On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department inspector general has opened an investigation into the FBI's abrupt decision to cancel the relocation of their headquarters.
The proposal, which would have demolished the outdated and decrepit J. Edgar Hoover building in D.C., built a new, state-of-the art, secure headquarters in suburban Maryland, and leased the old site for private development, had bipartisan support — but it was scrapped shortly after President Donald Trump expressed his opposition to the project.
Democrats in Congress have accused the president of personally intervening to protect his financial interests. The Hoover building is just down the street from the Trump International Hotel, which was leased to the president from the General Services Administration (GSA), and developer who took over the Hoover lot could have built a rival hotel that competed with the president's. Trump himself explored the idea of developing the site before he was elected president.
The administration and the FBI have denied Trump played a role in the decision, and FBI Director Christopher Wray has defended the new plan to retain the Hoover Building in testimony to Congress. However, recently unearthed documents suggest that Trump approved the new plan in an Oval Office meeting with the GSA.
The mere existence of the Trump hotel, which was converted from the Old Post Office Building, has been an ethical minefield, and raises the possibility that the president is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution by accepting personal business from visiting foreign dignitaries. A lawsuit challenging this arrangement is currently working its way through federal courts.