People have wondered about why Donald Trump has been so pleasant to tyrants around the world. The most obvious examples are Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman. Now, Maryland and Washington attorneys general have armed themselves with subpoenas approved by a federal judge, and everyone will find out how the president has profited or potentially profited personally.
These officials will gain access to Trump’s personal trust, the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, and The Trump Organization to find all financial records. They will also obtain answers to whether POTUS made money from both this government and foreign countries. The Trumps own an empire consisting of shadow or pass-through organizations and numerous real estate interests, among others, according to The Bloomberg News.
Last summer, the man currently sitting in the Oval Office warned Robert Mueller not to cross the red line that stood between the special counsel and his family’s financial matters. Trump said, according to Vanity Fair last winter:
‘I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.’
Apparently, Mueller seemed to believe that the Trump finances were connected to the Russians, because the special counsel began looking into the president’s finances the day after the red-line ultimatum was issued. Mueller has been investigating Russia’s attack on the 2016 presidential election and conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The judge agreed to a schedule for both sides to trade documents after the states’ two attorneys general brought a lawsuit against the president. They claimed that Trump’s luxury hotel, just blocks from the White House, was a setup for violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prevent the president from profiting during his tenure. Anyone who stayed in Trump’s luxury hotel over another D.C. hotel might think this would help them gain access to the president or benefit from his or her stay.
In this wide-ranging lawsuit, over 30 companies and federal agencies are to be subpoenaed. Government officials will also look at competing hotels’ records for a comparison. The attorneys general will be searching not only Trump’s competitors, but also local restaurants and event spaces in the D.C. greater metropolitan area to see whether their profits dipped after the president opened his hotel and by how much.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) told U.S. District Judge Messitte they wanted to ask an appeals court in Richmond, Virginia to let them appeal and freeze the evidence-collecting process as it continued.
The U.S. departments of Commerce, Treasury, and Defense were included in the subpoenas, along with Maine. It was not immediately clear why Maine was involved.
Trump’s longtime personal attorney and self-described “fixer” entered into a plea agreement for lying to the federal officials with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. That left the special counsel with a treasure-trove of information about Trump’s finances and business contacts.
Among Cohen’s information, was the news that the commander-in-chief worked to develop a long dreamed of real estate project, a Moscow Trump Tower. Then-candidate Trump was still working toward that project, even after the 2016 Iowa primary.
The president’s troubles do not end with these issues. New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood won a judge’s agreement to let her progress with her lawsuit against Trump and his three eldest children. It appears that all of them have been using the trust as a piggy bank to fund private and political interests.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.