web analytics
a

Facebook

Twitter

Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.

703-406-7616

Call For Free 15/M Consultation

Facebook

Twitter

Search
Menu
Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 62)

Military Stopover at Scottish Airport Includes a Stay at a Trump Resort

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-turnberry-facebookJumbo Military Stopover at Scottish Airport Includes a Stay at a Trump Resort United States Defense and Military Forces Turnberry (Scotland Golf Resort) Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Government Contracts and Procurement GLASGOW, Scotland Conflicts of Interest airports

WASHINGTON — United States military personnel stayed at the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland in March when an Air Force plane stopped at a nearby airport to refuel on the way to Kuwait from the United States, an Air Force spokesman and a Trump Organization representative confirmed Saturday, while defending the decision as a routine matter.

Questions about the overnight stays at the Trump golf resort emerged after House investigators wrote to the department in June to ask about the surge in military stopovers at the obscure Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is 23 miles from the Trump property.

Federal contract documents show that the Defense Department signed an agreement with the Prestwick airport to serve as a refueling location for military flights in August 2016, during the final months of the Obama administration. It could not be determined on Saturday if the department had contracts with the airport before then.

The records also show that the first payments under this contract started in early October 2017 and that a total of 917 payments for “liquid petroleum” have since been made at a total cost of $17.2 million. It is unclear how many stopovers this represents, as multiple payments were often made on the same day.

Details about the flights, and possible visits to Turnberry by United States military personnel, were first reported by The Guardian newspaper in early 2018 and then again on Friday by Politico.

In June, Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to the Pentagon asking if the refueling stops might be part of a politically motivated effort to help keep the struggling Prestwick airport open, and to help drive sales at Trump Turnberry.

“The airport closest to the Trump Turnberry golf course — Glasgow Prestwick Airport — has been viewed as integral to the golf course’s financial success, yet it too has lost millions of dollars every year since its purchase by the Scottish government in 2013,” Mr. Cummings’s letter said. “Given the president’s continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions.”

Mr. Trump himself has helped bolster the profile of the Turnberry resort, visiting the property in June 2018 and during his presidential campaign in 2016. Mr. Trump has claimed to have spent about $264 million since 2014 to buy and renovate the property — a figure that has not been verified independently.

There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns just a few miles from the Prestwick airport, most of them much less expensive than the full advertised rate at Trump Turnberry, where rooms this time of year typically sell for about $380 a night.

But Brig. Gen. Edward W. Thomas Jr., the Air Force spokesman, said in a statement that the choice of the Trump resort came after the crew “made reservations through the Defense Travel System and used the closest available and least expensive accommodations to the airfield within the crews’ allowable hotel rates.” He added that “the Trump property ($136) was less expensive than the Marriott property ($161) and both were under,” the maximum allowable spending amount, which is $166.

The decision to use the Prestwick airport was “nothing that falls outside the guidelines,” he said.

“The stopover of a U.S. Air Force C-17 in Glasgow, Scotland, is not unusual,” he said in the statement. “Every two and half minutes an Air Force transport aircraft takes off or lands somewhere around the globe. As our aircrews serve on these international airlift missions, they follow strict guidelines on contracting for hotel accommodations and all expenditures of taxpayer dollars.”

The Trump family bought the Turnberry golf course in 2014. It generated $23.4 million in revenue last year, up by $3 million compared to 2017.

A representative for the Trump Organization also confirmed Saturday that United States military personnel have occasionally stayed at the Trump Turnberry. But the representative said that it happened only a few times a year and that the company was charging the government a discounted rate of about $100 a night.

Any profits from the stay, beyond covering basic services like housekeeping, are being paid back to the federal government, the Trump representative said, adding that it is illegal for a private company to give a service to the federal government at no cost.

The Guardian last year reported that the Scottish government sought out the contract with the Defense Department to try to help increase revenue at the airport. That effort also included discussions with Trump Turnberry about offering special rates for travelers that used the hotel or other ways to lift business there.

The Prestwick airport, which does not have direct flights from the United States, has struggled financially in recent years. The Scottish government bought the airport in 2013 in an attempt to keep it operational, and it is now trying to sell it.

The next closest airport to the Trump Turnberry resort is the main international airport in Glasgow, which is 55 miles away, or nearly twice the distance. A spokesman for Trump Organization said most international travelers headed to Trump Turnberry already use the larger Glasgow airport, so the Trump resort received no major benefit by keeping the Prestwick airport operational.

The Trump Organization announced in 2014 that it was teaming up with executives at the Prestwick airport to try to drive more traffic to its runways.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Glasgow Prestwick Airport,” Mr. Trump said during a visit to the airport at the time, after he bought the golf course. “They have a tremendous facility with a unique, rich history.”

The news media in Scotland reported at the time that as part of the deal, the Trump Organization would offer rides from the airport to the Turnberry resort either by a Trump-owned helicopter or via hired cars.

“Forging a new partnership between the airport and the Trump Organization will undoubtedly be mutually beneficial to both parties,” Iain Cochrane, then the chief executive of the airport, was quoted as saying at the time.

Mr. Trump, sharing a link about the deal on Twitter, wrote, “Donald Trump pledges to make Prestwick Airport ‘really successful.’”

House investigators said they were frustrated that no one from the Defense Department had responded to questions about operations at the Prestwick airport.

“The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” the committee said in a statement. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Military Stopover at Scottish Airport Sometimes Includes a Stay at a Trump Resort

Westlake Legal Group 07dc-turnberry-facebookJumbo Military Stopover at Scottish Airport Sometimes Includes a Stay at a Trump Resort United States Defense and Military Forces Turnberry (Scotland Golf Resort) Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Government Contracts and Procurement GLASGOW, Scotland Conflicts of Interest airports

WASHINGTON — United States military personnel have occasionally stayed at the Trump Turnberry golf resort in Scotland while Defense Department planes stop over and refuel at the nearby airport, according to a person with direct knowledge of the arrangement.

Questions about the overnight stays at the Trump golf resort emerged after House investigators wrote to the department in June to ask about the surge in military stopovers at the obscure Glasgow Prestwick Airport, which is 23 miles from the Trump property.

Federal contract documents show that the Defense Department signed an agreement with the Prestwick airport to serve as a refueling location for military flights in August 2016, during the final months of the Obama administration. It could not be determined on Saturday if the department had contracts with the airport before then.

The records also show that the first payments under this contract started in early October 2017 and that a total of 917 payments for “liquid petroleum” have since been made at a total cost of $17.2 million. It is unclear how many stopovers this represents, as multiple payments were often made on the same day.

Details about the flights, and possible visits to Turnberry by United States military personnel, were first reported by The Guardian newspaper in early 2018 and then again on Friday by Politico.

In June, Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland, the chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, wrote to the Pentagon asking if the refueling stops might be part of a politically motivated effort to help keep the struggling Prestwick airport open, and to help drive sales at Trump Turnberry.

“The airport closest to the Trump Turnberry golf course — Glasgow Prestwick Airport — has been viewed as integral to the golf course’s financial success, yet it too has lost millions of dollars every year since its purchase by the Scottish government in 2013,” Mr. Cummings’s letter said. “Given the president’s continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions.”

Mr. Trump himself has helped bolster the profile of the Turnberry resort, visiting the property in June 2018 and during his presidential campaign in 2016. Mr. Trump has claimed to have spent about $264 million since 2014 to buy and renovate the property — a figure that has not been verified independently.

There are more than two dozen hotels, guesthouses and inns just a few miles from the Prestwick airport, most of them much less expensive than the full advertised rate at Trump Turnberry, where rooms this time of year typically sell for about $380 a night.

The Trump family bought the Turnberry golf course in 2014. It generated $23.4 million in revenue last year, up by $3 million compared to 2017.

A representative for the Trump Organization confirmed Saturday that United States military personnel have occasionally stayed at the Trump Turnberry. But the representative said that it happened only a few times a year and that the company was charging the government a discounted rate.

Any profits from the stay, beyond covering basic services like housekeeping, are being paid back to the federal government, the Trump representative said, adding that it is illegal for a private company to give a service to the federal government at no cost.

Representatives from the Defense Department did not respond on Saturday to requests for comment so the arrangements could not be independently confirmed. But when a reporter from the Guardian wrote about the flights, a Pentagon spokeswoman rejected any suggestion that the visits to the airport were intended to help the Trump resort.

“The selection and use of any airfield by the Department of Defense is guided strictly by that airfield’s ability to support combined (U.S., U.K. and NATO) air operations in support of our shared security objectives,” Capt. Jhanelle Haag, an Air Force spokeswoman, told The Guardian.

The Guardian also reported that the Scottish government sought out the contract with the Defense Department to try to help increase revenue at the airport. That effort also included discussions with Trump Turnberry about offering special rates for travelers that used the hotel or other ways to lift business there.

The Prestwick airport, which does not have direct flights from the United States, has struggled financially in recent years. The Scottish government bought the airport in 2013 in an attempt to keep it operational, and it is now trying to sell it.

The next closest airport to the Trump Turnberry resort is the main international airport in Glasgow, which is 55 miles away, or nearly twice the distance. A spokesman for Trump Organization said most international travelers headed to Trump Turnberry already use the larger Glasgow airport, so the Trump resort received no major benefit by keeping the Prestwick airport operational.

The Trump Organization announced in 2014 that it was teaming up with executives at the Prestwick airport to try to drive more traffic to its runways.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Glasgow Prestwick Airport,” Mr Trump said during a visit to the airport at the time, after he bought the golf course and was renovating it. “They have a tremendous facility with a unique, rich history.”

The news media in Scotland reported at the time that as part of the deal, the Trump Organization would offer rides from the airport to the Turnberry resort either by a Trump-owned helicopter or via hired cars.

“Forging a new partnership between the airport and the Trump Organization will undoubtedly be mutually beneficial to both parties,” Iain Cochrane, then the chief executive of Prestwick Airport, was quoted as saying at the time.

Mr. Trump, sharing a link about the deal on on Twitter, wrote, “Donald Trump pledges to make Prestwick Airport ‘really successful.’”

House investigators said they were frustrated that no one from the Defense Department had responded to questions about operations at the Prestwick airport.

“The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation,” the committee said in a statement. “The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway)

WASHINGTON — At a table in the lobby bar of the Trump International Hotel this week, the final details of a black-tie, 40th anniversary gala for the Concerned Women for America were being worked out by the conservative group’s staff.

There was the contract with the president’s hotel to be reviewed. And there was also unfinished business with the White House — logistical issues posed by two guests from the administration, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and most important, the status of the video message and letter from President Trump himself that the group wanted for the dinner.

“That is the gold standard,” said Kenda Bartlett, Concerned Women for America’s executive director. “If we can get that, the rest of this is just dressing.”

Staying at the Trump hotel or hosting an event in one of its ballrooms is hardly a guarantee of getting something in return from the Trump administration, or even getting on Mr. Trump’s personal radar. But many people like Ms. Bartlett have learned that it also does not hurt.

For a group like Concerned Women for America, with its agenda of religious freedom and limiting abortion rights, for a lobbyist looking for a change in some federal regulation, or for a Republican candidate seeking donors, patronizing the hotel or the president’s Mar-a-Lago club or another of his properties has become a routine part of doing business in the Trump era. For some of the president’s supporters, it is even a way of giving thanks.

“President Trump has really been on the side of the evangelicals and we want to do everything we can to make him successful,” said Sharon Bolan Yerby, an evangelical minister from Dallas, who had dinner at the hotel last fall, and then headed over to the White House the next day for a “faith briefing” of religious leaders. “And if that means having dinner or staying in his hotel, we are going to do so.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160323090_718eac56-b612-461b-9be5-f5aa0c9b9bde-articleLarge Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

The bar in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel is frequented by lobbyists, administration officials and donors.CreditThe New York Times

To ethics lawyers, the most extraordinary aspect of the daily merging of Mr. Trump’s official duties and his commercial interests both in Washington and around the world is that it has now become almost routine.

Since Mr. Trump became president, there have been thousands of visits to his properties, not only by Mr. Trump himself, but by foreign leaders, lobbyists, Republican candidates, members of Congress, cabinet members and others with ties to the president. At least 90 members of Congress, 250 Trump administration officials and more than 110 foreign officials have been spotted at Trump properties since 2017, according to social media posts and counts by various watchdog groups.

“It reflects the normalization of corruption — this is just how business works in Trump’s Washington D.C.,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit ethics group. “We have witnessed a stunning degradation of ethical norms.”

Federal Election Commission records, meanwhile, show that since January 2017, at least $5.6 million has been spent at Trump properties by political candidates or party organizations, including by Mr. Trump’s own political operation, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.

In the four years before Mr. Trump’s bid for president, these same hotels and other venues collected a total of only $119,000 in federally regulated payments from political groups.

The merging of interests became an issue this week when Mr. Pence, according to his chief of staff, spent two nights at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Ireland at the suggestion of the president — even though he had a series of meetings on the other side of the country, a 181-mile car and helicopter ride away.

Profiting from the Trump Name

Political spending benefiting Trump-owned businesses surged after Donald J. Trump began his bid for president and has continued since he has been in office. This is just one slice of spending benefiting Trump businesses, as foreign governments, trade associations and religious groups also hold events at Trump venues.

Westlake Legal Group 0908-nat-web-DC-TRUMPHOTELS-Artboard_2 Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Spending by political candidates, party organizations

and other federally regulated political groups,

including the Trump campaign itself, at

Trump-owned properties and businesses

TOTAL ANNUAL SPENDING

In thousands

’19

(partial

year)

SPENDING BY PROPERTY

2017- present

= $1 million

Trump Tower

Trump Int’l Hotel and Tower

Trump International Hotel

Mar-a-Lago

Trump National Doral

Westlake Legal Group 0908-nat-web-DC-TRUMPHOTELS-Artboard_3 Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Spending by political candidates, party

organizations and other federally regulated

political groups, including the Trump campaign

itself, at Trump-owned properties and businesses

TOTAL ANNUAL SPENDING

’19

(partial

year)

SPENDING BY PROPERTY

= $1 million

2017- present

Trump Int’l

Hotel and Tower

Trump Tower

Trump Int’l Hotel

Mar-a-Lago

Trump Nat’l Doral

Note: Two Trump properties in the west, the

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles and the

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, are not shown.

By The New York Times | Source: F.E.C. data, analysis by Public Citzen

The episode took place only a matter of days after Mr. Trump, at the end of the Group of 7 meeting in southern France, suggested he might hold a summit of global leaders next year at the Trump National Doral Miami, one of his Florida resorts.

That prompted congressional Democrats to announce they would begin an investigation into the president’s promotion of his branded properties for government business and the potential abuse of taxpayer funds to enrich the president.

“The committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family and his companies,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, wrote in a letter to the White House.

Investigators are also examining the increased use by the Pentagon of an airport in Scotland for refueling stopovers, visits that might also have included stays by the military crews at the nearby Trump Turnberry golf resort, as first reported by Politico.

But Mr. Trump has simply brushed off the criticism, noting that the business his hotels receive is simply a testament to the quality of the hospitality offered.

“People like my product, what can I tell you?” Mr. Trump said this week. “I can’t help it. But you know. And I guess they say, ‘We want to stay at a place that’s better than someplace else.’”

Sean Spicer, President Trump’s first press secretary, held his book launch party at the Trump International Hotel last year.CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times

Omar Navarro, a Republican from California running for the House, has hosted fund-raising events at the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, and more recently set up a series of meetings with donors at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. When he came to Washington this year for the Fourth of July, he stayed at the Trump International Hotel.

“When you have an event there or do something there, it signifies that you are supporting the president, and supporting what he is doing,” Mr. Navarro said. “It sends a clear message.”

Current and former White House officials insist they have never witnessed Mr. Trump making any explicit demand, or suggestion, that his cabinet members or Republican allies stay at a Trump property or use one to host an event. But they have noted that a president who is extremely effective at communicating between the lines does not have to be explicit.

Mr. Trump, they said, spends more time talking about his properties in private than he does in public, and even as president, remains intimately involved with club minutiae, like knowing all the names on his Mar-a-Lago membership roll.

Anthony Scaramucci, for example, the former White House communications director who lasted 11 days in the job, said that “no one pressured” him to stay for as much as $700 a night at the Trump hotel in Washington, where he lived during part of his short tenure.

But he said there do not need to be any marching orders from Mr. Trump or his inner circle for people to understand the potential benefits of being seen there.

Mr. Trump suggested that the next Group of 7 summit of global leaders should be at the Trump National Doral Miami, one of his Florida resorts.CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

“They’re conforming their behavior to what they think he would like,” Mr. Scaramucci said.

The pattern was set the weekend in January 2017 that Mr. Trump was sworn in and his inauguration committee paid the Trump Organization, the collective name for the president’s businesses, for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, racking up a bill of $1.5 million for that event alone. (In this case, corporations and friends and allies of the president covered the cost of the inauguration.)

Various outside groups have at least tried to keep a running tally of all the events since then.

At least 90 members of Congress — including at least 26 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate — have made 188 or more visits to a Trump property, according to a count by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a newsletter that tracks social media detailing such visits called 1100 Pennsylvania, which is the address of the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Another 250 Trump administration officials have been seen during at least 630 visits to Trump properties since 2017. And more than 110 officials from nearly 60 different foreign governments have visited a Trump hotel, golf course or other property, according to the count by CREW, as the group is known.

These visits to Trump venues include 24 of the 32 people who have served in Mr. Trump’s cabinet. And that in a way understates the pattern, as a number of these cabinet members have been to Trump properties again and again, like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been spotted at a Trump-owned venue at least 21 times.

Since he was sworn in, Mr. Trump himself has spent 293 days at one of his family businesses — that is nearly a third of his time in office. These visits have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal government payments to cover the lodging expenses of the Secret Service and other personnel who accompany him.

Mr. Trump’s hotel in Washington — which attracts by far the bulk of the spending by political groups that support the president — is one of the better performing assets in Mr. Trump’s portfolio. Last year, it generated $40.8 million in revenue, a small increase compared with 2017, even while overall revenue at the company declined.

Mr. Trump shaking hands with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, at the Group of 20 summit this year in Japan. The government of Saudi Arabia spent $190,273 at the Trump hotel in early 2017.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Some of the biggest chunks in political spending since 2017 are from events held at the Washington hotel and sponsored by the Republican National Committee, as well as Protect the House, a fund-raising committee supporting House Republicans, and America First Action, a super PAC affiliated with Mr. Trump.

Dozens of Republican candidates have held events at other Trump venues in New Jersey, Nevada, California, Florida, Virginia, New York and Illinois.

“If you’re a Republican, it’s a friendly place to go to see a lot of similar-minded people,” said Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s press secretary, who has stayed at multiple Trump properties in Washington, New York City and Chicago.

And sometimes just being there could help.

Judy Shelton, a Trump economic adviser, did a series of interviews from the Trump hotel in Washington, including one in which she suggested holding an international conference of financial leaders at Mr. Trump’s club in Florida. Not long afterward the president announced he intended to nominate her to the Federal Reserve Board.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the former homeland security secretary who never clicked with Mr. Trump, was a regular at a see-and-be-seen table at BLT, the restaurant in the Trump hotel. But it did not stop Mr. Trump from eventually firing her.

Departing White House staff members often choose the Trump International Hotel for their goodbye parties. There is even a monthly happy hour, Trump First Tuesdays, which draws dozens of lobbyists, business executives and political operatives.

The frequency of visits by foreign officials to Mr. Trump’s hotel has led to allegations that Mr. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign government funds.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

The big events drive equally large payments to the Trump family.

The Concerned Women for America’s gala next week, for example, is expected to draw about 500 people to a ballroom dinner. But it will also fill up more than 100 rooms at the hotel that night, and result in countless other dollars spent at the bar, as the group celebrates its Trump-era victories, like the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The president’s son Eric Trump said in an interview that the business coming to the Washington hotel and other company properties was not about politics.

“We have the best property in Washington D.C.,” he said on Saturday. “People like the brand.”

Ethics lawyers said that even if the White House and the president were not overtly pressuring individuals seeking help from the federal government to visit a Trump brand, the pattern was still troubling.

“The danger from the beginning was less that the president would press people to stay at his hotel,” said Noah Bookbinder, a former federal prosecutor who is now executive director of CREW. “But people in the administration, congressional allies, industry executives, foreign government leaders — they see that the president reacts favorably to people doing business with him. So they do it.”

The visits that have drawn perhaps the most scrutiny are those by officials of foreign governments. Their frequency has led to allegations that Mr. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign government funds.

The single biggest known tab was paid by the government of Saudi Arabia, which disclosed that it spent $190,273 at the Trump hotel in early 2017, as well as an additional $78,204 on catering.

The hotel has on an almost daily basis drawn visits from foreign officials. This week it was Imran Ismail, the governor of a Pakistani province who was in Washington to meet with the State Department and members of Congress to discuss human rights issues in Kashmir, among other topics. The visit was first noticed by Zach Everson, who runs the 1100 Pennsylvania newsletter.

Jose Manuel del Gallego Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to the United States, explained his own reasoning for scheduling an event at the hotel last year.

“The Trump hotel may have some political undertones because it is associated with the U.S. president,” Mr. Romualdez wrote in a column in a Philippine newspaper. “But since several other embassies have also held their national day celebrations at the Trump hotel, which were well attended — I decided — why not do it there, too.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway)

WASHINGTON — At a table in the lobby bar of the Trump International Hotel this week, the final details of a black-tie, 40th anniversary gala for the Concerned Women for America were being worked out by the conservative group’s staff.

There was the contract with the president’s hotel to be reviewed. And there was also unfinished business with the White House — logistical issues posed by two guests from the administration, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and most important, the status of the video message and letter from President Trump himself that the group wanted for the dinner.

“That is the gold standard,” said Kenda Bartlett, Concerned Women for America’s executive director. “If we can get that, the rest of this is just dressing.”

Staying at the Trump hotel or hosting an event in one of its ballrooms is hardly a guarantee of getting something in return from the Trump administration, or even getting on Mr. Trump’s personal radar. But many people like Ms. Bartlett have learned that it also does not hurt.

For a group like Concerned Women for America, with its agenda of religious freedom and limiting abortion rights, for a lobbyist looking for a change in some federal regulation, or for a Republican candidate seeking donors, patronizing the hotel or the president’s Mar-a-Lago club or another of his properties has become a routine part of doing business in the Trump era. For some of the president’s supporters, it is even a way of giving thanks.

“President Trump has really been on the side of the evangelicals and we want to do everything we can to make him successful,” said Sharon Bolan Yerby, an evangelical minister from Dallas, who had dinner at the hotel last fall, and then headed over to the White House the next day for a “faith briefing” of religious leaders. “And if that means having dinner or staying in his hotel, we are going to do so.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_160323090_718eac56-b612-461b-9be5-f5aa0c9b9bde-articleLarge Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

The bar in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel is frequented by lobbyists, administration officials and donors.CreditThe New York Times

To ethics lawyers, the most extraordinary aspect of the daily merging of Mr. Trump’s official duties and his commercial interests both in Washington and around the world is that it has now become almost routine.

Since Mr. Trump became president, there have been thousands of visits to his properties, not only by Mr. Trump himself, but by foreign leaders, lobbyists, Republican candidates, members of Congress, cabinet members and others with ties to the president. At least 90 members of Congress, 250 Trump administration officials and more than 110 foreign officials have been spotted at Trump properties since 2017, according to social media posts and counts by various watchdog groups.

“It reflects the normalization of corruption — this is just how business works in Trump’s Washington D.C.,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a nonprofit ethics group. “We have witnessed a stunning degradation of ethical norms.”

Federal Election Commission records, meanwhile, show that since January 2017, at least $5.6 million has been spent at Trump properties by political candidates or party organizations, including by Mr. Trump’s own political operation, according to an analysis by Public Citizen.

In the four years before Mr. Trump’s bid for president, these same hotels and other venues collected a total of only $119,000 in federally regulated payments from political groups.

The merging of interests became an issue this week when Mr. Pence, according to his chief of staff, spent two nights at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Ireland at the suggestion of the president — even though he had a series of meetings on the other side of the country, a 181-mile car and helicopter ride away.

Profiting from the Trump Name

Political spending benefiting Trump-owned businesses surged after Donald J. Trump began his bid for president and has continued since he has been in office. This is just one slice of spending benefiting Trump businesses, as foreign governments, trade associations and religious groups also hold events at Trump venues.

Westlake Legal Group 0908-nat-web-DC-TRUMPHOTELS-Artboard_2 Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Spending by political candidates, party organizations

and other federally regulated political groups,

including the Trump campaign itself, at

Trump-owned properties and businesses

TOTAL ANNUAL SPENDING

In thousands

’19

(partial

year)

SPENDING BY PROPERTY

2017- present

= $1 million

Trump Tower

Trump Int’l Hotel and Tower

Trump International Hotel

Mar-a-Lago

Trump National Doral

Westlake Legal Group 0908-nat-web-DC-TRUMPHOTELS-Artboard_3 Checking In at Trump Hotels, for Kinship (and Maybe Some Sway) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Trump International Hotel (Washington, DC) Shelton, Judy Scaramucci, Anthony Pompeo, Mike Pence, Mike Nielsen, Kirstjen Mar-a-Lago (Palm Beach, Fla) Fleischer, Ari Concerned Women for America Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Spending by political candidates, party

organizations and other federally regulated

political groups, including the Trump campaign

itself, at Trump-owned properties and businesses

TOTAL ANNUAL SPENDING

’19

(partial

year)

SPENDING BY PROPERTY

= $1 million

2017- present

Trump Int’l

Hotel and Tower

Trump Tower

Trump Int’l Hotel

Mar-a-Lago

Trump Nat’l Doral

Note: Two Trump properties in the west, the

Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles and the

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, are not shown.

By The New York Times | Source: F.E.C. data, analysis by Public Citzen

The episode took place only a matter of days after Mr. Trump, at the end of the Group of 7 meeting in southern France, suggested he might hold a summit of global leaders next year at the Trump National Doral Miami, one of his Florida resorts.

That prompted congressional Democrats to announce they would begin an investigation into the president’s promotion of his branded properties for government business and the potential abuse of taxpayer funds to enrich the president.

“The committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family and his companies,” Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, wrote in a letter to the White House.

Investigators are also examining the increased use by the Pentagon of an airport in Scotland for refueling stopovers, visits that might also have included stays by the military crews at the nearby Trump Turnberry golf resort, as first reported by Politico.

But Mr. Trump has simply brushed off the criticism, noting that the business his hotels receive is simply a testament to the quality of the hospitality offered.

“People like my product, what can I tell you?” Mr. Trump said this week. “I can’t help it. But you know. And I guess they say, ‘We want to stay at a place that’s better than someplace else.’”

Sean Spicer, President Trump’s first press secretary, held his book launch party at the Trump International Hotel last year.CreditEric Thayer for The New York Times

Omar Navarro, a Republican from California running for the House, has hosted fund-raising events at the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, and more recently set up a series of meetings with donors at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. When he came to Washington this year for the Fourth of July, he stayed at the Trump International Hotel.

“When you have an event there or do something there, it signifies that you are supporting the president, and supporting what he is doing,” Mr. Navarro said. “It sends a clear message.”

Current and former White House officials insist they have never witnessed Mr. Trump making any explicit demand, or suggestion, that his cabinet members or Republican allies stay at a Trump property or use one to host an event. But they have noted that a president who is extremely effective at communicating between the lines does not have to be explicit.

Mr. Trump, they said, spends more time talking about his properties in private than he does in public, and even as president, remains intimately involved with club minutiae, like knowing all the names on his Mar-a-Lago membership roll.

Anthony Scaramucci, for example, the former White House communications director who lasted 11 days in the job, said that “no one pressured” him to stay for as much as $700 a night at the Trump hotel in Washington, where he lived during part of his short tenure.

But he said there do not need to be any marching orders from Mr. Trump or his inner circle for people to understand the potential benefits of being seen there.

Mr. Trump suggested that the next Group of 7 summit of global leaders should be at the Trump National Doral Miami, one of his Florida resorts.CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

“They’re conforming their behavior to what they think he would like,” Mr. Scaramucci said.

The pattern was set the weekend in January 2017 that Mr. Trump was sworn in and his inauguration committee paid the Trump Organization, the collective name for the president’s businesses, for rooms, meals and event space at the company’s Washington hotel, racking up a bill of $1.5 million for that event alone. (In this case, corporations and friends and allies of the president covered the cost of the inauguration.)

Various outside groups have at least tried to keep a running tally of all the events since then.

At least 90 members of Congress — including at least 26 of the 53 Republicans in the Senate — have made 188 or more visits to a Trump property, according to a count by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and a newsletter that tracks social media detailing such visits called 1100 Pennsylvania, which is the address of the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Another 250 Trump administration officials have been seen during at least 630 visits to Trump properties since 2017. And more than 110 officials from nearly 60 different foreign governments have visited a Trump hotel, golf course or other property, according to the count by CREW, as the group is known.

These visits to Trump venues include 24 of the 32 people who have served in Mr. Trump’s cabinet. And that in a way understates the pattern, as a number of these cabinet members have been to Trump properties again and again, like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who has been spotted at a Trump-owned venue at least 21 times.

Since he was sworn in, Mr. Trump himself has spent 293 days at one of his family businesses — that is nearly a third of his time in office. These visits have generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal government payments to cover the lodging expenses of the Secret Service and other personnel who accompany him.

Mr. Trump’s hotel in Washington — which attracts by far the bulk of the spending by political groups that support the president — is one of the better performing assets in Mr. Trump’s portfolio. Last year, it generated $40.8 million in revenue, a small increase compared with 2017, even while overall revenue at the company declined.

Mr. Trump shaking hands with Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, at the Group of 20 summit this year in Japan. The government of Saudi Arabia spent $190,273 at the Trump hotel in early 2017.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Some of the biggest chunks in political spending since 2017 are from events held at the Washington hotel and sponsored by the Republican National Committee, as well as Protect the House, a fund-raising committee supporting House Republicans, and America First Action, a super PAC affiliated with Mr. Trump.

Dozens of Republican candidates have held events at other Trump venues in New Jersey, Nevada, California, Florida, Virginia, New York and Illinois.

“If you’re a Republican, it’s a friendly place to go to see a lot of similar-minded people,” said Ari Fleischer, President George W. Bush’s press secretary, who has stayed at multiple Trump properties in Washington, New York City and Chicago.

And sometimes just being there could help.

Judy Shelton, a Trump economic adviser, did a series of interviews from the Trump hotel in Washington, including one in which she suggested holding an international conference of financial leaders at Mr. Trump’s club in Florida. Not long afterward the president announced he intended to nominate her to the Federal Reserve Board.

Kirstjen Nielsen, the former homeland security secretary who never clicked with Mr. Trump, was a regular at a see-and-be-seen table at BLT, the restaurant in the Trump hotel. But it did not stop Mr. Trump from eventually firing her.

Departing White House staff members often choose the Trump International Hotel for their goodbye parties. There is even a monthly happy hour, Trump First Tuesdays, which draws dozens of lobbyists, business executives and political operatives.

The frequency of visits by foreign officials to Mr. Trump’s hotel has led to allegations that Mr. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign government funds.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

The big events drive equally large payments to the Trump family.

The Concerned Women for America’s gala next week, for example, is expected to draw about 500 people to a ballroom dinner. But it will also fill up more than 100 rooms at the hotel that night, and result in countless other dollars spent at the bar, as the group celebrates its Trump-era victories, like the confirmation of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

The president’s son Eric Trump said in an interview that the business coming to the Washington hotel and other company properties was not about politics.

“We have the best property in Washington D.C.,” he said on Saturday. “People like the brand.”

Ethics lawyers said that even if the White House and the president were not overtly pressuring individuals seeking help from the federal government to visit a Trump brand, the pattern was still troubling.

“The danger from the beginning was less that the president would press people to stay at his hotel,” said Noah Bookbinder, a former federal prosecutor who is now executive director of CREW. “But people in the administration, congressional allies, industry executives, foreign government leaders — they see that the president reacts favorably to people doing business with him. So they do it.”

The visits that have drawn perhaps the most scrutiny are those by officials of foreign governments. Their frequency has led to allegations that Mr. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause of the Constitution by accepting foreign government funds.

The single biggest known tab was paid by the government of Saudi Arabia, which disclosed that it spent $190,273 at the Trump hotel in early 2017, as well as an additional $78,204 on catering.

The hotel has on an almost daily basis drawn visits from foreign officials. This week it was Imran Ismail, the governor of a Pakistani province who was in Washington to meet with the State Department and members of Congress to discuss human rights issues in Kashmir, among other topics. The visit was first noticed by Zach Everson, who runs the 1100 Pennsylvania newsletter.

Jose Manuel del Gallego Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to the United States, explained his own reasoning for scheduling an event at the hotel last year.

“The Trump hotel may have some political undertones because it is associated with the U.S. president,” Mr. Romualdez wrote in a column in a Philippine newspaper. “But since several other embassies have also held their national day celebrations at the Trump hotel, which were well attended — I decided — why not do it there, too.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A Presidential Storm Leaves Forecasters Rebuked

Westlake Legal Group merlin_160193625_7150617c-bc42-4cac-9e83-7a70074d9efe-facebookJumbo A Presidential Storm Leaves Forecasters Rebuked Weather United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Social Media News and News Media National Weather Service National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Hurricane Dorian (2019)

WASHINGTON — The hurricane was accelerating away from the Mid-Atlantic coast. In the Bahamas, victims were picking through the devastation. In the Southeast, they were cleaning up debris. And in Washington, President Trump waged war over his forecasting skills.

On Friday, for the sixth straight day, Mr. Trump continued his relentless campaign to prove that he was right when he predicted that Hurricane Dorian could hit Alabama regardless of what the scientists said, a quest that has come to consume his White House and put his veracity to the test.

And once again, Mr. Trump’s government came to his aid. Late Friday afternoon, the parent agency of the National Weather Service issued a statement declaring that its Birmingham, Ala., office was wrong to dispute the president’s warning that Alabama “will most likely be hit” by the hurricane despite forecasts to the contrary.

“The Birmingham National Weather Service’s Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time,” the parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said in the statement.

Neither the White House nor NOAA responded to inquiries about whether the statement was issued at the direction or in consultation with the president’s aides. But it followed a concerted effort by Mr. Trump and his team to use the levers of government to back up a presidential claim that has been widely discredited and ridiculed, including posting outdated weather maps and having his homeland security adviser issue a statement backing him.

“The Fake News Media was fixated on the fact that I properly said, at the beginnings of Hurricane Dorian, that in addition to Florida & other states, Alabama may also be grazed or hit,” he wrote. “They went Crazy, hoping against hope that I made a mistake (which I didn’t). Check out maps.”

“This nonsense has never happened to another President,” he added. “Four days of corrupt reporting, still without an apology.”

Never one to back down from a challenge, Mr. Trump has made Alabama the latest battlefield in his forever war with the news media, the opposition, the experts and the establishment — one more example of insisting on his version of reality over any other. Nuance is lost. Whatever merits there may have been to his original statement, he finds it impossible to back down or brush it off as imprecise wording. Where other presidents would have dropped the matter rather than give it air, Mr. Trump extended the story for nearly a week.

But even in an administration known for defying forecasts, the wayward prediction of an unpredictable president has dominated the national conversation, despite how little would seem to be at stake politically.

It started on Sunday when the president warned on Twitter that Alabama, among other states, could be hit by the storm “(much) harder than anticipated.”

In an attempt to head off panic, the Birmingham forecasters quickly sent out their own tweet, assuring residents that they were not, in fact, in harm’s way. “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian,” the local office wrote. “We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama.”

Angry at the mockery that followed, particularly on cable television and social media, Mr. Trump has ever since sought to justify his contentions to the point that he even called on his homeland security secretary to display a map in the Oval Office that appeared to have been altered by a black Sharpie pen to suggest Alabama was in the potential path of the storm.

As so often happens in Washington, a serious dispute eventually devolved into fund-raising. Mr. Trump’s campaign sought to capitalize on the attention by offering to sell pens with the president’s signature on them; a set of five went for $15.

“Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy!” Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, tweeted, adding the hashtag: “#KeepMarkersGreat.”

Mr. Trump’s wrath at his critics, however, left the Birmingham forecasters caught in the path of a presidential storm. For five days, NOAA had no public objection to this conclusion. Only after Mr. Trump insisted on sticking by his disputed claim did NOAA finally weigh in — and no spokesperson attached a name to the statement.

The Birmingham office had no reaction to its dressing down on Friday. A man who answered the phone there referred questions to NOAA in Washington.

But others came to the office’s defense. James Spann, a popular TV meteorologist in Birmingham with more than 400,000 Twitter followers, publicly vouched for the professionalism of the forecasters.

“@NWSBirmingham has a brilliant staff of experienced atmospheric scientists that have helped to save countless lives in my state over the years,” Mr. Spann tweeted after the NOAA rebuke. “They were thrown under the bus today by their parent agency. I stand behind NWS Birmingham 100 percent.”

Dan Sobien, the president of the National Weather Service Employees Organization, called NOAA’s statement “utterly disgusting and disingenuous,” emphasizing that Weather Service employees had nothing to do with it.

Rear Adm. David W. Titley, a retired Navy officer who previously served as NOAA’s chief operating officer, was even more scathing about his former agency. “Perhaps the darkest day ever for @noaa leadership,” he tweeted. “Don’t know how they will ever look their workforce in the eye again. Moral cowardice.”

The president’s continuing efforts to vindicate his assertion has proved uncomfortable or bewildering in Alabama for allies and meteorologists alike. While Mr. Trump fueled a snowballing national news story, the state’s governor and members of Congress largely steered clear of the topic this week on social media, leaving it to local meteorologists to straighten out any confusion.

Brad Arnold, a storm chaser from Huntsville, Ala., said that his group had seen earlier models predicting that the storm could strike the state, but they held off on posting anything on their Facebook page because hurricane models can — and did — change quickly. Even after the president forecast the storm to include Alabama, Mr. Arnold said he did not get the usual onslaught of messages that come when a storm is on the way.

“There was no panic,” said Mr. Arnold, 30. “There were not people rushing to the grocery stores or going to get gas.”

Indeed, he said his friends were mostly joking about the national news ruckus on social media, including a separate episode in which a storm map on CNN mislabeled their state Mississippi. (While her boss criticized the news media for calling his prediction a mistake, the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, redirected attention to the CNN map, posting a screenshot and quipping that the news outlet needed to “study up on U.S. geography.”)

Mr. Spann was among those weather professionals who wanted nothing to do with the politics even as they sought to correct the misimpression left by the president. After he retweeted Mr. Trump’s post with a correction, Mr. Spann pushed back against critics who claimed that he was bashing the president.

“I have zero interest in politics,” he tweeted. “Dorian will not affect Alabama in any way. That is not a political statement.”

Jason Simpson, the chief meteorologist at WHNT, the CBS affiliate in Huntsville, said he tried to reel in partisan commentary on his Facebook page after he saw other posts getting “a little bit incendiary on the sides.”

Weather is complicated, he said in an interview on Friday. “My point was, you should never listen to a politician for the weather, anyway,” Mr. Simpson said. “That’s why we have the National Weather Service.”

And what was the weather in Alabama this week? “Bone dry,” he said. “It hasn’t rained in six days.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

What Is the Refugee Program and Why Does the Trump Administration Want to Make Cuts?

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-explainer-facebookJumbo What Is the Refugee Program and Why Does the Trump Administration Want to Make Cuts? United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Refugees and Displaced Persons Immigration and Emigration Homeland Security Department Defense Department

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is looking to cut the number of refugees who come to the United States to escape persecution and humanitarian crises, a program that formally dates back to 1980, though the United States had long been accepting refugees and had established its image as a haven for people from around the world.

Since President Trump took office, the number of refugees admitted each year has dropped, to 30,000 last fiscal year from 110,000 in the 2017 fiscal year, a ceiling established at the end of the Obama administration.

In meetings over the past few weeks, one senior administration official proposed cutting the program entirely, but leaving the president with the discretion to allow refugees into the country in an emergency. Another proposal under consideration is cutting the number to as low as 10,000 and accepting people only from certain countries. Officials will meet on Tuesday in the Situation Room to discuss what the annual cap should be.

The refugee program, housed at the State Department, resettles displaced people from around the world into the United States, with help from agencies at the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. The focus is on migrants who have fled their own countries for fear of their safety and of persecution or violence, and decamped to another country where they cannot stay permanently.

Under United States policy, refugees are considered part of a different category of immigrants than those seeking asylum, even though both groups are often fleeing their countries out of fear for their lives. The difference between the two is mostly a matter of location. Refugees are people displaced from their countries, having fled war or a humanitarian concern, who ask the United States to allow them in. Asylum seekers are people who are already in the United States and argue to immigration officers that their lives would be in danger if they return home.

Facing a crisis at the end of World War II, the United Nations created a position to oversee global refugees: the high commissioner for refugees. The United States had welcomed refugees on a mostly ad hoc basis — like accepting hundreds of thousands of Europeans displaced by the war, and later Southeast Asian refugees after the end of Vietnam.

In 1980, the United States created a formal system for accepting refugees, which included increasing the number allowed into the country and establishing an office to oversee all of the resettlement issues. Since then, the United States has accepted three million of the four million refugees who were resettled around the world, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center analysis.

The administration has broadly pushed to lower the number of all kinds of immigrants who enter the United States, including pursuing policies that favor immigrants who are able to financially support themselves.

Stephen Miller, the president’s immigration architect, has made it clear that he believes refugees are more likely to be uneducated and have few skills, making them drains on the American economy. In 2017, he helped prevent the release of a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that concluded that the net fiscal effect of refugees was positive.

If the number of refugees allowed into the United States is further reduced or eliminated, it could put American forces stationed overseas in danger, cutting off what former senior military officials have described as a “critical lifeline” for American military, intelligence and diplomatic officials.

Most at risk are refugees from Iraq who worked with American officials as translators and advisers. The United States placed a priority on accepting these Iraqi refugees, and preventing them from resettling in America would “undermine” previous commitments to allies, the retired military officers wrote in a Sept. 3 letter to Mr. Trump.

Family members seeking to reunite with refugees already resettled in the United States would also suffer, increasing the number of families separated, said Jennifer Quigley, the director of refugee advocacy at Human Rights First.

Another potential consequence, Ms. Quigley said, would be if other countries look to the United States as an example and limit their refugee cap, as well.

When countries limit the refugees allowed in, it often leaves people stuck in refugee camps indefinitely. This can make for fertile ground for radicalization and resentment against the United States for abandoning them.

The Defense Department has fought these cuts in the past. Last year, Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, was outspoken about his objections to the decreasing refugee cap, citing national security concerns. But the current secretary, Mark T. Esper, has not yet made his position known.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

More House Republicans Ask: Why Win Re-election When You Can Retire Instead

WASHINGTON — Congress’s six-week summer recess comes to an end on Monday, and a growing number of House Republicans have sent a clear message: They would much rather stay home.

More than a dozen Republicans of nearly every stripe — moderates and conservatives, relative newcomers and those with decades of seniority, two of the party’s 13 women and its only African-American lawmaker — have all announced their retirements in the past several weeks, underscoring a sour mood in the minority party and a sense of foreboding about its chances to win back the House in 2020. And party operatives believe there are many more departures to come.

Most of them have explained their planned farewells at the end of their terms in 2021 in personal terms, citing health and family concerns or a general sense that “it’s time” and declining to elaborate further. Only a few, such as Representative Will Hurd of Texas, faced a difficult re-election campaign.

But former lawmakers and several political strategists said the departures were more likely a consequence of two slowly dawning realities for Republican House members: Being in the minority is no fun, and their chances of ending Democratic rule next year are fading fast.

“Unless you’re really driven or have a specific purpose,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican strategist based in Texas, “the idea of retiring from Congress could be really appealing.”

Ticking off a list of the job’s demands — crisscrossing the country at least three weeks a month, enduring political pressure, sacrificing personal time and upholding the drumbeat of fund-raising — Mr. Mackowiak added, “It’s a grind and it’s a beat down.”

A majority of those who have announced their retirements had safe seats in Republican districts and could have easily been re-elected. But the day-to-day realities of Democratic rule — already brought home by the 2018 midterm elections and the ascension of Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have left their mark.

Curtailed access to convenient meeting rooms, a schedule set by the majority and no control over the legislative agenda are only some of the perpetual complaints of whichever party is in the minority in the House.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154562430_d88191cd-fbf0-4a8d-bb58-0a5783183609-articleLarge More House Republicans Ask: Why Win Re-election When You Can Retire Instead United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Sensenbrenner, F James Jr Pelosi, Nancy Midterm Elections (2018) Israel, Steve J Hurd, Will Elections, House of Representatives Conaway, K Michael

Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin, announced this week that he would retire.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“When candidates would ask me, ‘What’s life like in the minority?’ I would say, ‘It’s great,’” said former Representative Steve Israel, Democrat of New York. With a chuckle, he added, “But it’s not so great.”

The retirement numbers have not yet reached pre-2018 levels, when 34 Republican seats opened up in the lower chamber because of retirement, the highest number in decades. But the number of House departures announced this year — more than a dozen so far — continues a pattern that has resulted in the departure of about a third of the 293 Republicans who were serving in the House when Mr. Trump took office.

Mr. Israel, who announced his decision to retire from his heavily Democratic New York district while in the minority in 2016, said he did so in part because he intended to pursue interests outside of Capitol Hill.

The Republicans who are retiring are doing so knowing that they would be re-elected, he said. “They just don’t want to continue flying back and forth to Washington without getting anything done.”

That is a particularly bitter pill for experienced legislators like Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Representative K. Michael Conaway of Texas. Both men, who announced plans to retire during the summer recess, had already found themselves sidelined by Republican rules that bar the party’s lawmakers from serving for more than three terms as a committee chairman or ranking member.

“You lose some influence, and it’s less interesting to be in the chamber when you don’t have that position anymore,” said Molly Reynolds, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution. “That’s expertise in how the chamber works leaving the chamber.”

Republican strategists and aides suspect that some of the impending retirements will come not only from members tired of Washington gridlock, but from other members facing the loss of prized committee power.

“Some of it is the minority and the nastiness, no doubt about it,” said Representative Don Bacon, Republican of Nebraska. But he added, the term limits were a factor behind the conference “losing great people.”

Chris Pack, a spokesman for the House Republican campaign arm, said that the self-imposed term limits “are why Republicans consistently have a healthy dose of turnover.”

Representative Martha Roby of Alabama, one of 13 Republican women in Congress, will not seek re-election.CreditKevin D. Liles for The New York Times

Democrats, for their part, have been gleeful about the string of retirements, particularly in Texas where early filing deadlines have prompted earlier decisions than in other states. Exalting over what they have deemed “the Texodus,” some officials believe a number of seats in Texas — particularly ones like Mr. Hurd’s, which was decided by fewer than 1,200 votes in 2018 — are theirs for the taking.

“It’s clear the continued drain of having to defend their toxic, unpopular agenda and the misery of serving in the minority is what’s driving Washington Republicans to head for the exits in record numbers,” Cole Leiter, a spokesman for the House Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement.

On Capitol Hill, a rude awakening for less-senior Republicans who have never served in the minority may have also contributed to the number of departures. Nearly three-quarters of the Republican conference — 142 members in all — are in the minority for the first time in an institution where the majority carries all of the power, dictating which bills are considered and when, and what language can be debated and how.

For some Republicans, the prospect of sharing a ticket with Mr. Trump is unappealing, especially after the midterm elections last year, when the president’s incendiary speech and divisive style saddled candidates with a brand that alienated politically crucial suburban voters, especially women and those with college educations.

But for others, Mr. Trump’s place on the ballot could help preserve some newly vacant Republican seats and help whittle away at the Democratic majority. In 2016, he won dozens of the districts where freshman Democrats now hold seats.

“It comes at a time when the political tectonic plates are shifting,” said Ken Spain, a former communications official for the National Republican Congressional Committee, adding that Mr. Trump’s support could bolster Republican hopes in swing districts.

At the same time, serving in Congress in the Trump era offers Republicans a pair of stark choices: embrace the president and defend his policies and comments without reservation, or risk a brutal primary challenge from a Republican who is willing to.

Mr. Hurd was one of only four Republicans who joined Democrats this year in voting to condemn as racist Mr. Trump’s Twitter posts telling four congresswomen of color to “go back” to their countries of origin, though all but one of them were born in the United States and all are American citizens. And Representative Martha Roby, Republican of Alabama, survived four primary challengers in 2018 who were buoyed in part by her unfavorable comments about Mr. Trump’s 2016 candidacy.

The departure of conservative mainstays like Mr. Sensenbrenner, who notched a series of bipartisan accomplishments in his decades in office, will also most likely signal a broader shift in the characters of both the party and Congress, with the loss of institutional knowledge and bipartisan alliances.

“They’ll be replaced by Republicans, but they may be replaced by different Republicans than we would have seen 40 years ago,” Ms. Reynolds said, adding there would be a new approach “both in working across the aisle and knowing where the levers of power are.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter U.S.

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine, according to current and former administration officials.

In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.

Both options would all but end the United States’ status as a leader in accepting refugees from around the world.

The issue is expected to come to a head on Tuesday, when the White House plans to convene a high-level meeting in the Situation Room to discuss at what number Mr. Trump should set the annual, presidentially determined ceiling on refugee admissions for the coming year.

“At a time when the number of refugees is at the highest level in recorded history, the United States has abandoned world leadership in resettling vulnerable people in need of protection,” said Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International. “The result is a world that is less compassionate and less able to deal with future humanitarian challenges.”

For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration adviser, has used his considerable influence in the West Wing to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history, capping the program at 30,000 this year. That is a more than 70 percent cut from its level when President Barack Obama left office.

The move has been part of Mr. Trump’s broader effort to reduce the number of both documented and undocumented immigrants from entering the United States, including numerous restrictions on asylum seekers, who, like refugees, are fleeing from persecution but cross into the United States over the border with Mexico or Canada.

Now, Mr. Miller and allies from the White House whom he placed at the Departments of State and Homeland Security are pushing aggressively to shrink the program even further, according to one senior official involved in the discussions and several former officials briefed on them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail the private deliberations.

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment.

John Zadrozny, a top official at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has argued for simply lowering the ceiling to zero, a stance that was first reported by Politico. Others have suggested providing “carveouts” for certain countries or populations, such as the Iraqis and Afghans, whose work on behalf of the American government put both them and their families at risk, making them eligible for special status to come to the United States through the refugee program.

Advocates of the nearly 50-year-old refugee program inside and outside the administration fear that approach would effectively starve the program, making it impossible to resettle even those narrow populations. The advocacy groups say the fate of the program increasingly hinges on an unlikely figure: Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense.

Barely two months into his job as Pentagon chief, Mr. Esper, a former lobbyist and defense contracting executive, is the newest voice at the table in the annual debate over how many refugees to admit. But while Mr. Esper’s predecessor, Jim Mattis, had taken up the refugee cause with an almost missionary zeal, repeatedly declining to embrace large cuts because of the potential effect he said they would have on American military interests around the world, Mr. Esper’s position on the issue is unknown.

The senior military leadership at the Defense Department has been urgently pressing Mr. Esper to follow his predecessor’s example and be an advocate for the refugee program, according to people familiar with the conversations in the Pentagon.

But current and former senior military officials said the defense secretary had not disclosed to them whether he would fight for higher refugee admissions at the White House meeting next week. One former general described Mr. Esper as in a “foxhole defilade” position, a military term for the infantry’s effort to remain shielded or concealed from enemy fire.

A senior Defense Department official said that Mr. Esper had not decided what his recommendation would be for the refugee program this year. As a result, an intense effort is underway by a powerful group of retired generals and humanitarian aid groups to persuade Mr. Esper to pick up where Mr. Mattis left off.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156824220_b0f4dcc4-05c8-477e-8e23-3c948c177a83-articleLarge Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter U.S. United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Refugees International Refugees and Displaced Persons Miller, Stephen (1985- ) Mattis, James N Iraq Esper, Mark T Defense Department Afghanistan

For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration advisor, has used his influence to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

In a letter to Mr. Trump on Wednesday, some of the nation’s most distinguished retired military officers implored the president to reconsider the cuts, taking up the national security argument that Mr. Mattis made when he was at the Pentagon. They called the refugee program a “critical lifeline” to people who help American troops, diplomats and intelligence officials abroad, and warned that cutting it off risked greater instability and conflict.

“We urge you to protect this vital program and ensure that the refugee admissions goal is robust, in line with decades-long precedent, and commensurate with today’s urgent global needs,” wrote the military brass, including Admiral William H. McRaven, the former commander of United States Special Operations; General Martin E. Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Lt. General Mark P. Hertling, the former commanding general of Army forces in Europe.

They said the even the current ceiling of 30,000 is “leaving thousands in harm’s way.”

Gen. Joseph L. Votel, who retired this year after overseeing the American military’s command that runs operations in the Middle East, also signed the letter. In an interview, he noted that the flows of refugees leaving war-torn countries like Syria is one of the driving forces of instability in the region.

“We don’t do anything alone,” General Votel said of American military operations overseas, which is regularly helped by Iraqi nationals who become persecuted refugees. “This is not just the price we pay but an obligation.”

Mr. Mattis privately made the same arguments in 2018 and 2019 as he tried to fight back efforts by Mr. Miller to cut the refugee cap, which had already been reduced to 50,000 by Mr. Trump’s travel ban executive order.

Joined by then-Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Nikki R. Haley, the United Nations ambassador at the time, Mr. Mattis succeeded in keeping the cap at 45,000 for 2018. The next year, Mr. Miller tried to persuade Mr. Mattis to support a lower number by promising to ensure the program for the Iraqi and Afghans would not be affected. But Mr. Mattis refused, and pushed for the program to remain at 45,000 refugees. But with Mr. Tillerson gone, Mr. Miller succeeded in convincing the president to drop the ceiling to 30,000.

In his announcement last year, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued that because of a recent surge of asylum seekers at the southwestern border, there was less of a need for the United States to accept refugees from abroad.

“This year’s refugee ceiling reflects the substantial increase in the number of individuals seeking asylum in our country, leading to a massive backlog of outstanding asylum cases and greater public expense,” Mr. Pompeo said at the time.

Now, a year later, Mr. Miller and his allies have repeatedly made that same argument in urging that the number go even lower.

Barbara Strack, who retired last year as chief of the Refugee Affairs Division at the federal Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the United States used to be a model for other countries by accepting refugees from all over the globe. After America began accepting Bhutanese refugees from Nepal, she said, other countries followed suit.

“Very often, that leadership matters,” she said. “That is something that is just lost in terms of who the United States is in the world and how other governments see us.”

The State Department was once the main steward and champion of the refugee resettlement program, but under Mr. Trump, that has changed, as the president and Mr. Miller have made clear that they view it with disdain. The top State Department official now in charge of refugees is Andrew Veprek, a former aide of Mr. Miller’s at the White House Domestic Policy Council who — along with Mr. Zadrozny — was a central player in 2017 in efforts to scale back refugee resettlement as much as possible.

That has left the Defense Department as the last agency that could potentially preserve the refugee program. Its proponents inside the administration say they feel a sense of desperation waiting to see whether Mr. Esper will become its advocate.

“The strength of D.O.D.’s argument would really make a difference,” Ms. Strack said. “There just needs to be an acknowledgment that this admin. would be walking away from a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of offering refuge to the most vulnerable people around the world.”

That sense of foreboding has intensified in recent weeks, as Mr. Miller has locked down the process for determining the refugee ceiling, to guard against leaks and cut down on opportunities for officials to intervene to save it. Normally, cabinet-level officials would be informed in advance of the options to be discussed at a meeting like the one scheduled on Tuesday.

This time, officials have been informed that their bosses will learn what numbers the White House is proposing only when they sit down at the table and are asked to weigh in.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter the U.S.

WASHINGTON — The White House is considering a plan that would effectively bar refugees from most parts of the world from resettling in the United States by cutting back the decades-old program that admits tens of thousands of people each year who are fleeing war, persecution and famine, according to current and former administration officials.

In meetings over the past several weeks, one top administration official has proposed zeroing out the program altogether, while leaving the president with the ability to admit refugees in an emergency. Another option that top officials are weighing would cut refugee admissions by half or more, to 10,000 to 15,000 people, but reserve most of those spots for refugees from a few handpicked countries or groups with special status, such as Iraqis and Afghans who work alongside American troops, diplomats and intelligence operatives abroad.

Both options would all but end the United States’ status as one of the leading places accepting refugees from around the world.

The issue is expected to come to a head on Tuesday, when the White House plans to convene a high-level meeting in the Situation Room to discuss at what number Mr. Trump should set the annual, presidentially determined ceiling on refugee admissions for the coming year.

“At a time when the number of refugees is at the highest level in recorded history, the United States has abandoned world leadership in resettling vulnerable people in need of protection,” said Eric Schwartz, the president of Refugees International. “The result is a world that is less compassionate and less able to deal with future humanitarian challenges.”

For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration adviser, has used his considerable influence in the West Wing to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history, capping the program at 30,000 this year. That is a more than 70 percent cut from where it was when President Barack Obama left office.

The move has been part of Mr. Trump’s broader effort to reduce the number of both documented and undocumented immigrants from entering the United States, including numerous restrictions on asylum seekers, who, like refugees, are fleeing from persecution but cross into the United States over the border with Mexico or Canada.

Now, Mr. Miller and allies at the Departments of State and Homeland Security who worked with him at the White House and he has placed in those departments are pushing aggressively to shrink the program even further, according to one senior official involved in the discussions and several former officials briefed on them, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to detail the private deliberations.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156824220_b0f4dcc4-05c8-477e-8e23-3c948c177a83-articleLarge Trump Administration Considers a Drastic Cut in Refugees Allowed to Enter the U.S. United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Refugees International Refugees and Displaced Persons Miller, Stephen (1985- ) Mattis, James N Iraq Esper, Mark T Defense Department Afghanistan

For two years, Stephen Miller, Mr. Trump’s top immigration advisor, has used his influence to reduce the refugee ceiling to its lowest levels in history.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

White House officials did not respond to a request for comment.

John Zadrozny, a top official at United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, has argued for simply lowering the ceiling to zero, a stance that was first reported by Politico. Others have suggested providing “carveouts” for certain countries or populations, such as the Iraqis and Afghans, whose work on behalf of the American government put both them and their families at risk, making them eligible for special status to come to the United States through the refugee program.

Advocates of the nearly 50-year refugee program inside and outside the administration fear that approach would effectively starve the program, making it impossible to resettle even those narrow populations. The advocacy groups say the fate of the refugee program increasingly hinges on an unlikely figure: Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense.

Barely two months into his job as Pentagon chief, Mr. Esper, a former lobbyist and defense contracting executive, is the newest voice at the table in the annual debate over how many refugees to admit. But while Mr. Esper’s predecessor, Jim Mattis, had taken up the refugee cause with an almost missionary zeal, repeatedly declining to embrace large cuts because of the potential effect he said they would have on American military interests around the world, Mr. Esper’s position on the issue is unknown.

The senior military leadership at the Defense Department has been urgently pressing Mr. Esper to follow his predecessor’s example and be an advocate for the refugee program, according to people familiar with the conversation in the Pentagon.

But current and former senior military officials said the defense secretary had not disclosed to them whether he would fight for higher refugee admissions at the White House meeting next week. One former general described Mr. Esper as in a “foxhole defilade” position, a military term for the infantry’s effort to remain shielded or concealed from enemy fire.

A senior Defense Department official said that Mr. Esper had not decided what his recommendation would be for the refugee program this year. As a result, an intense effort is underway by a powerful group of retired generals and humanitarian aid groups to persuade Mr. Esper to pick up where Mr. Mattis left off.

In a letter to Mr. Trump on Wednesday, some of the nation’s most distinguished retired military officers implored the president to reconsider the cuts, taking up the national security argument that Mr. Mattis made when he was at the Pentagon. They called the refugee program a “critical lifeline” to people who help American troops, diplomats and intelligence officials abroad, and warned that cutting it off risked greater instability and conflict.

“We urge you to protect this vital program and ensure that the refugee admissions goal is robust, in line with decades-long precedent, and commensurate with today’s urgent global needs,” wrote the military brass, including Admiral William H. McRaven, the former commander of United States Special Operations; General Martin E. Dempsey, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Lt. General Mark P. Hertling, the former commanding general of Army forces in Europe.

They said even the current ceiling of 30,000 is “leaving thousands in harm’s way.”

Gen. Joseph L. Votel, who retired this year as commander of United States Central Command, also signed the letter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Pence’s Stay at Trump Resort in Ireland and Trump’s G7 Plans Draw Democrats’ Scrutiny

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-oversight-facebookJumbo Pence’s Stay at Trump Resort in Ireland and Trump’s G7 Plans Draw Democrats’ Scrutiny United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump Organization Trump National Doral Miami (Doral, Fla) Pence, Mike ireland House of Representatives House Committee on the Judiciary House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Ethics and Official Misconduct Conflicts of Interest

House Democrats, furious over President Trump’s continued promotion of his branded properties for government business, said on Friday that they would scrutinize whether two recent cases would violate the Constitution’s ban on presidents profiting from domestic or foreign governments.

Two chairmen acting in tandem sent letters to the White House, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization asking for documents and communications related to Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to stay this week at Mr. Trump’s resort in Ireland during an official visit, as well as Mr. Trump’s recent statements promoting Trump National Doral, near Miami, as a possible site for the Group of 7 summit of world leaders next year.

In both cases, the Democrats argued, Mr. Trump stands to benefit financially from American taxpayer dollars, and in the case of the potential summit in Doral, from foreign funds as well. The Constitution’s emoluments clauses prohibit presidents from accepting any payment from federal, state or foreign governments beyond their official salary.

“The committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies,” wrote Representative Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat of Maryland and the chairman of the Oversight and Reform Committee. The cases in question, he added, could be a conflict of interest.

In a letter of his own, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, raised what could be a more troubling outcome for the president. He said his committee was considering potential violations of the ban on profiting from the presidency as part of its impeachment investigation.

“Potential violations of the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses of the Constitution are of grave concern to the committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” he wrote. The letter was also signed by Representative Steve Cohen, Democrat of Tennessee, who leads a relevant subcommittee.

The White House did not immediately comment on the letters.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence drew sharp criticism this week after the vice president and his coterie of family, aides and security stayed a night at the Trump International Golf Links & Hotel in Doonbeg during a trip to Ireland, despite the fact that it was 181 miles from his meetings in Dublin. Government receipts for such stays usually run in the tens of thousands of dollars — or far more, depending on the size of the group and the length of stay.

Mr. Pence’s chief of staff initially told reporters that the vice president, who has family roots in Doonbeg, had chosen the accommodation at the “suggestion” of Mr. Trump. Facing a flurry of criticism for the choice, the vice president’s office later released a statement saying that “at no time did the president direct our office to stay at his Doonbeg resort.”

Mr. Cummings’s request asked for documents showing itemized expenses from the most recent Ireland trip, any communications related to Mr. Pence’s accommodations, and records related to Mr. Trump’s own stay at the Doonbeg resort during an official visit to Ireland in June.

Mr. Pence’s Ireland trip came just a week or so after Mr. Trump had raised the idea of hosting the next Group of 7 summit at his golf resort in Doral, Fla. Speaking to reporters at this year’s summit in France, he said the resort had “tremendous acreage” and buildings that could naturally house each national delegation.

“We haven’t found anything that could even come close to competing with it,” he said.

Most recently, the United States has hosted Group of 7 summit meetings at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, under former President Barack Obama, and Sea Island, Ga., under George W. Bush.

Democrats and ethics experts have criticized Mr. Trump’s use of his private properties since he took office. In addition to his own frequent visits — with an expensive coterie of aides and security in tow — most of Mr. Trump’s cabinet members and about half of House Republicans have been seen at or spent money at Trump-branded properties, according to an independent tally. And a Center for Responsive Politics count found that close to $20 million has been spent since 2015 at the Trump hotels by political groups, including those of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump turned over management of his company, the Trump Organization, to his oldest sons and an executive through a trust. Most presidents have used a blind trust for their finances, but Mr. Trump’s family and a close associate controls his trust. He receives updates about its business and remains the trust’s sole beneficiary.

The latest examples of the administration’s use or plans to visit his private properties have pushed the president’s critics into a frenzy.

“The Doral situation reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to spend foreign government funds at President Trump’s private businesses in order to engage in official diplomatic negotiations and meetings with the United States,” Mr. Nadler and Mr. Cohen wrote.

They asked the White House and Secret Service to hand over records or communications related to planning of the 2020 G7 meeting and the possibility of holding it in Doral.

The office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued its own blistering statement this week, calling the president’s properties “a cesspool of corruption.”

“President Trump is violating the Constitution by making money off his lavish, ritzy resort properties, ultimately prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people,” it said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com