By Emmanuel Nduka
Fresh documents released by US House Democrats on Thursday details how much former President Donald Trump received from overseas transactions while he was in the White House, with most of the funds coming from China.
Trump’s businesses received at least $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments during his presidency, the report said.
The transactions, detailed in a 156-page report called “White House For Sale” that was produced by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, offer concrete evidence that the former president engaged in the kind of conduct that House Republicans have laboured, so far unsuccessfully, to prove that President Joe Biden did as they work to build an impeachment case against him, New York Times reports.
The report describes how foreign governments and their controlled entities, including a top US adversary, interacted with Trump businesses while he was president, using documents produced through a court fight.
They paid millions to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas; Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in New York; and Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza in New York.
The Constitution prohibits federal officeholders from accepting money, payments or gifts “of any kind whatever” from foreign governments and monarchs unless they obtain “the consent of the Congress” to do so.
The report further noted that Trump never went to Congress to seek consent.
House Democrats highlighted the transactions on Thursday as a counterweight to Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into Biden, which has sought to tie him to international business deals by his son Hunter Biden before his father became president in a bid to prove corruption or influence peddling. They have so far failed to show that President Biden was enriched in any way by any of those transactions.
“By elevating his personal financial interests and the policy priorities of corrupt foreign powers over the American public interest, former President Trump violated both the clear commands of the Constitution and the careful precedent set and observed by every previous commander in chief,” Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, wrote in a foreword to the report.
Among the countries patronizing Trump’s properties, China made the largest total payment — $5.5 million — to his business interests, the report found. Those payments included millions of dollars from China’s Embassy in the United States, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and the Hainan Airlines Holding Company.
Saudi Arabia was the second-largest spender, shelling out more than $615,000 at the Trump World Tower and Trump International Hotel.
Meanwhile, House Republicans rubbished the revelations, arguing that there was nothing wrong with Trump receiving revenue from foreign governments while he was president but that Mr. Biden’s family’s business was corrupt.
“Former President Trump has legitimate businesses, but the Bidens do not,” Representative James R. Comer, Republican of Kentucky and the chairman of the oversight panel, said in a statement on Thursday.
He charged that the Bidens had made more than three times as much as the new records show Trump had from foreign governments “by cashing in on the Biden name,” adding that, “No goods or services were provided other than access to Joe Biden and the Biden network.”