The House Oversight Committee, which is currently led by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), has obtained significant caches of Trump-tied financial records from his longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA. The materials outline hundreds of thousands of dollars in spending at the now defunct Trump International Hotel in D.C. by foreign government interests.
The committee released a selection of the materials, showing how the Trump-branded hotel in the nation’s capital, which opened shortly before Donald won the 2016 election, provided an opportunity for foreign interests to essentially directly financially support the now former president. Although Trump ceded executive control of his business in association with taking over the presidency, he didn’t give up his financial reserves and apparently stood to continue to benefit from the direction of the company’s operations. A clear concern from these transactions at the Trump hotel is whether Trump made foreign policy decisions as president because of the sometimes quite large cash boosts from these foreign interests. In details outlined by the oversight panel, investigators show how some of these transactions closely corresponded with major policy developments.
In one example, Trump fired then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the same time as rooms for Saudi and Emirati delegations were booked at the D.C. hotel, and interests from these countries had evidently been pushing for Trump to force Tillerson out. Officials from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were responsible for spending at least $164,929 at the Trump hotel from late in 2017 through the middle of the following year. In another instance, the entourage associated with a trip by the then-Prime Minister of Malaysia spent at least $259,724 at Trump’s hotel, while that then-official was under investigation by authorities in the U.S. for involvement in money laundering. Najib Razak, the then-official, was eventually prosecuted in Malaysia — and during his trip to the U.S. during the early parts of the Trump presidency, when he met with the then-commander-in-chief, Donald was enthusiastic. Trump thanked Razak for “all the investment you have made in the United States.”
Other countries involved in spending at the Trump hotel that was highlighted by the oversight panel include Qatar, Turkey, and China, and the overall total passed three-quarters of a million dollars. Maloney indicated that the process of obtaining related financial records from Mazars USA is ongoing. She also requested records from the federal agency known as the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that could potentially reveal the role some of this spending had in Trump’s policy-making, giving the agency a deadline of later this month. The list of materials subject to the requests includes “all documents and communications related to the Trump Hotel or hotel stays at other Trump-owned properties, foreign payments to the Trump Hotel or other Trump-owned properties, [and] documents related to the Malaysian sovereign wealth and Halkbank investigations,” per a press release. Democrats could lose control of House committees, along with the ability to direct investigations, next year.