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Trump’s ‘illegal payments’ under scrutiny as House conducts second probe running parallel to impeachment

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According to a report from Politico, some House Democrats are disappointed that Donald Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause does not appear to have a future as part of the articles of impeachment against the president, so they are continuing on with their own ongoing investigation with the hope it may be added at a later time.

The report notes many Democrats believe the president is involved in self-dealing by enriching himself through the use of his multiple properties that have become meeting places for lobbyists and foreign diplomats seeking favors from the White House.

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With the House preparing articles of impeachment that presumably will not touch on financial profiteering, Politico reports, “It’s a blow to lawmakers and watchdog groups who have tried for three years to get Americans to share their outrage at what they consider violations of the Constitution’s little-used emoluments clause, which forbids Trump from receiving gifts from foreign governments or money from U.S. taxpayers.”

According to three Democratic members of Congress and several staffers, a House investigation of what one lawmaker called “Illegal payments” will proceed.

“The House will continue to investigate Trump’s vast real estate company after impeachment,” the report states, adding, “Some of those same people even floated the possibility of writing an additional article of impeachment about Trump’s business dealings later next year or after his possible re-election — a concept that is legally permissible, but widely considered politically unpalatable and logistically infeasible.”

According to Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV), the chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee, “We deserve to know exactly who is paying the president and how much. “I will not look the other way as the president continues to accept illegal payments that create obvious conflicts of interest.”

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has alleged “that 111 officials from 57 foreign countries have spent money at Trump Organization properties. The company has responded to the scrutiny by donating $350,000 to the U.S. Treasury that it said came from foreign governments. But watchdog groups say the amount should be higher,” Politico reports.

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“Before he was sworn into office, Trump was urged to fully separate from his eponymous company, which comprises more than 500 businesses. But he ignored those calls, retaining ownership of his business. Instead, he placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his benefit. He can withdraw money from the trust at any time without the public’s knowledge,” the report notes. “Shortly after House Democrats took control of the House, they launched investigations into whether Trump was violating the emoluments clause, which forbids a president from profiting off of foreign governments unless approved by Congress, or from receiving any money from the U.S. government except his annual salary. They are even looking into an allegations that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them.”

Politico goes on to report that the House has drafted an emoluments impeachment article, but, at this time, it is not expected to be approved for inclusion before the House refers the impeachment to the GOP-controlled Senate.

 


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