New investigations, same old story?
House Judiciary and Oversight committees launch inquiries on G7 invite to Doral, Pence’s stay at Doonbeg. Don’t expect anything to change.
This morning the House Judiciary and Oversight committees announced they were investigating President Trump’s suggestion that his struggling Doral resort host a 2020 G7 summit, as well as Vice President Pence’s out-of-the-way stay at Trump Doonbeg.
Yesterday, the Judiciary committee sent a letter to the White House counsel asking for information about the G7 summit; the Oversight committee wrote to the White House, vice president, Secret Service, and Trump Organization, seeking details about Pence’s decision to bunk at Doonbeg. The committees set deadlines of Sept. 19.
Based on the other ongoing House investigations, Don’t expect their letters to yield much or change anything.
Both committees are among at least seven House panels already looking into aspects of the president’s finances. The Democrats have controlled the House since January, but over the past eight months, their inquiries have shared little information with the public about Trump’s businesses and done nothing to curtail him from continuing to profit from them.
In 2017 and 2018, Trump reported more than $81 million in revenue—just from his D.C. hotel. And while we won’t know how much he made since the Democrats took over the House until his 2019 financial disclosure becomes public (around May 2020), anecdotally, business there appears as strong as ever.
House investigations into Trump’s finances seem unlikely to yield information that would cause him to divest (or even be less blatant about his profiteering) or that House leadership would use any finding to pursue impeachment. Democrats, however, could make use of their findings in the 2020 campaign. Also it’s their duty to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
New York state passed a law to allow it to turn over Trump’s state tax returns, if asked by House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D–MA). Neal hasn’t asked for them. And now the returns availability is tied up in court.
Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings (D–MD) postponed his subpoena deadline for Trump’s financial records while awaiting a court ruling. Maybe that’s an accord tradition dictates, but it doesn’t seem like an accommodation Trump or his Justice Department would grant Cummings if the situation was reversed.
Transportation subcommittee on economic development, public buildings, and emergency management Chair Dina Titus (D–NV) admitted her investigation—launched in March—had lost steam. Reported The Washington Post, “Titus said [Transportation committee Chair Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR)] has been pulling his punches, holding out in hopes of cooperating with Trump on a big infrastructure bill.”
Foreign Affairs chair Eliot Engel (D–NY) waited until this August to ask his committee’s staffers to point out to officials from foreign governments that their patronage of Trump properties may facilitate Trump’s “apparent violation” of the Constitution.
1100 Pennsylvania’s House investigation tracker mentions many deadlines for information that appear to have been ignored with no repercussions (your correspondent’s inquires about their status are either not returned or met with a response akin to “we’re reviewing the material”).
Also, the emoluments suits seem unlikely to stop Trump from profiting off his businesses while president. As Jeffrey Toobin wrote for The New Yorker yesterday in “Trump’s plan to host the G-7 revives the issue of emoluments”:
Since practically the day that Trump took office, his political opponents have taken to the courts to protest what they characterize as his violations of the emoluments clauses. The cases have generally gone poorly for the President’s adversaries, although none has been definitively resolved.
The Trump Hotel D.C.’s soft opening was three years ago next week and Trump was elected two months later. Yet with 501 days remaining in Trump’s term, neither the courts nor legislature appear able to address the president’s innkeeper side hustle.
GOP candidate for U.S. Senate advertised that he’s a regular at Trump Hotel D.C.’s lobbyist happy hours
The campaign for Victor Williams, a Republican running for U.S. Senate in Virginia, advertised that he visits the Trump Hotel D.C. “at least once a month for Trump First Tuesdays.” As 1100 Pennsylvania readers know, that event was launched as a “business networking happy hour for government relations professionals [lobbyists] and friends.”
Williams campaign page also plugged the president’s business, calling it “a remarkable, world-class hotel.”
Foreign policy advisor for Sweden’s parliament enjoyed drinks at U.S. president’s business
A foreign policy advisor for Sweeden’s national legislature (the Sveriges riksdag), Andreas E. Palmlöv, caught up at the hotel over drinks with the president and founder of the Black Conservative Federation who’s also a political strategist, Diante Johnson.
Your correspondent is slated to discuss the new House investigations on MSNBC’s “The Beat with Ari Melber” around 6 p.m. EDT tonight.
Due to sloppy writing, a headline in yesterday’s 1100 Pennsylvania referred to “Republican judges.” The correct phrase should have been “Republican-appointed judges.” The headline has been revised in the web version of the newsletter.
Other notable sightings
A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most people shown here have reasons to want to influence the Trump administration, rely on its good graces for their livelihoods, or should be providing oversight. Additionally, high-profile guests serve as draws for paying customers.
Fox & Friends co-host Pete Hegseth got married at Trump Colts Neck a few weeks back to Fox Nation producer Jennifer Rauchet. Sean Hannity attended.
Lyndsey Medsker, a public affairs expert who “works hand-in-hand with government relations teams,” praised what Trump’s done with the Old Post Office.
“Praying together and working, city-by-city, to protect life, marriage, and America’s Biblical Foundation in a loving and Christ-like way,” Preserve Liberty announced its launch with a photo from the Trump Hotel D.C.
A state government employee in Georgia, Lavin Gartland Briggs of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, posed in the hotel lobby.
Other Trump Organization news
“Cagey Chinese spy or fawning Trump fan? Mar-a-Lago intruder’s trial may offer up clues” by Sarah Blaskey, Owen Churchill, Nicholas Nehamas, Jay Weaver, Meng Jing, and Daniel Ren for The Miami Herald
The Government Accountability Office “found the General Services Administration did not violate the law when it used available funds to continue operating the observation tower at the Old Post Office Building in Washington during the shutdown. The tower is housed in what is now the Trump International Hotel. The agency said it would issue a separate opinion later on Interior’s spending for the observation tower during the shutdown.” By Ellen Knickmeyer and Carole Feldman for the Associated Press
“Trump taps [D.C. hotel guest former Maine Republican Gov. Paul] LePage to serve as honorary campaign chair in Maine” by Scott Thistle or The Portland Free Press
Police are investigating reports of vandalism at Trump Bedminster, reported David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post
Each issue of 1100 Pennsylvania will continue to report on new updates in the House investigations, lawsuits, and health inspections regarding the Trump Hotel D.C. For a rundown of the earlier developments in each one, as well as reference sheets for some of 1100 Pennsylvania’s previous reporting, please see these paid-subscriber-only fact sheets.
House investigations (latest change Sept. 6 2019)
Lawsuits (latest change Sept. 6, 2019)
Breakdown of judges’ rulings by political party of presidents who nominated them in emoluments, unfair competition, and House committee investigations lawsuits (latest change Sept. 5, 2019)
Trump cabinet members spotted at the Trump Hotel D.C.: 24 of 32 (latest change Sept. 3, 2019)
U.S. Senators who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: 26 of 53 Republicans, one Democrat (latest change Aug. 1, 2019)
House Oversight members who’ve supported the Trump Hotel D.C.: Six of 17 Republicans, no Democrats (latest change Sept. 3, 2019)
Health inspections (latest change June 14, 2019)
Rudy Giuliani at the Trump Hotel D.C: A retrospective (published April 30, 2019)
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