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In a political landscape marred by attempts to impeach President Joe Biden over unsubstantiated claims of foreign payments, a new report shifts the focus to former President Donald Trump. House Republicans have vigorously pursued allegations against Biden without evidence, but it appears Trump himself may have received substantial payments from foreign governments during his tenure in the Oval Office.
The House Oversight Committee, steered by Democrats, released a comprehensive 156-page report revealing that Trump earned at least $7.8 million from foreign governments through his hotels and residential buildings. These earnings occurred while he held office, and Trump notably refused to divest from his business interests, sparking concerns over conflicts of interest and constitutional violations.
The report is grounded in an analysis of financial documents from Mazars, Trump’s former accounting firm. It uncovers evidence of significant payments from foreign governments, often linked to attempts to influence Trump’s foreign policy decisions. This evidence sheds light on the “unprecedented scope and scale” of Trump’s financial entanglements while in office.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), a key figure on the House Oversight Committee, emphasized the gravity of these findings: “President Donald Trump repeatedly and willfully violated the U.S. Constitution by failing to divest from his business empire.” Raskin highlighted the constitutional breach, where Trump’s businesses accepted millions from foreign governments, potentially in exchange for policy favors.
China emerged as the largest spender at Trump’s businesses, contributing over $5.5 million through various channels including the Chinese embassy and state-owned entities. This spending coincided with Trump praising Chinese leaders and striking deals beneficial to his business interests. Saudi Arabia and Qatar followed, spending $615,000 and $465,000 respectively, among payments from 21 countries in total.
The report’s authors note its limitations, including a restricted scope due to Republicans blocking the release of a range of Trump’s financial documents. The analysis covers only two years of Trump’s presidency and focuses on four out of his more than 500 businesses, suggesting a potentially broader scope of foreign payments.
Despite these limitations, the report points to a pattern of “rampant illegality and corruption” in Trump’s conduct while in office, starkly contrasting with the baseless accusations leveled against Biden. The findings suggest a systematic approach by Trump to leverage his presidential position for personal gain.
Previous investigations, such as a report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), corroborate these findings. CREW’s examination of tax and other financial records indicated that Trump made up to $160 million in deals with foreign governments during his presidency.
The Oversight Committee, led by Rep. James Comer since January 2023, faced challenges in obtaining comprehensive records. Comer’s coordination with Trump’s attorneys led to a halt in document production, thereby limiting the investigation’s scope and depth.
The report details various instances of foreign government expenditures at Trump properties. These include significant spending by the Chinese government and state-owned enterprises, as well as payments from the Saudi Arabian government, which were linked to specific foreign policy actions and statements by Trump.
Ranking Member Raskin condemned the concealment of further evidence by House Republicans, stating, “By concealing the evidence of Trump’s grift, House Republicans shamefully condone former President Trump’s past conduct.” The revelations underscore the critical need for transparency and accountability in presidential financial dealings.
“In the face of staggering corruption and constitutional breaches, it’s imperative that we uphold the integrity of our highest office. This report, though just the tip of the iceberg, is a stark reminder of the importance of ethical governance and the dangers of unchecked power,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin.