Prayer Breakfast Inc. to pay Trump Inc. again
‘Nonpartisan’ group set to pray for the office of the presidency for the third time at Trump Hotel D.C.
Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Inc., which says it’s nonpartisan, will host its second prayer breakfast in just four months at the Trump Hotel D.C. this July according to an invite.
While the group’s mission is to “pray for the office of the presidency” rather than a particular officeholder, this upcoming liberty prayer breakfast marks at least the third time Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Inc. has paid to worship at the current president’s D.C. hotel.
The group booked the Trump Hotel D.C. for a Good Friday prayer breakfast this April and held a prayer breakfast there around Trump’s inauguration in 2017 (but only after it sued Trump’s inaugural committee, which had tried to bounce it from the hotel).
Tickets for the event are $250—a 150 percent increase from the $100 donation the group suggested for its Good Friday prayer breakfast. July’s liberty prayer breakfast also is advertised on the group’s Facebook page.
Rep. Tlaib: Trump’s ownership of D.C. hotel violates the Constitution
He has not complied with the United States Constitution when he took the oath of office by divesting in his businesses. So we have an upgraded version of pay-to-play. So, when I’m on the ground right now in my district fighting against the T-Mobile and Sprint merger, T-Mobile is turning around, spending $195,000 at the Trump Hotel in D.C. as again, an upgraded version of pay-to-play to get access to the most powerful corridor to power in our country, the president’s office.
Select the link to watch this excerpt of Tlaib’s interview with NBC News’s Chuck Todd.
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Trump plugged five business partners and customers in one tweet
In a single tweet Saturday, the U.S. president name-checked five people who are business partners or clients of his.
Let's look at the five people mentioned:
Shinzo Abe has visited five different Trump properties
the Tiger Woods-designed Trump World Dubai course is set to open later this year and Woods has a villa named after him at Trump Doral
Phil Mickelson has a villa named after him at Doral
D.C. health inspector found one hotel kitchen in need of a good cleaning
Earlier this month, a D.C. Department of Health inspector left three of the Trump Hotel D.C.’s kitchens finding no issues to be addressed—but a fourth cooking area was in need of a little attention.
In its first inspection on record, the hotel’s northwest kitchen had three health-code violations:
water wasn’t at least 100 degrees in the cook line’s hand-washing sink
shelves and refrigerators on the cook line needed to be cleaned
a garbage disposal wasn’t working
The water temperature and garbage disposal were fixed while the inspector was onsite; as of May 16 though, the shelves and fridge still were in need of a scrubbing.
No violations were found in the hotel’s banquet kitchen or employee cafeteria. Squeeze bottles on the cooking line weren’t labeled in the in-room dining kitchen, but that issue was corrected on site.
D.C.’s Department of Health does not issue grades, ratings, or percentages after inspecting a property.
An inspector for the department’s health regulation and licensing administration examined the four food-preparation areas on May 16; her reports were just posted in the past few days.
Commander-in-chief’s businesses looked to profit off holiday to honor fallen U.S. soldiers
On Memorial Day, Trump Ferry Point confused its branded golf pin flag with the U.S. flag.
TrumpStore.com wanted you to honor America’s fallen troops by buying a Trump-branded teddy bear from the U.S. commander-in-chief's online shop.
In fact, the Memorial Day holiday took over the top part of TrumpStore.com’s home page yesterday.
A glimpse of the foreign officials, government employees, politicians, lobbyists, and the like who patronize or appear at Trump businesses. Most of the 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 News’s Laura Ingraham posed in the lobby with a member of the D.C. Republican Party’s advisory council, Jim Patterson.
Deborah Cox Roush, a political appointee of the president working in the U.S. government as the director for Senior Corps at the Corporation for National and Community Service, lunched after a White House tour.
On Rolling Thunder weekend, North Carolina Bikers for Trump visited their namesake’s hotel. In the photo are the founder of Bikers for Trump, Chris Cox, and Sean Kilbane. He works for JUUL in its public markets/defense sector and previously was the campaign manager for former Rep. Robert Pittenger (R–NC), who was primaried in the 2018 election (in the district where the general election needed to be re-run because of election fraud).
“Trump embraces right-wing One America News Network to make Fox News jealous” by Asawin Suebsaeng for The Daily Beast included a couple of sightings:
One evening last week, Neil W. McCabe, a Breitbart veteran who now works as a weekend White House correspondent at One America News Network (OAN), found himself in the lobby-bar area of Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel is a top hangout for Donald Trump’s fans, administration officials, campaign brass, Republican staffers, and the like. And as he mingled in the lobby, McCabe started talking to one of those denizens: Meredith Hope, an avowed Trump supporter and designer who runs a jewelry and accessories business in the Palm Beach and D.C. markets.
“Colby Covington, the “1st ever #UFC Champion invited to The @WhiteHouse #MAGA 🇺🇸” stopped by Trump Tower New York to visit with Don Jr.
White House staffer Ivanka Trump showed off the fireworks display at her family’s Trump Bedminster club. Proof of location from Twitter user @John_marquee, using images from Ivanka’s Instagram story (follow the link for more examples), another Instagram user confirming Bedminster’s fireworks display, a publicity shot from Bedminster’s website, and Google Maps.
Other Trump Organization news
“Trump lawyers, House committees reach agreement to hold off on enforcing Deutsche Bank, Capital One subpoenas” by Cristina Alesci for CNN
“Trump restructures legal team to battle investigations in U.S. Congress” by Devdiscourse
“Kushner Cos. gets $800 million federally backed apartment loan” by David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby for Bloomberg
You too can own the jacket Trump sported for his photo shoot with Shinzo Abe, noted Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (involved in two emoluments suits against the president).
Trump Organization EVPs Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are appearing in their father’s campaign ads reported Judd Legum of Popular Information
“A leading ethics watchdog has called for a breakdown of how much public money was spent on Eric Trump’s whirlwind tour of his father’s Scottish golf resorts earlier this month” by Martyn McLaughlin for The Scotsman
“Guests left stunned as Donald Trump personally redecorated Turnberry resort” by Martyn McLaughlin for The Scotsman
“Trump Tower condo prices continue to drop” by Justin Rohrlich for Quartz
U.S. taxpayers came closer to owning Paul Manafort’s former condo in Trump Tower
Microsoft has been preserving Trump Organization emails for almost two years, reported journalist Marcy Wheeler, alerting two Congressmen who are overseeing investigations into the president’s businesses.
White House advisor Ivanka Trump congratulated Indian prime minister Narendra Modi on his party’s election showing and then she retweeted his praise of her. Units are still available in Trump Tower Mumbai, by the way.
Trump Dubai promoted its pro shop with a photo of recent presidential medal of freedom recipient, Tiger Woods.
The Trump Hotel D.C.’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, wants you to know he’s ready to drum up foreign business for the U.S. president’s hotel.
President Trump chose not to divest; Americans need to know who’s paying him
Unlike his predecessors, Donald Trump did not divest his businesses upon becoming U.S. president. Think that may be a problem? Become an 1100 Pennsylvania member, and support reporting on who’s spending money at the president’s businesses—and what they may be getting in return. Memberships are this newsletter’s sole source of revenue. Select the red “Subscribe now” button and become a member by paying just $5 a month or $50 a year. Thank you.
House investigations, current status (latest change, May 28, 2019)
UPDATED Financial Services
The committee 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. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances. President Trump, Don. Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and their businesses sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on April 30, however, in an attempt to prevent them from sharing financial records with Congress. Deutsche Bank reportedly has been willing to cooperate with lawmakers. On May 3, the Trumps filed for a preliminary injunction to block the subpoenas. But judge Edgardo Ramos declined to issue that injunction on May 22, saying that the financial institutions can comply with the lawmakers’ request. The Trumps’ appealed that ruling on May 24. The lawmakers and Trumps agreed to refrain from enforcing the subpoenas until after the appellate court issues its ruling.
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.
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 EVPs Donald Trump Jr. and 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. And on May 21, the committee did in fact subpoena Hicks and Donaldson. 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.
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.
On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances. President Trump, Don. Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and their businesses sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on April 30, however, in an attempt to prevent them from sharing financial records with Congress. Schiff said Deutsche Bank has been willing to cooperate with lawmakers. On May 3, the Trumps filed for a preliminary injunction to block the subpoenas. But judge Edgardo Ramos declined to issue that injunction on May 22, saying that the financial institutions can comply with the lawmakers’ request. The Trumps’ appealed that ruling on May 24. The lawmakers and Trumps agreed to refrain from enforcing the subpoenas until after the appellate court issues its ruling.
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 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. And on April 12 Cummings wrote to the GSA again, this time requesting all monthly reports from the Trump Hotel D.C., information about any liens on the hotel, a slew of correspondence between the Trump Org and GSA, and legal opinions regarding the Trump Org’s compliance with the lease. Cummings gave an April 26 deadline; staffers for the committee and Cummings have not replied to inquiries asking if GSA replied and to what extent.
The committee also has requested 10 years of Trump’s financial records. And on March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 12, Cummings notified committee members that he plans to subpoena Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, for his financial statements. President Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Hotel D.C. sued Cummings and Mazars USA on April 22 in an attempt to prevent the release of Trump’s financial records. Cummings postponed the subpoenas’ deadline while the courts address the president’s suit. On May 20, U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta denied the president’s motion. Trump appealed the next day and two days after that, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judges agreed to fast track the case, with oral arguments scheduled for July 12. But without further relief, Mazars could start turning over documents as soon as next week.
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.’”
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). After the IRS missed Neal’s deadline and then an extension, Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin said he’d make a decision whether or not to release the returns by May 6. He declined to do so. On May 10, the committee subpoenaed Mnuchin and IRS commissioner Charles Rettig, giving them a May 17 deadline to turn over Trump’s tax returns. Mnuchin again declined to comply. Neal suspects he’ll know his next move by May 24, but earlier he indicated he’ll take the issue to the federal courts.
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, May 24, 2019)
D.C. and MD attorneys general’s emoluments lawsuit
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. 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. On April 30, Sullivan denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the suit. While the president’s attorneys have a supplemental brief due on May 28, on May 14 they filed a motion to stay the proceedings while they appeal Sullivan’s decision. A week later, the lawmakers opposed that motion.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit
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. Cork filed its first appellant brief on May 15, arguing “the District Court failed to recognize the evolving nature of the common law of unfair competition in the District of Columbia and erroneously treated the prior cases as if they were a series of statutes that Appellant had to satisfy to state a claim. Attorneys for the president and his hotel asked for a 31-day extension for filing their brief, with Cork’s consent, on May 23.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination
D.C. superior court (direct link not available, search for case 2017 CA 006517 B)
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, May 28, 2019)
❌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 May 16, 2019
❌Pastry kitchen—two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️In-room dining—one violation on May 16, 2019; it was corrected on site
❌Northwest kitchen—three violations on May 16, 2019; two were corrected on site
✔️Gift shop—no violations on May 7, 2018
✔️Employee cafeteria—no violations on May 16, 2019
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
“The Brexit Party wins the battle for Facebook clicks: Despite spending no more than rival parties on ads, it has got more likes, shares and comments than the rest combined” by The Economist
Thanks for reading. If you like what you saw, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a member. 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.