Trump and his family failed to report nearly $300,000 worth of gifts from foreign governments, House Democrats allege in new report

(CNN) Donald Trump and his family failed to report nearly $300,000 worth of gifts they received from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020, including a “larger-than-life painting” of the former president. Lago Resort, according to a new report by House Oversight Committee Democrats and source documents obtained by CNN.

More than 100 gifts from foreign officials, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, totaling a quarter of a million dollars, were never reported to the State Department by Trump and members of his immediate family. By law, the statement said.

House Democrats say the discovery of 17 foreign gifts worth more than $48,000 from Saudi Arabia “raises significant questions about why former President Trump failed to disclose these gifts to the public” and whether they were used. to influence US policy under the previous administration. The report offered no specific evidence that US policy was influenced by the gifts.

Representative of Maryland. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told CNN that the fact that these items were never reported and that some are now missing “suggests serious violations of the Foreign Wage Rule.”

“That part of the Constitution is America’s original anti-bribery law,” Ruskin said, adding that lawmakers can make criminal recommendations if they have evidence to do so.

“But really, Congress needs to legislate, on a bipartisan basis, to create meaningful enforcement mechanisms within the emoluments clause,” he added. “It will force us to recall the wisdom of the framers who insisted that public officials not take from foreign governments.”

House Democrats have sought to point to Trump’s foreign involvements as their Republican colleagues and the new GOP chairman of the Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, step up their own investigation into the foreign dealings of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

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Last year, the State Department disclosed that it could not fully account for foreign gifts received by Trump officials while President Trump was in office, but an interim report released Friday said “new information received by the committee reveals that {it} failed to disclose. Gifts from foreign governments were greater than previously known.” were much broader and extended throughout the Trump administration.

“Internal White House records obtained by the committee indicate that lists provided by the White House to the Office of the Ethics Chairman failed to include all foreign gifts received by former President Trump and the first family, not only in 2020, but the entirety of the Trump administration,” the report noted.

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

“In a legal sense, it doesn’t make any difference whether they’re completely irresponsible or whether they’ve deliberately decided to turn their noses up at the law and the Constitution, but morally, we can safely say it’s accurate. It’s a tiny little phenomenon that Donald Trump loves so much,” Ruskin told CNN. Place said.

Trump alone has failed to report more than 50 foreign gifts — with a total estimated value of more than $150,000 — during his time in office, according to House Democrats. As for what foreign gifts were shared with the State Department, Trump disclosed 36 in 2017, 17 in 2018, 23 in 2019 and zero in 2020.

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The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act prohibits the president and federal officials from receiving foreign gifts that exceed the minimum value currently set at $415. The law also establishes a system for how information about foreign gifts is publicly disclosed and gives recipients the option to purchase and retain items worth more than a specified dollar amount.

Some of the gifts Trump received were valued in the tens of thousands of dollars, including a $12,000 Uzbek silk rug and a $35,000 boxer from the Qatari emir, the report added.

Some items were not counted, including a “larger-than-life painting” of Trump commissioned by the president of El Salvador and given as a gift just before the 2020 election.

The group obtained internal White House communications, including letters from the US Embassy in El Salvador regarding the painting’s shipment to the United States, but found “no record of the nature of the painting.”

“NARA has no record of this painting and the GSA [General Services Administration] There is no record of purchase of this gift,” the statement said.

“However, although GSA transfer documents indicate that in April 2021, the director of correspondence for Donald J. Trump’s office certified ‘full compliance with final distribution of gifts,’ some records suggest the portrait may have been transferred to Florida as ‘property’ of the former president in ‘July 2021,'” it said. Also says.

Email exchanges, which include photos of the US ambassador to El Salvador standing next to a larger-than-life portrait of Trump, indicate that staff are arranging to help the State Department move 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 portrait of former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador.

Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, sent the ambassador’s first email about the sketch to White House staffers, writing, “Can we take a look at this—so cool,” to which a former Trump White House staffer responded, “Yes, it was sent. I already have it and I’m delivering it to the WH.” !”

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The report lists another item that committee investigators were unable to find despite reviewing data from the White House, NARA and the GSA — a gift Kushner received from Egypt.

The White House Gifts Office under the Trump administration has asked the National Archives to transfer several gifts, including this one to Kushner, from its custody to the White House. But there are no records indicating the whereabouts of this gift, a box decorated with silver motifs valued at $450.

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

The committee found that Kushner, along with his wife Ivanka Trump and their children, received 33 undeclared gifts totaling nearly $82,000.

“The Committee identified 13 additional unreported foreign gifts to both former President Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump, totaling $22,000 in estimated value,” the report said.

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