The Trump administration is hiding the truth about how the president is using his hotel in D.C. for personal profit. Democrats are suing to get answers.
The Trump administration is trying to cover up how Donald Trump is using the presidency to personally profit from his D.C. hotel, so Democrats are suing to get to the bottom of it.
House Democrats, led by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, are seeking a range of documents related to Trump's continued involvement with the Trump Hotel, including possibly receiving payments from foreign governments and foreign officials.
Unfortunately, they are being stymied at every turn. "The Trump Administration has refused all of our requests for documents about the Trump Hotel for the better part of this year," Cummings said at a press conference.
In the lawsuit, Cummings is relying on a 1928 law that states that a federal agency “shall” produce documents requested by any seven members of the House Oversight Committee. Under the previous administration, said Cummings, the authority to seek these documents on this very issue was recognized by the same agency.
"But all that stopped on January 20," Cummings added. "There is one thing, and one thing only, that has changed in this case - President Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office."
Unfortunately, Republicans are actively hindering efforts to even obtain information from this administration.
"Republicans are essentially walling off President Trump from credible congressional oversight," said Cummings.
At the press conference announcing the lawsuit, Cummings outlined just some of the obstruction from congressional Republicans and explained exactly why Congress must have answers about Trump's potentially illegal profits from his hotel:
In this specific case, the lease for the hotel explicitly prohibits any “elected official of the Government of the United States” from taking or sharing in any benefit that “may arise” from the lease.
Yet, President Trump refused to divest his financial interests in the hotel before he was sworn in, as both Republican and Democratic experts recommended... We have no transparency - no ability to check for ongoing conflicts of interest or unconstitutional foreign payments.
At the moment, it is unknown if the Trump Hotel, "has become a conduit for foreign governments, lobbyists and other special interests seeking favor with the president to channel money to the Trump family." But Cummings is determined to find out.
"We regret that we have to go to court to obtain these basic documents, which are clearly within our Committee’s jurisdiction," Cummings said. "We would not be here today if Chairman [Trey] Gowdy and his Republican colleagues would do their jobs."
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy is infamous for wasting millions of taxpayer dollars chasing fringe conspiracy theories around the tragic deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. But he has thus far resisted any serious investigation into Trump using his office to personally profit. Instead, Cummings said, Gowdy is more interested in "aiding and abetting" Trump's corruption.
Unlike Republicans, who have consistently cowered before Trump, Democrats are the only members of Congress willing to stand up to the corruption, greed, and willful disregard for the law of this administration.
Cummings and his fellow Democrats, meanwhile, are continuing to fight to hold this administration accountable, with our without the help of Republicans.