Despite its wishes, Trump Org welcomed these foreign gov't officials in 2018
Welcome to 1100 Pennsylvania, a newsletter devoted to President Donald Trump’s Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. (and his other companies). President Trump, of course, still owns his businesses and can profit from them.
If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.
Despite Trump Org’s wishes, foreign government officials can’t stop popping up at Trump properties
On Feb. 20, 2019, the Trump Organization donated $191,538 to the U.S. Treasury, which it claimed represented its 2018 profits from foreign governments. As was the case the previous year, when it cut a check to the treasury for $151,470, the president’s company provided no details about how that precise-looking figure was calculated.
In response to an inquiry sent to Trump Organization EVP Eric Trump and spokesperson Amanda Miller asking how the figure was computed and if independent auditors verified the calculation, Miller replied with the same quotes attributed to Eric that you’ve probably read elsewhere.
“It is our great honor to donate $191,538.00 to the United States Treasury. This voluntary donation fulfills our pledge to donate profits from foreign government patronage at our hotels and similar businesses during our father’s term in office.”
“Unlike any other luxury hospitality company, we do not market to or solicit foreign government business. In fact, we go to great lengths to discourage foreign government patronage at our properties.”
Despite that company’s deterrents, its foreign-government profits increased 26 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. And tonight, for the third year in a row, the Trump Hotel D.C. is hosting the Kuwaiti embassy’s national day celebration. (Maybe in 2020 the Kuwaitis will finally get the message and stop renting out the hotel’s grand ballroom.)
Here are some of the foreign government officials who eschewed Eric’s advice and were spotted at the Trump properties in 2018. First, some caveats:
for most of these sightings, we do not know who picked up the check (and, while some officials said they did not use government funds, their claims usually have not been verified)
it’s possible some foreign officials spotted in the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lobby spent no money at all and we’re just hanging out
this list is not exhaustive; it’s likely many foreign government officials’ visits went unreported
What we do know, of course, is that
these foreign government officials were spotted at Trump properties in 2018
President Trump still owns his business and can profit from it
if President Trump divested himself of his business, we wouldn’t be wondering if he were profiting from foreign governments
“Trump Tower officially lists the tenant as the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, but make no mistake who’s paying the rent: the Chinese government, which owns a majority of the company.” By Dan Alexander and Matt Drange for Forbes.
For the second year in a row, Kuwait’s embassy in the United States celebrated its national day at the Trump Hotel D.C.
U.K. MP Alan Duncan, a member of the Conservative Party, was spotted in the D.C. hotel’s lobby by former Breitbart News London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam.
Saudi Arabia officials’ five-day stay at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan brought in enough revenue “to boost the hotel’s revenue for the entire quarter” (per David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell of The Washington Post).
The mayor and deputy mayor of the Greek island of Mykonos, Konstantinos Koukas and Miltiadis Atzamoglou, posed with billionaire heiress and Manhattan GOP chair, Andrea Catsimatidis, in the D.C. hotel’s lobby. Earlier they visited the White House.
The Japanese prime minster, Shinzo Abe, visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago and golfed with him at Trump Palm Beach over two days.
Tony Clement, a Canadian MP, praised the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lobby.
Cyprus’s presidential commissioner for humanitarian affairs and overseas Cypriots, Photis Photiou, addressed a pro-Cyprus lobbying event at the D.C. hotel. Mayors of occupied Cypriot towns and a Greek member of parliament also were in attendance.
The Philippines held its national day celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C. The ambassador said the event was paid for by his friends, whom he did not identify. Ambassador Jose Manuel “Babe” del Gallego Romualdez and minister for economic affairs Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga posed with then-Rep. Jerry Weller (R–IL).
At the World Gas Conference (not held at a Trump property), Energy Sec. Rick Perry hosted a dialog with foreign governments and industry. One of the World Gas Conference’s hotels—and the most expensive one at that—was the Trump Hotel D.C. (It’s not clear if any meeting attendees did in fact stay there though, but the option was provided to them.)
Zeljka Cvijanovic, the prime minister of Republika Srpska (a Serbian enclave in Bosnia), said she met Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Corey Lewandowski at Judge Jeanine’s book signing at the D.C. hotel (per Dan Friedman of Mother Jones).
Vít Jedlička and other reps of Liberland, a would-be libertarian bastion near Serbia, attended a reception for the country (of sorts) at the Trump Hotel D.C.
Ontario premier Doug Ford dined at the hotel at the suggestion of U.S. ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft.
Hotel’s managing director wants you to know he has a busy week. Here’s why!
Here’s just some of what’s keeping Damelincourt busy this week (“#success”):
Kuwait’s embassy in the United States plans to celebrate the country’s independence day tonight
the Washington, D.C. Conservative Book Club is discussing “Trump’s America: The Truth about Our Nation’s Great Comeback” by Newt Gingrich tonight
the Electric Cities of Alabama, which “represent[s] Alabama’s municipally owned electric utilities,” is holding its 2019 D.C. legislative rally Feb. 26–27
a meet and greet with Omar Navarro, who lost to Rep. Maxine Waters (R–CA) in November but spent at least $12,774.39 at Trump properties in the process, and former NFL player Burgess Owens takes place on Feb. 28
a woman is hosting her “patriotic 29th bday” party on Feb. 28
the Trump Hotel D.C. is an official hotel for the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting, Feb. 28 through March 5
while CPAC is at The Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor Feb. 27 through March 2, after-parties with VIPs reportedly will be at the Trump Hotel D.C.
It appears the Florida Association of Broadcasters reception is what brought Ross back to his boss’s hotel.
Senior advisor to the counselor to the secretary for energy policy at the Department of the Interior, Joshua Campbell, partied at Mar-a-Lago Saturday night. Campbell is a political appointee of Trump’s. Saturday night Mar-a-Lago hosted a $500/ticket (and up) celebration of President Trump.
Other Trump Organization news
“The House Judiciary Committee believes it has evidence that President Trump asked Matthew Whitaker, at the time the acting attorney general, whether Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoffrey Berman could regain control of his office’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s former lawyer and his real-estate business, according to people familiar with the matter.” By Rebecca Ballhaus and Dustin Volz for The Wall Street Journal.
“A lawyer for the Trump Organization has asked the House Judiciary Committee to cease any investigations related to it, claiming that the panel’s work has been tainted by its hiring of an outside lawyer whose firm has represented Trump’s company.” By John Wagner for The Washington Post.
“Former Trump SoHo hotel may be sold” by Gillian Tan for Bloomberg
Following in sister Ivanka’s footsteps, Donald Trump Jr. did some modeling.
House investigations, current status (latest change, Feb. 21, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank.
Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing a White House attorney and one of Trump’s personal attorneys provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” A Feb. 20 memo from the majority laid out the scope for the Feb. 27 hearing with Michael Cohen. Topics include the Trump Hotel D.C.
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans.
Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, Feb. 22, 2019)
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal are scheduled for March 19. The AGs filed their brief opposing the president’s appeal on Feb. 6, stating, “The President is not entitled to an order requiring the district court to certify for interlocutory review its denial of his motion to dismiss. No court has ever issued such relief.” Trump’s DOJ attorneys replied on Feb. 21: “Plaintiffs fundamentally err, substantively and procedurally.”
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
196 Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Donald Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. The next steps, which don’t yet have a timeline, include setting a briefing schedule and both sides filing appellate briefs.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
“U.S. Cyber Command operation disrupted Internet access of Russian troll factory on day of 2018 midterms” by Ellen Nakashima for The Washington Post
Thanks for reading. If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.