Trump’s gifts from foreign leaders are under scrutiny by the House Oversight Committee

Trump’s gifts from foreign leaders are under scrutiny by the House Oversight Committee


Congressional investigators are looking for dozens of expensive memorabilia donated to former President Donald Trump and members of his family by foreign governments, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The House Oversight Committee has asked the National Archives, which is among the agencies responsible for keeping presidential gifts, for help in locating the items, two of the people said.

The eclectic list ranges from golf clubs given to Trump by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to a 2018 World Cup soccer ball presented by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to a gilded collar of Horus, the falcon-headed ancient Egyptian god, given by the president of Egypt. A large picture of Trump by the president of El Salvador and a $6,400 collar of King Abdulaziz al-Saud, a formal honor from Saudi Arabia, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity for further discussion. investigation

The total value of the dozens of gifts is estimated at $50,000 or more, according to people familiar with the solicitation. The committee asked the archives to verify whether the gifts were among the items transferred from the White House at the end of Trump’s presidency, as required by law, according to people familiar with the inquiry. The committee is also seeking records from the Trump team about its record keeping, a Trump adviser said.

It is not clear why the Control Commission applied for these specific items. A spokesman for the committee declined to comment, except to say the investigation is ongoing. The archive also declined to comment, and it’s unclear where the agency is trying to find these items and which gifts, if any, are properly accounted for on the list.

A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment, nor did officials in the Trump administration handing out the gifts.

The search takes place in front of Trump FBI investigation find out if he and his assistants mishandled classified documents after agents discovered a trove of documents from his Mar-a-Lago home; including highly sensitive intelligence on China and Iran.

This summer that The Oversight Committee, chaired by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (DN.Y.) launched his own investigation into whether Trump had properly followed the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act of 1966. presidents and other government officials from personally keeping gifts from foreigners over $415 unless they pay for them.

According to the law, there is no specific criminal penalty for a person who improperly stores gifts. But ethics experts said there could be criminal activity depending on the circumstances.

“If you have a very valuable item that you are required by law to turn over to the federal government and you don’t, I don’t know that that would preclude criminal activity, we’ve just never seen it done.” said Virginia Canter, chief ethics counsel for CREW, an ethics watchdog.

The oversight committee’s request for archives includes items that were received by Trump family members but may not have been properly reported to the State Department; items documented as potentially being in the Trump executive residence at the White House, the West Wing, or other locations, such as Trump Tower or Mar-a-Lago, near the end of the administration; and items likely received gifts in 2020, according to a person familiar with the matter.

It The New York Times first reported it that the State Department cannot fully count the gifts Trump and other White House officials received in their final year in office because the White House did not provide the agency with a list of what the officials received from foreign governments before they left office. According to testimony given by the commission, the office was in “total disarray.”

Now Maloney’s committee is trying to hold him accountable for specific gifts. The extensive request to the archive also includes a signed photograph of Queen Elizabeth II in an antique frame; a marble slab dedicated to the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem; dresses from Oman; Bust of Mahatma Gandhi; Afghan carpet; crystal ball; and various jewelry, including diamond and gold earrings, according to a person familiar with the request.

Normally, the White House Gifts Office records all domestic and foreign gifts received by the president and the first family, as well as the gift’s valuation, according to a 2012 Congressional Research Report. If the official wants to keep the gift, he can pay the full price.

Otherwise, the gift is transferred to the Archives, where it is kept for the presidential libraries. Gifts intended for the White House residence are transferred to the Park Service of the Department of the Interior, and gifts not sent to the archives or retained by the President are sent to the General Services Administration.

Separately, the State Department’s Office of Protocol publishes an annual list of all foreign government gifts to federal employees. According to information provided by the State Department, Trump “failed to comply with the Foreign Gift Reporting Act” in his final year in office, Maloney wrote in a June letter requesting a review of Trump’s gifts to Acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall.

“The State Department noted that the Office of the Chief of Staff did not request a list of foreign gifts received from the White House in 2020 under the Trump administration. The department is no longer able to obtain the required records,” Maloney wrote to the archives.

In that letter, Maloney requested all documents and information related to gifts received by Trump or members of his family since the last year of the Trump administration, including the location and value of the gifts, the identity of the donor and any reports of the gifts. Along with the archives and all communications related to foreign gifts between Trump, his family members and White House staff.

The failure to account for gifts is part of the Trump administration’s accounting practices.

Numerous items identified as “gifts” were seized by the FBI during a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and residence in August. It is unclear whether the seized gifts were given to Trump by foreign governments during his time in office and were improperly moved to Mar-a-Lago.

The Washington Post reported earlier that White House officials raised concerns in the final days of Trump’s presidency that some of the gifts Trump received as president were still in the White House rather than being properly transferred to the National Archives.

As he left the White House, Trump took a number of items with him, including a mock-up of his proposed Air Force One conversion and a mini-model of one of the arrows on the border’s black wall, with an engraved plaque, The Post, on it. had informed earlier. When the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of material from Mar-a-Lago in January, they found correspondence with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that Trump once described as “love letters.”

“This president has been holding things back a lot,” said a former Trump White House staffer who handled records management and spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations. “Souvenirs and gifts are a big thing for him. Throughout his life, he created memoirs.”

Former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said that when he worked for Trump, the president always wanted to keep gifts from foreign leaders. Kelly said that while he instructed staff to follow the process of recording gifts from foreign leaders, when Trump was given the opportunity to buy the gifts, he was adamantly opposed to paying for them.

“He said. “They gave me these, these are my gifts,” Kelly said of her conversation with Trump. “But I would say. “No sir, they gave these to the President of the United States. You should look at it as an official gift from the country.” He would be adamantly against it. He was adamant that these were his gifts and could not understand why he could not keep these gifts.

“I don’t ever remember him buying anything,” Kelly added.

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