Seems Trump has another conflict of interest when it comes to MBS the Butcher.
David Fahrenthold, who’s been a bee in Trump’s dainty hair weave for years now, has a story at The Washington Post (with Jonathan O’Connell) revealing that Trump personally profited from the decision of Saudi government-funded lobbyists to move their business to Trump’s D.C. hotel. In all, says The Post, the lobbyists booked 500 rooms:
At the time, these lobbyists were reserving large numbers of D.C.-area hotel rooms as part of an unorthodox campaign that offered U.S. military veterans a free trip to Washington — then sent them to Capitol Hill to lobby against a law the Saudis opposed, according to veterans and organizers.
At first, Saudi lobbyists put the veterans up in Northern Virginia. Then, in December 2016, they switched most of their business to the Trump International Hotel in downtown Washington. In all, the lobbyists spent more than $270,000 to house six groups of visiting veterans at the Trump hotel, which Trump still owns.
Those bookings have fueled a pair of federal lawsuits alleging Trump violated the Constitution by taking improper payments from foreign governments.
Now, we’ll never know for sure if Trump thinks a U.S. resident’s life and inalienable right not to be hacked to bits with a bone saw is worth $270,000, but it sure doesn’t look good. That’s why most presidents — er, human beings — avoid these kinds of conflicts. (Who am I kidding? He’d sell Don Jr. for a super-sized order of fries and a pouch of magic beans if he could get away with it.)
Anyway, the days of Trump routinely getting away with this kind of thing may, thankfully, soon be over:
Next year, the transactions will also face scrutiny from the House’s new Democratic majority. Democrats have said they want to understand Trump’s business connections with the Saudi government in the aftermath of the killing of Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi Consulate in Turkey.
“Foreign countries understand that they can curry favor with the president by patronizing his businesses,” said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), who will lead the House Intelligence Committee next year. “It presents a real problem, in that it may work.” The White House declined to comment.
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