Democrats on Capitol Hill have requested information about Donald Trump’s plans to host the G7 summit at his Florida resort andMike Pence‘s recent trip to one of the president’s properties located hours Away from his meetings in Ireland.
A series of letters theHouse Oversight Committeesent to the White House, the Trump Organization, the vice president’s office and the US Secret Service say the committee “does not believe that US taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies ”.
The House Judiciary Committee also sent several letters this week to the administration as part of its overarching investigations into Mr Trump. Those letters followed the Democratic-led committee vowing to investigate the president’s decision to host the massive summit of economic world powers at his financially struggling resort.
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“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,” Jerry Nadler, the chairman of the committee, wrote in the letter along with Steve Cohen, a Democratic congressman and chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
The requests for records arrived after the vice president stayed at Mr Trump’s Doonbeg, Ireland resort located 181 miles from meetings he was scheduled to attend in Dublin with Irish officials.
Mr Pence defended his decision to stay at the president’s property amid mounting criticism Mr Trump was effectively profiting off the presidency.
He described the move as a “logical” choice, adding: “It’s deeply humbling for me to be able to come back to Ireland and have the opportunity to go to the very hometown of my mother’s grandmother.”
Mr Pence added that he understood “political attacks by Democrats”, but said the Department of State had signed off on the decision. He said Doonbeg is a “fairly small place” and the opportunity to stay at the property, “to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel, made it logical”.
Mr Trump, who owns hotels and golf clubs across the US and in Europe, has come under intense criticism for frequenting properties he owns and profits from – giving them taxpayer-funded publicity and running up millions of dollars in taxpayer costs.
Foreign governments and groups looking to curry favor with the president have also spent large sums at his properties, raising ethical alarms about potential pay-to-play dynamics and other conflicts.
Marc Short, Mr Pence’s chief of staff, told reporters aboard Air Force Two that the decision to stay at the Trump property was made at the president’s “suggestion” and that Mr Pence and his entourage were not staying for free.
Mr Short said Mr Pence’s office followed official protocol and the club is the “one facility” in the Doonbeg area able to accommodate a group of their size.
Meanwhile, Democrats have accused the vice president of pouring money into the president’s pockets with his trip. Mr Trump has not financially divested from his businesses, a traditional occurrence for US presidents.
Democrats have said the same about Mr Trump’s plans to host the G7 at his resort, which has reportedly struggled to meet financial targets since he became president. Mr Trump said he would not profit financially by hosting the major summit at his resort, though experts said that was likely false.
Additional reporting by AP