Trump 'clearly violated' federal law when Scottish golf courses claimed COVID relief: David Cay Johnston
Donald Trump plays golf at Trump National Doral (screen grab)

Trump's Scottish golf courses lost $9 million in 2020 despite claiming $4 million in pandemic relief from the UK government, according to recent reports.

MSNBC host Jonathan Capehart noted Wednesday night that even though the UK pandemic relief funds were designed to prevent job losses, Trump's Scottish golf courses still laid off employees. Capehart also noted that the former president's son, Eric Trump, blamed some of the losses on Brexit, which his father fervently supported.

However, there's also a much bigger problem with the Trump Organization's decision to claim the UK pandemic relief funds, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist David Cay Johnston.

"The receipt of that money is I think a very clear violation of the foreign emoluments clause, which says you can't get any money, gift, etc., unless Congress explicitly gives you permission to do so, and Congress clearly never did that," Johnston told Capehart. "Do I think the courts will do anything about it? No. We saw every federal judge presented with an emoluments case run and find other work to focus on rather than address this assault on our Constitution."

Johnston, author of The Big Cheat: How Donald Trump Fleeced America and Enriched Himself and His Family, also weighed in on reports that that the Chinese firm helping the former president with his new social media company has been the target of investigations by federal regulators. Johnston said it's "not normal" for "a former and would-be president of the future to engage in this kind of behavior."

"It's consistent with how the Chinese, the Russians, the Saudis and others have played Donald Trump like a two-dollar ukulele," he said.

Finally, Johnston sounded the alarm about Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s ongoing business dealings with Saudi Arabia.

"That should be the biggest concern of the things we've talked about," Johnston said, adding that while serving in the White House, Kushner convinced Trump to line up the Saudis and the Emirates against Qatar, which is home to the most important U.S. military base in the Middle East.

"The Trump family has no problem undermining the national security interests of the United States if there's money in it for them," Johnston said.

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