Nigerian presidential candidate checks in to Trump's hotel
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.
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Nigerian presidential candidate checks into U.S. president’s hotel
With one month to go before Nigeria’s general election, Atiku Abubakar—one of two main candidates for the top job in the world’s seventh most-populous country—checked into the Trump Hotel D.C. with his entourage yesterday.
The hotel’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, is seen greeting Abubakar, who served as Nigeria’s vice president from 1999 through 2007. Atiku, in his fourth presidential campaign, is considered the underdog to the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, in February’s general election.
Abubakar’s ability to visit the United States appears to be an election issue in Nigeria, with Kanyi Daily reporting that, “The [Nigeria] Federal Government and the ruling APC had claimed Atiku would never be able to enter the U.S. over money laundering allegations hanging on his neck.” In 2006, Abubakar was connected to a corruption investigation that felled then Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.).
Your correspondent can verify the authenticity of the video as I was at the hotel when Abubakar arrived—and watched him head to the elevators, which require a room key to use.
According to Abubakar’s verified Twitter account, he is in D.C. to meet with U.S. government officials, Nigerians living in the area, and the business community.” He was accompanied on this trip by Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki, and Nigerian senator Ben Bruce. It’s not clear if they too stayed at the U.S. president’s hotel.
One of the Nigerian lawmakers meetings was with U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R–N.J.).
Kanyi Daily reports that Abubakar is addressing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today and will be in the country though Saturday.
Mike Pence returns to his boss’s hotel to address black-tie, pro-life gala
Last night vice president Mike Pence and his wife Karen made an unadvertised appearance at the sold-out, black-tie, pro-life Save the Storks Ball, held in the hotel’s presidential ballroom.
Grammy-award winning singer, Joy Villa, attended (and hung out in the hotel’s lobby beforehand) and shared this video of Pence’s remarks. Pence passed along greetings from the U.S. president and hotel owner.
Other notable Save the Stork guests included
former White House advisor Sebastian Gorka (who also held court at a table in the hotel’s lobby)
headliner Kirk Cameron
CREW finds 1,400 conflicts of interest involving Trump properties
“During President Trump’s second year in office, CREW [Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington] recorded more than 900 interactions between the government, those trying to influence it, and the Trump Organization, each resulting in a conflict of interest for President Trump,” according to a report the government watchdog published yesterday.
“Those instances bring the total number of known conflicts of interest involving the Trump Organization to more than 1,400, two years into the Trump administration.”
CREW is the plaintiff in one emoluments lawsuit against President Trump and is serving as co-counsel in the D.C. and Maryland attorneys general’s suit.
Key findings from the report:
At least “12 foreign governments that have made payments to Trump properties during his first two years in office.”
“53 U.S. senators and representatives made more than 90 visits to Trump properties during his second year in office.”
“More than 150 political committees, including campaigns and party committees, have spent nearly $5 million at Trump businesses.”
“Over the past year, President Trump made 118 visits to properties he still profits from in office, bringing his two-year total to 281 visits.”
“President Trump attended 13 political events that were held at his properties during his second year in office and dropped by to greet attendees at a fourteenth. Vice President Pence attended nine political events at Trump properties over this period.”
CREW cited my work as one of its main sources. Please support independent journalism, pay for your 1100 Pennsylvania subscription.
House committee chair threatens GSA with subpoena over lease info
From “DeFazio warns he can subpoena GSA for answers on Trump hotel” by Andrew Desiderio and John Bresnahan for Politico:
The new chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee warned Thursday he could subpoena the General Services Administration if it doesn’t provide information about the Trump International Hotel’s lease of the Old Post Office building in Washington.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said in an interview that he wants the GSA to answer questions after an inspector general report released Wednesday found that agency lawyers ignored constitutional concerns about President Donald Trump’s possible conflicts of interest when it allowed the luxury hotel to keep its lease after Trump was sworn in.
Other noteworthy sightings
This guest got a handshake from Rudy Giuliani.
A reliable source reports former chief of staff Reince Preibus dined again at BLT Prime last night. (Politico Playbook spotted Preibus there last week with acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.)
Legal cases, current status (latest change, Jan. 11, 2018)
D.C. and MD attorneys general’s emoluments lawsuit (district court docket, appellate court docket)—
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 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. Oral augments on the appeal are tentatively scheduled for March 19–21, although on Dec. 26 the briefing schedule was suspended until further notice after Trump’s DoJ attorneys asked for a stay because of the federal government shutdown. (Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs already having issued 38 subpoenas, including to the Trump Organization; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine.)
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.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February, 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, 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 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. The next steps, which don’t yet have a timeline, include a briefing schedule being set and both sides filing appellate briefs.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—A status hearing on arbitration is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2019.
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
Other Trump Organization news
“President Trump directed his attorney Michael Cohen to lie to Congress about the Moscow tower project” by Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier for Buzzfeed
“Melania Trump jets to Mar-a-Lago on Military plane after POTUS grounds Pelosi’s troop visit” by Mary Papenfuss for Huffington Post
“The founding fathers never planned for the Trump International Hotel” David Fahrenthold appears on The Post Report podcast
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
“How secrecy fuels Facebook Paranoia” by John Herrman for The New York Times
Thanks for reading. If you like what you saw, tell someone—and support this work by paying for a subscription. 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.