Turkish–U.S. officials gathered at Trump Hotel D.C.
|ME||Apr 22, 2019|
Gen. Dunford and Turkish ministers headlined conference to improve ties
The 37th Annual Conference on U.S.-Turkey Relations took place April 14–16 at the Trump Hotel D.C. The American-Turkish Council, a business organization, hosted the event.
While the 2017 conference also was held at the U.S. president’s Pennsylvania Avenue hotel, last year the event was canceled because U.S. officials didn’t want to attend given the tensions between the Turkish and U.S. governments.
There was less reluctance this year. According to the event’s program and social-media sightings, U.S. participants at an event in the president’s hotel held by a group advocating for improved relations with a foreign country included
chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford
deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette
the Secretary of State’s special representative for Syria engagement and special envoy to the global coalition to defeat ISIS, James Jeffrey
former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke (flashback: security detail for Zinke and his wife’s 2017 vacation in Turkey cost U.S. taxpayers $25,000)
(While Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross and senior advisor to the president Jared Kushner spoke during the conference, it appears their remarks were made at a different venue.)
Meanwhile, at least three ministers in Turkey’s government and a senior advisor to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan headlined an event that President Trump’s hotel ostensibly profited from. In addition to being a featured speaker at the Trump Hotel D.C., Turkey’s finance minister, Berat Albayrak met with President Trump at the White House last week.
And, yes, the event had corporate sponsors—one of the biggest of which was beleaguered Boeing.
According to one attendee, the conference was well attended by both Americans and Turks.
President Trump visited four Trump properties over the past nine days
From April 12 through yesterday, President Trump appeared at four of his businesses.
On April 12, he dined at the Trump Hotel D.C. The next morning, he golfed at Trump National in Sterling, Virginia. Then over Easter weekend, President Trump stayed at Mar-a-Lago and golfed at Trump Palm Beach (twice).
The White House released an official photo of President Trump at Trump Palm Beach with pro golfer Lexi Thompson and talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh. The president’s shirt appears to be emblazoned with the logo for his club as well.
During that spell, plenty of patrons at Trump’s businesses got to take photos of the U.S. president and First Lady too.
Support 1100 Pennsylvania: never-redacted reporting on President Trump’s D.C. hotel
We now know most of what’s in the Mueller report. It’s time to focus on what happens inside the Trump Hotel D.C. and the president’s other businesses. Original, in-depth reporting, of course, takes time. But it’s making an impact—and you can help. If you’re not an 1100 Pennsylvania member, please become one. Memberships are this newsletter’s sole source of revenue. Select the red “Subscribe now” button and become a member by paying just $5 a month or $50 a year. Thank you.
President Trump to honor Trump Organization business partner Tiger Woods
After Tiger Woods won The Masters, President Trump announced he’ll award the golfer the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Trump World Golf Club Dubai is scheduled to open later this year. It’s designed by Tiger Woods.
Managing director boasts hotel saw ‘record numbers’ for Easter brunch
The Trump Hotel D.C.’s managing director, Mickael Damelincourt, reported that a record amount of people would be celebrating the resurrection of their lord and savior by spending $130 to brunch at the president’s inn.
At $130 per person, the price for adults was $5 more per person than last year—a 4 percent increase.
Notable Easter guests included
America’s Mayor cum the Mayor of America’s Living Room, Rudy Giuliani
Trump campaign advisor Katrina Pierson
political consultant, Fox News pundit, and Trump campaign advisor Harlan Hill with former advisor to both Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon, Raheem Kassasm
an intern for Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–KY), Zac Brumback
a vice president at Oral Roberts University, Laura Brash Bishop
Rare: GOP lawmaker calls for Congress to look at whether Trump is profiting from the presidency
From “‘We can find a solution’: Simpson looks to put together bipartisan immigration reform group” by Gretel Kauffman for The News–Press:
Another issue [Rep. Mike] Simpson [(R–ID)] said he would like to see Congress dive into: the Emoluments Clause and how it applies to President Trump, particularly when it comes to Trump hotels. The clause prohibits federal government officials in the U.S. from accepting payment or gifts from rulers of other countries without Congress’s permission.
“Are people staying there because it’s the Trump International Hotel and is he being enriched by that?” Simpson said. “That’s something that I think Congress ought to look at, that we ought to go in and define better what ‘Emoluments Clause’ means.”
Simpson’s campaign has not reported spending any money at Trump properties.
“Republicans have spent at least $4.7 million at Trump properties since he took office” by Justin Rohrlich and Dan Kopf for Quartz
The campaign for the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, Jenniffer González-Colón, (R), spent $816.60 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse in March 2019. On March 28, she both spent $372.40 at President Trump’s business and filed a bill that would make Puerto Rico the 51st state. Prior to last month González-Colón’s campaign had not reported any expenditures at the Trump Hotel D.C.
The campaign for Rep. Greg Pence (R–IN) spent another $14,793.08 at the Trump Hotel D.C. in the first three months of 2019. The vice president’s brother’s campaign now has spent a total $45,348.96 at the president’s D.C. hotel. Also, the $290 Pence’s campaign paid for lodging on March 14, 2019 is among the lowest rates seen at downtown D.C.’s only five-star hotel.
The campaign for House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R–LA) spent $1,257.10 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on March 10 for a facility rental and catering. Scalise’s campaign now has disbursed $1,550.60 at the president’s hotel.
The campaign for Sen. John Thune (R–SD) spent $2,615.33 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Jan. 17, 2019 for event catering. Thune’s campaign now has disbursed $11,016.17 at the president’s hotel.
The campaign for Rep. William Timmons (R–SC) spent $3,937.70 at the Trump Hotel D.C. on March 10, 2019 for catering. Timmons was spotted at the hotel two days afterwards with the chair of the Greenville County [S.C.] Republican Party, Nate Leupp, and the former chair of the South Carolina GOP. Timmons’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel.
Republican Omar Navarro lost to Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) in November, yet his campaign has made 17 expenditures at Trump hotels in D.C. and Las Vegas in 2019, totaling $2,668.92. Going back through January 2017, Navarro’s campaign has spent $14,921.39 at the president’s properties.
The campaign for Rep. Darin LaHood (R–IL) spent $208.20 at the Trump Hotel D.C. on March 1, 2019 for lodging. LaHood’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the Trump Hotel D.C. $208.20 per night is among the lowest rates seen at downtown D.C.’s only five-star hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Ron Estes (R–KS) spent $3,553.78 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Feb,. 28, 2019 for catering. Estes’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Brett Guthrie (R–KY) spent $1,690.58 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Feb. 13, 2019 for food for a meeting. Guthrie’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Kenny Marchant (R–TX) spent $230 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Jan. 31, 2019 for a fundraising meal expense. Marchant’s campaign now has spent a total of $374 at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Tom Rice (R–SC) spent $303.50 at the Trump Hotel D.C. on Feb. 5, 2019 for event catering. Rice’s campaign now has disbursed a total of $4,734.30 at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Jim Banks (R–IN) spent $200.40 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Jan, 16, 2019 for food and beverage. Banks’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–CO) spent $384.10 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on Jan. 8, 2019 for catering. Lamborn’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The campaign for Rep. Tom Graves (R–GA) spent $7,172.19 at the Trump Hotel D.C. on Feb. 4 and March 4, 2019. Graves’s campaign had not reported any previous expenditures at the president’s D.C. hotel, but it did spend $1,820.07 at the Trump Hotel Chicago in 2018.
The campaign for Rep. Roger Williams (R–TX) spent $97.40 at the Trump Hotel D.C.’s steakhouse on March 13, 2019 for a meal. Williams’s campaign has now disbursed a total of $7,823.07 at the president’s D.C. hotel.
The Trump campaign has spent more than $168,000 at Trump businesses so far in 2019 reported Anna Massoglia of The Center for Responsive Politics.
Other notable sightings
A U.S. government employee—White House social-media director Dan Scavino—plugged the president’s presence at Mar-a-Lago, his private club.
Martha Boneta, a senior policy advisor for the pro-Trump nonprofit America First Policies, and Rabia Kazan, the president of the pro-Trump Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition and a director of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, reveled in their blessings at the president’s luxury hotel.
Fox News’s Gina Loudon shared the president’s campaign slogan from the president’s private club.
Ximena Barreto, a former Trump political appointee in the Department of Health and Human Services who resigned after CNN and Media Matters reported she’d “spread conspiracies and made anti-Muslim comments,” plotted to change the world at the Trump Hotel D.C.
Don Jr., a businessman walled off from his father’s administration, promoted one of his father’s political tweets from inside the Trump Hotel D.C.
Other Trump Organization news
“A powerful lobbying tool in the Trump era: the president’s ear” by Stephanie Armour for The Wall Street Journal
“In light of subpoenas, let’s look back at Trump’s dealings with Deutsche Bank” by Aaron Elstein for Crain’s New York Business
“‘Harm to ongoing matter’” by Katie Zavadski and Heather Vogell for ProPublica and WNYC’s Trump, Inc.
“All the D.C.-area places mentioned in the Mueller report” by Jenny Gathright and Mayowa Aina for WAMU
“Outside the Trump Hotel and White House, reactions to Mueller report were… redacted” by Gabe Bullard for WAMU
“Trump’s hidden life on the golf course” by Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman for Politico
A Tea Party challenger for Greenville County S.C. GOP chair, Pressely Stutts, has accused the incumbent, Nate Leupp “of absconding with a $150 bathrobe from the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.—apparently in response to a joking Facebook post the local party chairman made last month.” by FITSNews
Trump National Golf Club Washington, D.C. is hiring.
House investigations, current status (latest changes, April 22, 2019)
UPDATED Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24. On March 1, chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said the bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capitol One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Judiciary—On March 4, the committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel. Among the individuals the committee requested documents from are Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.; EVP Eric Trump; EVP and COO Michael Calamari; CFO Alan Weisselberg; EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten; Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon; longtime Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff; former Trump advisor Felix Sater; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; and Trump associate and inaugural chair, Tom Barrack. The committee received “tens of thousands” of documents by the March 18 deadline the letters set for responses, according to its chair, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–NY). Among the respondents: Barrack, Steve Bannon, and the National Rifle Association. But more than half of the targets had not replied by April 3, two weeks after the deadline. On that day, the committee authorized subpoenas for former White House aides Bannon, Ann Donaldson, Hope Hicks, Donald McGahn, and Reince Priebus, per Politico. Attorneys for the Trump Organization, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump did not respond to Politico’s inquires if their clients planned to reply. The committee is considering making additional document requests, including to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The committee interviewed Felix Sater on March 21.
UPDATED Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. On Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee would investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank. On Feb. 28, an aide said the panel expects to interview Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. During testimony on March 6, Michael Cohen turned over documents that allegedly show how Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, edited Cohen’s statement regarding Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen later read this revised statement before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. In closed-door testimony in March, Cohen claimed the president submitted a false insurance claim regarding a fresco in Trump Tower. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, was scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 27, but that has been postponed. Schiff hired a veteran prosecutor experienced with combating Russian organized crime to lead this investigation. The committee is also seeking to interview Trump inauguration organizer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capitol One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances.
UPDATED Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing White House attorney Stefan Passantino and long-time Trump personal attorney Sheri Dillon provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” As a result, Cummings wants to depose Passantino and Dillon; the White House, however, rejected Cummings’ request to interview Passantino. And on Feb. 27, Cohen testified to the committee about those payments and other Trump Organization business practices, which could lead to the committee requesting the president’s tax returns and allegations of possible insurance fraud. The next day, House Democrats signaled they would seek testimony from Trump Organization officials whom Cohen alleged were implicated, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and CFO Allen Weisselberg. On March 6, Cummings requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. The committee also has requested 10 years of Trump’s financial records. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capitol One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. And on April 12, Cummings notified committee members that he plans to subpoena Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, for his financial statements. That same day Cummings also wrote to the GSA requesting all monthly reports from the Trump Hotel D.C., information about any liens on the hotel, a slew of correspondence between the Trump Org and GSA, and legal opinions regarding the Trump Org’s compliance with the lease. President Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Hotel D.C. sued Cummings and Mazars USA on April 22 in an attempt to prevent the release of Trump’s financial records.
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the D.C. hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans. Titus is hiring additional staffers to handle the investigation. On March 6, Titus requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate the FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. NPR reported on March 15 that, “Democrats on the committee want to know, among other things, whether there was any political pressure exerted on the GSA by the Trump White House, presidential campaign or transition team. They also want to know how the Trump Hotel calculates its profits, segregates incoming money from foreign governments, and what the Trump Organization owes the GSA on a monthly or annual basis.’”
UPDATED Ways and Means—On April 3, chairman Richard Neal (D–MA) requested six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, as well as the returns for eight of his businesses (including that of the trust that holds the president’s ownership stake in the D.C. hotel). After the IRS missed Neal’s first deadline, he extended it until 5 p.m. on April 22. Also, the subcommittee on Oversight held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
President Trump chose not to divest; Americans need to know who’s paying him
Unlike his predecessors, Donald Trump did not divest his businesses upon becoming U.S. president. Think that may be a problem? Become an 1100 Pennsylvania member, and support reporting on who’s spending money at the president’s businesses—and what they may be getting in return. Memberships are this newsletter’s sole source of revenue. Select the red “Subscribe now” button and become a member by paying just $5 a month or $50 a year. Thank you.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, April 22, 2019)
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal occurred on March 19; by all accounts the three-judge panel (all Republican appointees, including one who was a selection of President Trump’s) were skeptical of the AGs’ case. D.C. AG Karl Racine pledged to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
UPDATED Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. A briefing schedule was set on March 5 with Cork’s brief due on April 15, the president’s brief due on May 15, and Cork’s reply to the president’s brief due on June 5. On April 11, however, Cork’s attorneys requested a 30-day extension, to which Trump’s attorneys consented—as did the court the following day.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
Is the Trump Organization selling merchandise that depicts the White House? (latest change, March 21, 2019)
One thing that (probably) has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses
“Secrecy, self-dealing, and greed at the NRA” by Mike Spies for The New Yorker
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