Trump and his family made no mention of gifts worth nearly $300,000 from foreign governments, House Democrats claim in a new report

(CNN) Donald Trump and his family have made no mention of gifts worth nearly $300,000 they received from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020, including a “larger-than-life painting” of the former president that may currently be in his Mar-a- Lago resort, according to a new report from the House Oversight Committee Democrats and supporting documents obtained by CNN.

More than 100 gifts from foreign officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars, were never presented to the State Department by Trump and members of his immediate family. disclosed, as required by law, the report says.

House Democrats say the discovery of these undeclared foreign gifts, including 17 from Saudi Arabia totaling more than $48,000, “raises important questions about why former President Trump has not made these gifts public” and whether they may be used to influence US policy under the previous administration. The report contains no specific evidence that US policy was influenced by the gifts.

Rep. Maryland’s Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told CNN that the fact that these items were never reported and some are now missing “suggests serious violations of the foreign emoluments clause.”

“That part of the Constitution is America’s original anti-bribery law,” Raskin said, noting that lawmakers can file criminal references if there is evidence to warrant it.

“But in reality, Congress needs to legislate on a bipartisan basis to build meaningful enforcement mechanisms into the emoluments clause,” he added. “This will force us to recover the wisdom of the drafters who insisted that people in public office are not requisitioned by foreign governments.”

House Democrats have tried to point to Trump’s foreign commitments while their Republican colleagues and new GOP Oversight Committee Chairman, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, step up their own investigation into foreign transactions by President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

Last year, the State Department revealed it could not provide a full explanation for the foreign gifts Trump officials received during the president’s last year in office, but the interim report released Friday cites “new information obtained by the committee.” which} reveals that undisclosed gifts from foreign governments were much more widely known than previously and expanded throughout the Trump administration.”

“Internal White House documents obtained by the committee indicate that the lists provided by the White House to the Office of the Chief of Protocol do not include all of the foreign gifts that former President Trump and the First Family have received not only in 2020, but throughout the year. Trump administration,” the report notes.

“In total, records indicate that former President Trump and the First Family received 117 undeclared foreign gifts, valued at approximately $291,000,” the interim report said. The report focuses on secret gifts from Saudi Arabia, Japan, India and China.

Legally, of course, it makes no difference whether they were just totally reckless or deliberately chose to turn their noses at the law and the Constitution, but morally, we can safely say that these are exactly the kind of little details that Donald Trump likes to obsess over. Raskin told CNN.

Trump alone has reported no more than 50 foreign gifts during his term, according to House Democrats — with a total estimated value of more than $150,000. In terms of foreign gifts shared with the State Department, Trump disclosed 36 in 2017, 17 in 2018, 23 in 2019, and zero in 2020.

The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act prohibits a president and federal officials from keeping foreign gifts that exceed the minimum value, which is currently set at $415. The law also established a system for how information about foreign gifts is disclosed and gives recipients of items valued above the established dollar amount the ability to purchase and keep them.

Some of the gifts Trump received were valued in the tens of thousands of dollars, including a $12,000 Uzbek silk carpet and a $35,000 dagger from the Emir of Qatar, the report adds.

Some items remain missing, including a “larger-than-life painting” of Trump that was commissioned by El Salvador’s leader and delivered as a gift just before the 2020 election.

The committee obtained internal communications from the White House, including correspondence about shipping the painting from the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador to the U.S., but found that there are “no records of the painting’s disposition.”

“NARA had no record of this painting and GSA [General Services Administration] also had no records of the purchase of this gift,” the report said.

“Despite GSA transition documents indicating that correspondent correspondence from Donald J. Trump’s office declared ‘full compliance with final disposition of gifts’ in April 2021, certain records suggest the portrait may have been moved to Florida as ‘property’. from the former president “by July 2021,” it adds.

Email exchanges showing photos of the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador standing next to Trump’s larger-than-life portrait indicate that staff arranged for the State Department to assist in transferring the gift from the ambassador’s residence to the White House.

In this undated photo from an email obtained by CNN, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson stands with a painting of former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, forwarded the ambassador’s first email about the painting to White House staff, writing, “Can we sort this out — very kind,” to which a former White House staffer of Trump replied, “Yes, it’s been forwarded to me already and I’m being delivered to the WH!”

The report lists another item that the commission’s investigators failed to track down despite reviewing records from the White House, NARA and GSA — a gift Kushner received from Egypt.

The White House Gift Office under the Trump administration requested that the National Archives turn over a number of gifts from its custody to the White House, including this gift to Kushner. But there is no record of where this gift, a box decorated with silver patterns with an estimated value of $450, is located.

There is also no indication that the box is currently in Kushner’s possession.

The panel also found that Kushner, his wife Ivanka Trump and their children together received 33 unreported gifts, totaling nearly $82,000.

“The commission identified 13 additional undeclared foreign gifts addressed to both former President Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump, with a total estimated value of more than $22,000,” the report said.

Leave a Comment