Donald J. Trump’s companies received at least $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments during his presidency, according to new documents released Thursday by House Democrats that show how much he received from foreign transactions. foreigner while he was in the White House, most from China. .
The transactions, detailed in a 156-page report titled “White House for Sale” which was produced by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, offers concrete evidence that the former president engaged in the kind of conduct that House Republicans have worked, so far unsuccessfully, to prove that President Biden did as they worked to build an impeachment case against him. .
Use documents Produced following a court battle, the report describes how foreign governments and entities they control, including a top U.S. adversary, interacted with Trump’s companies while he was president. They paid millions at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas; Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York; and the Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in New York.
The Constitution prohibits federal office holders from accepting money, payments or gifts “of any kind” from foreign governments and monarchs unless they obtain “the consent of Congress.” to do it. The report notes that Mr. Trump never went to Congress to seek consent.
House Democrats stressed Thursday that the deals were a counterbalance to Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Mr. Biden, which sought to link him to international trade deals made by his son Hunter Biden before his father became president with the aim of proving corruption or influence peddling. So far, they have failed to demonstrate that President Biden was enriched in any way through any of these transactions.
“By elevating his personal financial interests and the political priorities of corrupt foreign powers above the American public interest, former President Trump violated both the clear commandments of the Constitution and the prudent precedent established and observed by all previous commanders in chief,” Rep. Jamie Raskin said. of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, wrote in the report’s foreword.
Among the countries that frequent Mr. Trump’s properties, China made the largest total payment — $5.5 million — for its business interests, according to the report. These payments included millions of dollars from the Chinese Embassy in the United States, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Hainan Airlines Holding Company.
Saudi Arabia was the second biggest spender, shelling out more than $615,000 for the Trump World Tower and the Trump International Hotel.
Eric Trump, the former president’s son, has long insisted that foreign interests did not influence his father’s presidency and that any profits the company made from hotel stays went to the federal government through a voluntary annual payment to the Treasury Department.
But Mr. Raskin noted Thursday that donating proceeds to the Treasury did not meet the constitutional requirements for a president.
On Thursday, Eric Trump said in an email that the Chinese bank mentioned in the report signed a 20-year lease for Trump Tower in 2008, nearly a decade before his father took office. And he argued it was clear the former president did not let his personal business incentives guide his official actions.
“This narrative is insane,” Eric Trump said of the Democrats’ report. He added that “there is no president in the history of the United States who has been tougher on China than Donald Trump,” citing the substantial tariffs the former president imposed on goods and services of the country. He also said the Trump Organization had “neither the ability nor the viability to prevent someone from booking through third parties” at the hotel.
House Republicans also rejected the revelations, arguing that there was nothing wrong with Mr. Trump receiving income from foreign governments while he was president, but that the family’s affairs of Mr. Biden were corrupt.
“Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens don’t,” Rep. James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and chairman of the Oversight Committee, said Thursday. He accused the Bidens of earning more than three times as much as new records show Mr. Trump had obtained from foreign governments “by profiting off the Biden name,” adding that “no goods or services was provided other than access to Joe.” Biden and the Biden Network.
The Democrats’ report acknowledges its own limitations. Democrats have fought aggressively through years of litigation to gain access to only part of Mr. Trump’s business records. After winning its case, Mazars USA, Mr. Trump’s longtime accounting firm that severed ties with him and his family business, in 2022 began turning over documents related to his financial dealings.
The development came after Mazars said he could no longer stand behind a decade of annual financial statements he prepared for the Trump Organization.
But once Republicans took control of Congress, they abandoned their efforts to force Mazars to continue producing documents about Mr. Trump’s business dealings.
Mr. Comer has made clear that he has abandoned any investigation into the former president’s financial dealings and is instead focusing on whether Mr. Biden and members of his family were involved in a bribery scheme. Bribery.
However, Democrats claim to have received key elements before the investigation was closed.
“Critically, even this subset of documents reveals an astonishing web of millions of dollars of payments made by foreign governments and their agents directly to Trump-owned companies while President Trump was in the White House,” it says. The report. “These payments were made while these governments were promoting specific foreign policy goals to the Trump administration and even, at times, to President Trump himself, and while requesting specific actions from the United States to advance their own national policy objectives. »
The report is the result of a multi-year investigation into Mr. Trump’s receipt of payments from foreign-controlled entities while in office. The investigation began in 2016 under the leadership of Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, who died in 2019.
He noted that Mr. Trump sometimes boasted about the wealth that foreign governments had brought him, including at a campaign rally in 2015, when he suggested that his personal financial incentives could influence his dealings with another government.
“Saudi Arabia, I get along very well with all of them,” he said, according to the report. “They buy me apartments. They spend 40 or 50 million dollars. Am I supposed to dislike them? I love them a lot!”
The report urges Congress to consider adopting new disclosure rules to help the Legislature obtain information for appropriate oversight. It also recommends a more formal procedure for presidents and other officials to seek authorization from Congress when they receive and wish to retain wealth from other countries.
Audio produced by Tally Abécassis.