign governments and a president's personal businesses.
Nadler, Cummings, and Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, another co-signer of the letters, suggested that a potential G7 summit at Doral would escalate a trend of foreign governments spending official resources at Trump's properties because the spending by foreign governments would not be voluntary.
“The Doral situation reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to spend foreign government funds at President Trump’s private businesses in order to engage in official diplomatic negotiations and meetings with the United States,” Nadler and Cohen wrote.
The Democrats have given the White House a Sept. 19 deadline to respond to their letters.
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