One year ago, President Donald Trump infamously presented a giant stack of papers in a press conference to show he was turning over control of the Trump Organization to his sons. Now, Democrats want proof.
Members of the House Oversight Committee called on chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) to investigate whether Trump is violating the emoluments clause when foreign officials stay at his hotels.
Democrats demanded documents from the Trump Organization back in May, but were largely rebuffed. Now, capitalizing on the anniversary of the presser, Dems are pushing to get their hands on the documents by Jan. 20, requesting that Gowdy issue subpoenas. They also called on Gowdy to open an investigation into the Trump Organization.
“Over the past year, President Trump and his attorneys have stalled virtually any credible oversight, and unfortunately our committee has done nothing to push back on these efforts, press for answers to these questions, or obtain documents that would assist our efforts to carry out our duties under the Constitution to act as an independent check on the president and the executive branch,” the letter states.
In his press conference a year ago, one of Trump’s lawyer’s, Sheri Dillion, said that the accusations, which were already piling up before Trump took office, were invalid.
The so-called Emoluments Clause has never been interpreted, however, to apply to fair value exchanges that have absolutely nothing to do with an office holder.
No one would have thought when the Constitution was written that paying your hotel bill was an emolument. Instead, it would have been thought of as a value-for-value exchange; not a gift, not a title, and not an emolument.
Democrats, in their press release, said they are specifically looking for proof that the president is donating profits made off foreign governments.
One year ago today, President-elect Trump held a press conference to announce that he would not liquidate his assets or establish an independent blind trust. Instead, his attorney, Sheri Dillon, stood in front of a table stacked with manila folders and said, “The Constitution does not require President-elect Trump to do anything here,” but he “is going to voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the United States Treasury.”
When the Oversight Committee made the original request for the documents, the Trump Organization turned in an eight-page pamphlet, Democrats said.
After Trump’s press conference in January in front of stacks of paper—where reporters speculated the pages were blank—officials on Trump’s team allowed reporters to view six pages out of the entire stack.
In May, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member of the Oversight Committee, called the Trump Organization’s response unacceptable.
“If President Trump believes that identifying all of the prohibited foreign emoluments he is currently receiving would be too challenging or would harm his business ventures, his options are to divest his ownership or submit a proposal to Congress to ask for our consent,” Cummings wrote.
Gowdy previously made his mark on the Oversight Committee for investigating Hillary Clinton for her role in the September 2011 Benghazi attacks.
H/T Associated Press