Although the Russia scandal continues to rage on, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation of the Trump team, there are other issues to be concerned about inside Washington, D.C.
Donald Trump wasn’t elected president after a lifetime of public service; he was elected president after decades of scheming his way around at the top of a real estate company. Through the course of his career, he accumulated numerous business connections to the private world, connections that color his presidency with a peculiar shadow.
One of the president’s financial connections to the private world that he had while running for office is his foundation. That foundation has effectively ceased operations at present, but not before it came out that it was a hotbed of “self-dealing,” which is a process that includes foundation money being used for its leaders’ personal interests.
Now, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee wants to see a subpoena issued to compel the Trump
Foundation to hand over documents that it’s refused to hand over since late 2016, when Rep. Elijah Cummings first sent a letter requesting the materials. The materials cover the extent of the Trump Foundation’s self-dealing.
He outlined what he wants to see happen in a letter to GOP committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, who has, of course, long allied himself with Republican causes. It’s an open question whether Gowdy will pay attention to Cummings’ request, with the two having sparred on issues in the past. For example, earlier this year, Cummings pressed Gowdy to compel the White House to hand over documents outlining the process for granting interim security clearances.
In the time since Cummings raised those concerns, the issue has been at least partially resolved. After it came out that the White House’s Staff Secretary Rob Porter had been being allowed to work in the White House in the face of domestic violence allegations in his background, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reorganized the White House process of granting interim clearances.
In that process, Trump’s son-in-law and unpaid adviser Jared Kushner lost his top secret security clearance.
As for the case of the Trump Foundation’s “self-dealing,” in Cummings’ description, the House Oversight Committee must act.
‘It is the Oversight Committee’s responsibility to determine whether Donald Trump, while he was a candidate for President, illegally aided his campaign or engaged in self-dealing to benefit himself or his family members in violation of federal law.’
There are a number of known examples of “self-dealing” on the part of the Trump Foundation, including a case where the entity spent $20,000 on a large portrait of Trump.
As mentioned, the foundation has effectively ceased operations, but it hasn’t completely disappeared yet because it’s required to stay put for the duration of a currently ongoing investigation by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Schneiderman is no stranger to taking on the president; the Democratic AG has involved himself in at least 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration at this point.
Besides the legal trouble on that front, the president’s team is also facing a lawsuit filed by adult film star Stormy Daniels, who is suing to be formally released from a non-disclosure agreement she signed covering her alleged relationship with the president.
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