Portland Press Herald reporter Kevin Miller explained to MSNBC's Kasie Hunt that their goal in revealing Gov. Paul LePage's (R-ME) tax-payer funded spending at the Trump hotel was more about the ongoing emoluments lawsuit.
The Press Herald revealed LePage spent more than $22,000 at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. While it wasn't clear what the purpose was of so many visits. LePage spent the cash on more than 40 rooms from April 2017 to Sept. 2018. The funds weren't isolated to hotel rooms, however. The money was also spent on meals and parking. One dinner bill at the hotel restaurant cost $362.50, and the most expensive room came in at $1,128.97.
"No one necessarily is saying the governor was trying to curry favor with the president, but we're merely pointing out the governor is spending quite a bit of time in Washington, D.C.," the reporter said. "And during those trips to D.C., he frequently used the Trump Hotel as his base for operating out of. As for the potential ramifications of that, there's actually a federal lawsuit pending right now which is looking at whether the president is illegally profiting from his hotel there in D.C."
Hunt explained that the lawsuit claims Trump has repeatedly violated the emoluments clause by maintaining his investments and control of his company while president. Democrats have accused Trump of profiting off of world leaders, lobbyists and global power brokers who could be staying at the hotel to influence the president.
"The clause is the president cannot earn any kind of an income from foreign, state or government dignitaries," Miller said. "So, the question now is that the court will be looking at is whether these payments to the Trump hotel -- the Trump hotel is owned by the Trump Organization, which is run by the president's children -- whether these payments to the hotel constitute some sort of payment to the president, which would violate emoluments cause to the Consitution."
Watch the full interview below: