Two Cabinet members fêted Kuwait at their boss'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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Trump Cabinet members Ross and Carson fêted Kuwait at Trump’s hotel
Last night Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and HUD Secretary Ben Carson attended the Kuwaiti embassy in the United States’ national day celebration at the Trump Hotel D.C., according to a person who attended the event and social-media postings.
It marks the second year in a row Ross was present, and apparently the second consecutive night he visited his boss’s hotel (Ross is currently embroiled in ethics scandals). While no pictures of Ross there have surfaced yet, a person at the Kuwaiti party confirmed his presence to 1100 Pennsylvania. Carson was last spotted at the hotel earlier this month.
An attendee who spoke with 1100 Pennsylvania estimated 200 to 300 people attended the event. In addition to Ross, this guest spotted Deputy Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce, and military members from the United States and other countries.
Also in attendance, of course, was Ambassador Salem Al-Sabah and his wife, Rima.
A flight officer in U.S. Navy, Angela Domingos, was at the commander-in-chief’s hotel to attend a foreign government’s party. “Yes this is my job 😆,” she wrote.
And here are some other photos a guest shared privately with 1100 Pennsylvania:
Trump, Inc. spent a night at the Trump Hotel D.C.
For today’s Trump, Inc. from ProPublica and WNYC, hosts Ilya Marritz and Meg Cramer “spent a night at President Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington, D.C.—and we met lots of interesting people”:
The episode does an excellent job capturing the issues regarding President Trump’s ownership of the hotel. As will be clear seconds after hitting that play button, I was there with them and feel like I fulfilled my destiny by drawing an explicit-language warning from public radio. Check out the 1100 Pennsylvania from the following morning for more details about what we saw, along with pictures and video:
And some postscripts:
turns out a second Nigerian presidential candidate was at the Trump Hotel D.C. that same weekend, as were three elected Nigerian government officials who were part of Atiku’s entourage
Atiku held a town-hall meeting for Nigerian diaspora and members of his party at the hotel
this morning we learned that Atiku lost his bid for election
The Republican National Committee spent another $2,487.90 at Trump properties, mostly the D.C. hotel, in January 2019.
Other noteworthy sightings
The president of lobbying firm the Da Vinci Group, Mark Smith, a Trump Hotel D.C. regular, had a lovely evening with the CEO of Avella Specialty Pharmacy, John Musil, and a staff assistant for U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R–WY), Sean Joseph Cullen Smith (who’s the son of the lobbyist mentioned at the beginning of this entry).
The national president of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management, John Currier, dined at BLT Prime, which is one of his favorite restaurants in D.C. He ate with Paul Miller, a managing partner of Miller/Wenhold Capitol Strategies, “your government affairs and association management firm.” Miller also “started the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics where he currently serves as president.”
The managing partner of Coast to Coast strategies (“Where business and government comes together”) and a former chairman of the Michigan GOP, Saulius Saul Anuzis, was completely shocked by his surprise party at the hotel.
Russian singers Victoria Sukhareva and Артём Старченко enjoyed a wonderful evening.
Four-time kickboxing world champion Emory Andrew Tate III inked an endorsement deal for digital products in the hotel’s lobby.
Other Trump Organization news
“Former acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has agreed to meet a second time with House lawmakers to clarify public testimony he gave earlier this month, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said.” By Dustin Volz for The Wall Street Journal.
“What Michael Cohen’s testimony will tell us about Trump’s business, bluster, and wealth” by Adam Davidson for The New Yorker
“The Trump SoHo Hotel was struggling to survive. Then it dropped its name” by Nikki Ekstein for Bloomberg
Trump Realty advertised the “unique opportunity” of renting a home adjacent to Mar-a-Lago. Asking price: $100,000 per month.
House investigations, current status (latest change, Feb. 27, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24.
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.
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.
UPDATED 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 a White House attorney and one of Trump’s personal attorneys provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” A Feb. 20 memo from the majority laid out the scope for the Feb. 27 hearing with Michael Cohen. Topics include the Trump Hotel D.C. And, according to The Wall Street Journal, “Cohen also will make public some of Mr. Trump’s private financial statements and allege that Mr. Trump at times inflated or deflated his net worth for business and personal purposes, including avoiding paying property taxes.” And “Cohen will also discuss a check he received in March 2017 for a $35,000 installment that was signed by Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son.”
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
Due to a formatting error, yesterday’s 1100 Pennsylvania was published with a couple of broken links. The web version has been corrected and those links are
“Trump’s Biggest Potential Conflict Of Interest Is Hiding In Plain Sight” by Dan Alexander and Matt Drange for Forbes
“At President Trump’s hotel in New York, revenue went up this spring—thanks to a visit from big-spending Saudis” by David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O’Connell for The Washington Post
One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)
“They think they know you, Lionel Messi” by Rowan Ricardo Phillips for The Paris Review
Thanks for reading. If you like what you see, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a paying member ($5/month or $50/year). 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.