Museum of the Bible returns
President’s D.C. hotel hosts Women of Legacy conference
The Museum of the Bible returned to the Trump Hotel D.C. yesterday according to social media posts from three attendees. Museum co-founder Jackie Green was among the speakers at the opening day of the Women of Legacy conference, which runs April 3–5 (it’s not immediately clear how much of it takes place at the hotel).
A representative from the museum did not immediately reply to an inquiry seeking to verify its involvement in the conference and asking why it booked the president’s hotel rather than just hosting the gathering at its own event space a mile away.
At least one attendee also booked a room at the Trump Hotel D.C. She used her Instagram account to promote the president’s business as the “fanciest hotel & robe where I've had my quiet time w Jesus!”
Additionally, God’s plan was found in an inspirational quote on a hotel card containing the next day’s weather forecast.
Reportedly, the Museum of the Bible plans to host a Women of Legacy Summit and Reunion at the Trump Hotel D.C. in September too.
Previously the Museum of the Bible hosted its $2,500 per person black-tie opening gala and most of a $5,000 per person benefit at President Trump’s D.C. hotel. And last December it directed a charismatic Christian conference there after deciding at the last minute the gathering was too controversial for the museum.
“We have a religious niche,” hotel managing director Mickael Damelincourt once said in a interview with Hotels magazine.
Within days of Mar-a-Lago hosting a Navy SEAL benefit, President Trump and Eric support SEAL charged with murder
Two days before Mar-a-Lago hosted a benefit for the Navy SEAL community, President Trump tweeted that a Navy SEAL charged with murder, Eddie Gallagheer, “will soon be moved to less restrictive confinement.”
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House committee chair asks IRS for Trump’s personal and business tax returns
From “Trump’s tax returns requested by House panel chair” by Richard Rubin for The Wall Street Journal:
The chairman of the House tax-writing committee formally requested President Trump’s tax returns on Wednesday, kicking off what could be a bruising legal fight between Congress and the Trump administration.
In a letter to the Internal Revenue Service, Rep. Richard Neal (D., Mass.) asked for six years of Mr. Trump’s personal returns and some of his business returns, invoking a federal law that allows the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to seek any person’s tax information.
Among the business returns Neal requested: that for the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which holds the president’s 76.725 percent ownership stake in the Trump Old Post Office LLC.
Mar-a-Lago security-lapse roundup
“Feds are investigating possible Chinese spying at Mar-a-Lago and Cindy Yang, sources say” by Jay Weaver, Nicholas Nehamas, Sarah Blaskey,Caitlin Ostroff, and Alex Daugherty for The Miami Herald
“U.S. Democrats question Mar-a-Lago security after Chinese intruder” by Mark Hosenball and Susan Cornwell for Reuters
“Warren calls for investigation of White House role in admitting guests at Mar-a-Lago” by John Wagner and David A. Fahrenthold for The Washington Post
“What could a hacker with a USB stick actually access at Mar-a-Lago?” by Phillip Bump for The Washington Post
“How China’s ‘Dr. Charles’ peddles claims of access to U.S. power” by Anna Fifield for The Washington Post
The campaign for Rep. Samuel Graves (R–MO) spent $3,729.60 at the Trump Hotel D.C. for meals and catering on March 26, 2019. His campaign now has spent a total of $3,835 at the president’s D.C. hotel.
Rudy Giuliani was back at his client’s hotel.
Also spotted, again, Fox News pundit and Trump campaign advisor, Harlan Hill.
Boston Bruins great Bobby Orr was among the celebs at the Joe Namath Foundation’s fundraiser at Trump National Jupiter earlier this week.
The president and CEO of lobbying firm c6 Strategies, Dana Hudson, had great times at the U.S. president’s hotel with a business-development director for defense contractor General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, Michael Iacobucci, and a proposal manager at General Dymanics, Claire Feagley.
Other Trump Organization news
“House Intelligence Committee seeks documents from Trump’s inaugural” by Maggie Haberman and Ben Protess for The New York Times
“New York puts tax lien on former Trump SoHo: Property featured on ‘The Apprentice’ owes $35K” by Will Bredderman for Crain’s New York Business
Ivanka Trump has revised her financial disclosure six times in the past month noted Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (involved in two emoluments lawsuits against President Trump)
A detail in The New York Times’s article on Mar-a-Lago’s security problems make it sound like President Trump may be involved in the day-to-day activities of his business, observed Matt Corley of CREW
“FBI Director Christopher Wray denies political pressure influenced HQ decision” by Jeff Mordock for The Washington Times
Rep. Dwight Evans (D–PA) cited the Trump Hotel D.C. when explaining his new bill.
“1MDB trial against former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib begins” by Yantoultra Ngui for The Wall Street Journal. Najib famously stayed at the Trump Hotel D.C when in town to meet with President Trump in 2017.
House investigations, current status (latest changes, April 4, 2019)
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 the 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.
UPDATED 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 requested 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; longtime Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff; former Trump advisor Felix Sater; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; and Trump associate and inaugural chair, Tom Barrack. The committee received “tens of thousands” of documents by the March 18 deadline the letters set for responses, according to its chair, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–NY). Among the respondents: Barrack, Steve Bannon, and the National Rifle Association. But more than half of the targets had not replied by April 3, two weeks after the deadline. On that day, the committee authorized subpoenas for former White House aides Bannon, Ann Donaldson, Hope Hicks, Donald McGahn, and Reince Priebus, per Politico. Attorneys for the Trump Organization, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump did not respond to Politico’s inquires if their clients planned to reply. The committee is considering making additional document requests, including to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The committee interviewed Felix Sater on March 21.
UPDATED 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. On Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee would 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. During testimony on March 6, Michael Cohen turned over documents that allegedly show how Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, edited Cohen’s statement regarding Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen later read this revised statement before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. In closed-door testimony in March, Cohen claimed the president submitted a false insurance claim regarding a fresco in Trump Tower. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, was scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 27, but that has been postponed. Schiff hired a veteran prosecutor experienced with combating Russian organized crime to lead this investigation. The committee is also seeking to interview Trump inauguration organizer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff.
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,” 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 Passantino and Dillon; the White House, however, rejected Cummings’ request to interview Passantino. 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. On March 6, Cummings requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. The committee also has requested 10 years of Trump’s financial records.
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 D.C. hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened, 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. Titus is hiring additional staffers to handle the investigation. On March 6, Titus requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate the FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. NPR reported on March 15 that, “Democrats on the committee want to know, among other things, whether there was any political pressure exerted on the GSA by the Trump White House, presidential campaign or transition team. They also want to know how the Trump Hotel calculates its profits, segregates incoming money from foreign governments, and what the Trump Organization owes the GSA on a monthly or annual basis.’”
UPDATED Ways and Means—On April 3, chairman Richard Neal (D–MA) requested six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, as well as the returns for eight of his businesses (including that of the trust that holds the president’s ownership stake in the D.C. hotel). Also, the subcommittee on Oversight 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, March 20, 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 occurred on March 19; by all accounts the three-judge panel (all Republican appointees, including one who was a selection of President Trump’s) were skeptical of the AGs’ case. D.C. AG Karl Racine pledged to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
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.”
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 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. A briefing schedule was set on March 5 with Cork’s brief due on April 15, the president’s brief due on May 15, and Cork’s reply to the president’s brief due on June 5.
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
Is the Trump Organization selling merchandise that depicts the White House? (latest change, March 21, 2019)
One thing that (probably) has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses
“Hacker Eva Galperin has a plan to eradicate stalkerware” by Andy Greenberg for Wired
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