Trump accepted millions from foreign states during presidency, US lawmakers say News
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Trump accepted millions from foreign states during presidency, US lawmakers say

During his presidency, Donald Trump accepted millions of dollars from foreign states including China, Saudi Arabia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to a report released Thursday by Democratic lawmakers.

Through entities he owned or controlled, the report alleges, Trump accepted at least $7.8 million from at least 20 countries spanning the globe during his presidency, and in doing so, failed to seek Congressional approval, in violation of the US constitution.

China was the largest contributor in terms of total payments made to Trump’s private business interests, the report alleges, which the authors assert is at odds with a president’’s responsibility to the public interest.

By pocketing foreign states’ payments, President Trump repeatedly placed his personal financial interest and the interests of foreign wealth and power above the public interest, resulting in precisely the split loyalty between foreign power and the American people that the Framers sought to avoid by writing the Foreign Emoluments Clause into the Constitution.

The $7.8 million figure was arrived at using what the report described as “the most conservative possible accounting methodologies,” based on figures drawn from receipts and records the Committee obtained from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars.

Following a lengthy court battle, Mazars was compelled to produce documents to the Committee in compliance with its subpoena. But according to the report’s authors, Committee Chairman James Comer, a Republican congressman from Kentucky, relieved the firm of its continued obligation to produce documents: “In January 2023 … Comer made the abrupt and outrageous decision to release Mazars from having to continue complying with the Committee’s subpoena and court-supervised settlement agreement. Despite Chairman Comer’s decision to bury further evidence, however, even this small slice of a picture of unknown proportions allows America to glimpse the rampant illegality and corruption of the Trump presidency.”

The Foreign Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8) states:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

The investigation underlying the report was launched in 2016, when, per the report, “then President-elect Trump was poised to bring with him into the office of President of the United States a sprawling and debt-laden corporate empire of more than 500 businesses operating in at least 25 different countries, and yet refused to divest himself of these corporate assets and properties.”