Governments from six countries spent more than $750,000 on the Washington hotel owned by former President Donald Trump while trying to influence his administration in 2017 and 2018, according to a congressional committee report released Monday. .
The spending – made by officials from China, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates – was described in a report by the House Oversight Committee, which obtained documents from Mazars USA, l former accounting firm of Trump.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat who chairs the committee, said the documents reveal that during the officials’ stay at the Trump-owned hotel, “they sought to influence American foreign policy.”
The documents, Maloney added, “strongly call into question the extent to which President Trump was guided by his personal financial interest while in office rather than by the best interests of the American people.”
According to the committee, a total of $259,724 was spent at the Trump Hotel in September 2017 by then Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his entourage.
Razak stayed in the hotel’s presidential suite for $10,000 a night, the committee said, spending $44,562 over three days and an additional $1,500 for a personal trainer.
Razak and members of his family were being investigated by the Justice Department at the time for plundering a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, the committee said.
He said officials from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump Hotel in 2017 and 2018, while the governments of Turkey and China spent lesser amounts.
In a statement to The New York Times, Trump’s son, Eric Trump, said profits earned from hotel stays are returned to the federal government through an annual payment to the Treasury Department.
“As a company, we have gone to great lengths to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Eric Trump said. “Not because of a legal requirement, but because of the respect we have for the office of the president.”
The Trump Organization sold the Trump International Hotel in Washington to a group of investors in May 2022 for $375 million.
In January last year, the Supreme Court ended a lawsuit saying Trump violated constitutional bars against a president accepting income from foreign sources, saying the cases were moot since Trump left the White House. .
These cases stemmed from the so-called emoluments clause of the US Constitution, which prohibits public officials from receiving gifts, payments or securities from foreign states without the authorization of Congress.
Trump handed over management of his real estate empire to his sons after taking office in 2017, though he retained his stake in the Trump Organization, which brought in $435 million in revenue in 2018.