Judiciary becomes the seventh House committee to investigate Trump’s businesses
A seventh House committee is now investigating aspects of President Donald Trump’s businesses. On Monday, the House Judiciary committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel.
Among the individuals the committee is requesting documents from
Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.
EVP Eric Trump
EVP and COO Michael Calamari
CFO Alan Weisselberg
EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten
Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon (who explained how then–President-elect Trump would separate himself from his businesses during a pre-inauguration press conference)
former Trump advisor Felix Sater
former Trump attorney Michael Cohen
Additionally, the committee served document requests to the Donald J. Trump revocable trust, the Trump Organization, and the nonprofit Trump Foundation.
According to the committee’s statement, one of the investigation’s main areas is “public corruption, including potential violations of the emoluments clauses of the U.S. Constitution, conspiracy to violate federal campaign and financial reporting laws, and other criminal misuses of official positions for personal gain.”
“He seems to have violated the emoluments clause in a lot of different ways and that’s one of the things we should be investigating under —under abuses—under abuses of power,” Judiciary chair Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–NY) said yesterday to host George Stephanopoulos on ABC News’s This Week.
The judiciary committee joins the Financial Services; Foreign Affairs; Intelligence; Oversight and Reform; Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management; and Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight. The current status of all of the investigations is, as always, towards the end of today’s 1100 Pennsylvania.
May 1, 2018 was an interesting day in the president’s hotel’s lobby
None of these sightings are new—and no evidence was found that these people interacted—but Instagram posts from May 1, 2018 yielded an interesting trio of Trump World notables hanging out in the lobby:
President Trump plugged one of his golf courses
Saturday morning, President Trump promoted one of his Scottish golf courses on Twitter, arguing that his ownership of a club on foreign soil is good for the nation. Last week a court in Scotland ruled that the U.S. president’s business had to pay the Scottish government’s legal bills from a dispute he initiated over wind turbines.
Kuwait invited a third congressman suing Trump over emoluments to the Trump Hotel D.C.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D–CA) is at least the third congressman Kuwait invited to its national day celebration last week at the Trump Hotel D.C. who’s also a plaintiff in an emoluments lawsuit v. President Trump. All three lawmakers declined the invitation. (Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D–OH) and Rep. Steve Cohen (D–TN) were the other two.)
An economist at Zimbabwe’s ministry of finance, Patrick Tuluzawu, posed behind the Trump Hotels logo.
Policy advisor for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies, Martha Boneta, visited with Trump Org EVP/first son/great American, Donald Trump Jr. on Friday.
A chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy, Brad Davis, celebrated his wife’s birthday at the commander-in-chief’s hotel.
A midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Ethan Hardt, also was at the commander-in-chief’s hotel post CPAC.
After CPAC, U.S. Army recruiter Kevin Brown drank a beer at the commander-in-chief’s hotel and posed with Turning Point USA’s director of high school outreach and pro-gun advocate, Kyle Kashuv; Turning Point’s director of urban engagement, Brandon Tatum; and conservative YouTuber Austen “Fleccas” Fletcher.
U.S. Army reserve technology specialist Morgan Kombarow was at the commander-in-chief’s hotel where he declared alt-right media personality Mike Cernovich a good person. Cernovich promoted pizzagate.
Minnesota GOP congressional district 3 vice chair and Minnesota RNC Trump national delegate, Sheri Auclair, tipped $45 at the Trump Hotel D.C. because its owner is the 45h president of the United States.
Infowars contributor Paul Joseph Watson, Blaze TV’s Eric Bolling, and the unsuccessful GOP candidate for Maxine Waters’ congressional seat, Omar Navarro, were among the “many diverse beautiful and intelligent people at CPAC” singer Ricky Rebel met. CPAC was at the Gaylord National Resorts; the encounters showed here occurred at the Trump Hotel D.C., 10.8 miles away.
The director of urban engagement at Turning Point USA, Brandon Tatum, was another great person at the Trump Hotel D.C. Trump properties are popular venues for Turning Point events and for members to just hang out…
…for example, at least three of these “conservative kids out and about” are involved with Turning Point USA on their campuses…
…and Turning Point USA’s director of communications Candace Owens recently held her engagement party at the president’s hotel, according to Cockburn for Spectator USA [h/t @mrspanstreppon]
A public affairs intern who lobbies in the Minnesota legislature and also is the vice chair metro for the state College Republicans and vice chair of the College Republicans at the University of Minnesota, Megan Olson, felt patriotic at the U.S. president’s hotel.
A “California State Surrogate for Donald J. Trump at President-Elect Donald J. Trump Inc,” Shirley Husar, spent time at the Trump Hotel D.C. post CPAC.
The president of lobbying firm the Da Vinci Group, Mark Smith, a Trump Hotel D.C. regular, had “another wonderful night with loved ones,” inducing Ally Hibben who apparently works at both the House of Representatives and, wait for it, Turning Point USA.
In sum, political consultant and lobbyist David Spady just found it “very Trump at the Trump hotel tonight.”
Other Trump Organization news
“House Democrats prepare case to request Trump tax returns” by Heidi Przybyla for NBC News
“Workers in Bali who lost their jobs when a hotel was demolished have called out President Donald Trump over a proposed resort they say is failing to materialize. Residents of the island’s Beraban village told Australia’s 9News they have been waiting, jobless, for 18 months for the proposed Trump International Collection hotel. But they say construction is yet to begin.” By Katherine Hignett for Newsweek.
“Fifteen Questions for Allen Weisselberg, the C.F.O. of the Trump Organization” by Adam Davidson for The New Yorker
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–SC) is headlining a GOP dinner at Mar-a-Lago later this month, reported Marc Caputo of Politico:
“Former ethics chief calls out lawmakers attending Trump Hotel events” by Mary Papenfuss for HuffPost
“Three federal agencies appear to be stonewalling American Oversight’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump canceled a multibillion-dollar relocation project in order to benefit his own business interests.” By American Oversight.
“How Giuliani might take down Trump: The parallels between the Mafia and the Trump Organization are striking, and Giuliani perfected the template for prosecuting organized crime.” By Garrett M. Graff for The New York Times
“Drunken brawl erupts at Donald Trump’s luxury Turnberry hotel and golf resort during sell-out Scottish boxing bout” by Abbi Garton for The Scottish Sun
House investigations, current status (latest changes, March 4, 2019)
UPDATED Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24. On March 1, chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said that thee bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York.
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.
NEW Judiciary—On March 4, the committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel. Among the individuals the committee is requesting documents from are Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr., EVP Eric Trump, EVP and COO Michael Calamari, CFO Alan Weisselberg, EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten, Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon, former Trump advisor Felix Sater, and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
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. On Feb. 28, an aide said the panel expects to interview Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, is scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 14, with Michael Cohen returning to testify before the panel on March 6.
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 White House attorney Stefan Passantino and long-time Trump personal attorney Sheri Dillon provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” As a result, Cummings wants to depose both Passantino and Dillon. And on Feb. 27, Cohen testified to the committee about those payments and other Trump Organization business practices, which could lead to the committee requesting the president’s tax returns and allegations of possible insurance fraud. The next day, House Democrats signaled they would seek testimony from Trump Organization officials whom Cohen alleged were implicated, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and CFO Allen Weisselberg.
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!)
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