WASHINGTON (AFP)— Democratic congressmen Wednesday announced an investigation into Donald Trump’s offer to host next year’s G7 summit at one of his golf courses, calling it the latest sign of presidential “corruption.”
Conflicts of interest arose immediately when Trump touted his National Doral Miami club as the perfect site for the high-profile gathering of leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler and Steve Cohen, who heads a constitutional subcommittee, said Trump’s financial interests were “clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities.”
It is just the sort of risk that the Constitution sought to address in its provisions prohibiting a president from personally profiting from foreign governments, they said.
They called Trump’s proposal “only the latest in a troubling pattern of corruption and self-dealing by the president.”
Hosting the G7 at Doral would violate both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses that are designed to shield a commander in chief from outside influence, the congressional leaders said.
“More importantly, the Doral decision reflects perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to pay President Trump’s private businesses in order to conduct business with the United States,” they added.
Nadler’s committee and other panels are already investigating Trump on a number of fronts as they examine allegations of obstruction of justice, public corruption and “other abuses of power” by the president.
The potential emoluments clause violations “are of significant interest and grave concern to the committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment,” the lawmakers said.
They said Nadler will schedule hearings on the matter and request documents from the White House regarding the decision.
Trump has caught flak for failing to sufficiently distance himself from his businesses, which include a luxury hotel just blocks from the White House.
He has faced two lawsuits, including one ongoing case launched last year by several congressional Democrats who say Trump has been receiving benefits from foreign governments through his vast business holdings.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump defender has booked a $30,000, 200-person holiday party at Trump’s Washington hotel.
© Agence France-Presse