Washington, D.C. (Nov. 14, 2022)—Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) requesting presidential records to determine whether former President Trump distorted U.S. foreign policy to serve his own financial interests, in violation of his oath of office. The request comes as the Committee released new documents obtained from Mr. Trump’s former accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP (Mazars), revealing that foreign governments—including the governments of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Turkey, and the People’s Republic of China—spent more money than previously known at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., and did so at sensitive times for those countries’ relations with the United States.
“Today, I am releasing the first set of documents revealing that, during the same time periods they were seeking to influence American foreign policy, six nations spent more than $750,000 at President Trump’s hotel—renting lavish rooms for up to $10,000 per night,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “These documents sharply call into question the extent to which President Trump was guided by his personal financial interest while in office rather than the best interests of the American people. These documents, which the Committee continues to obtain from Mazars, will inform our legislative efforts to ensure that future presidents do not abuse their position of power for personal gain.”
The documents were obtained from a subpoena issued by the late Chairman Elijah E. Cummings during the 116th Congress regarding investigations into former President Trump’s conflicts of interest, inadequate financial disclosures, and violations of the Emoluments Clauses.
The documents reveal the following foreign spending at Trump Hotel:
- Malaysian Spending During Prime Minister’s Visit: On September 12, 2017, President Trump welcomed then-Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak to the White House while Prime Minister Razak and members of his family were publicly under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for looting a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund and laundering the money through U.S. financial institutions. Records show that in the days before and after this visit—from September 7, 2017, to September 15, 2017—Prime Minister Razak and his entourage spent at least $259,724 at the Trump Hotel. Prime Minister Razak stayed in the hotel’s presidential suite for $10,000 per night, spending $44,562 over three days. Despite the ongoing DOJ investigation and other actions by Prime Minister Razak that had drawn criticism from human rights groups, President Trump lavished praise on Prime Minister Razak during his visit and thanked him for “all the investment you have made in the United States.” The Malaysian government later prosecuted Mr. Razak for his role in the money laundering scandal.
- Saudi, U.A.E., and Qatar Spending During the Qatar Crisis: In June 2017, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., along with other Gulf neighbors, severed diplomatic ties and imposed a blockade on its neighbor and U.S. ally Qatar, igniting a regional crisis. Trump Hotel records obtained by the Committee show that while the governments of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. publicly lobbied for President Trump’s support during the blockade, those same governments also privately spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at the Trump Hotel.
- Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: From late 2017 through mid-2018, Saudi Arabian and U.A.E. government officials, seemingly including members of the Saudi royal family, spent at least $164,929 at the Trump Hotel. On March 13, 2018, while Saudi and Emirati delegations were staying at Trump Hotel, President Trump fired then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson—whom Saudi and Emirati officials had reportedly been lobbying President Trump to remove for his role in intervening to stop a Saudi invasion of Qatar the previous summer. On March 20, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia visited the White House where President Trump praised him as a “big purchaser of equipment and lots of other things.” Two days later, President Trump approved the sale of $1.3 billion in arms sales to the Saudi government, despite concern by Members of Congress.
- Qatar: In early April 2018, President Trump welcomed the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to the White House where he praised Qatar’s record on combatting terrorism and referred to Al Thani as a “great gentleman.” Records obtained by the Committee show that in the three months leading up to that meeting, the Qatari government and associated entities spent more than $300,000 at the Trump Hotel. Between January and early March 2018, the Sheikh Al Thani Family, the ruling family of Qatar, booked an extended stay at the Trump Hotel, spending at least $282,037. On several occasions during this period, for example on February 11, 2018 and 12, 2018, a room under “Ivanka & Jared Kushner” was booked on the same nights of the Sheikh Al Thani room block.
- Turkish Spending: During his term in office, President Trump remained silent when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bodyguards assaulted U.S. citizens and pushed his own DOJ to drop an investigation into money laundering and sanctions evasion by the Turkish state-owned financial institution Halkbank. Documents obtained by the Committee reveal that the Turkish Embassy sponsored two stays around the time of President Erdoğan’s visit and the attack on U.S. protestors. Documents also show that from September 2017 to April 2018, Brian Ballard, a Republican lobbyist hired by Turkey and Halkbank, spent $21,209 over 37 nights at the Trump Hotel. Advance deposit ledgers from April 2018 also reflect charges of $65,139 for an “American Turkish Council Call In.” The American Turkish Council has been described by Turkey’s state-aligned newspaper the Daily Sabah as the “main Turkish lobby in the U.S.” In December 2018, President Trump reportedly told President Erdoğan that he would ensure DOJ would drop the Halkbank prosecution.
- Soliciting Chinese and Russian Business: In November 2017, President Trump traveled to China where he lavished praise on President Xi Jinping, and in contrast to his campaign, blamed the U.S. for its trade deficit with China. Documents show that on August 27, 2017, two months before Trump met with President Xi, an Embassy of China Delegation spent $19,391 at the Trump Hotel. Other documents obtained by the Committee indicate that the Trump Hotel may have sought business from both China and Russia around this time, despite the Trump Organization’s promise not to enter into any foreign deals while Mr. Trump was President.
In light of these troubling new revelations, Chairwoman Maloney requested records from NARA regarding former President Trump’s conduct in office and foreign governments’ attempts to influence the Trump Administration, including all documents and communications related to the Trump Hotel or hotel stays at other Trump-owned properties, foreign payments to the Trump Hotel or other Trump-owned properties, documents related to the Malaysian sovereign wealth and Halkbank investigations, and more by November 28, 2022.
To read the documents released by the Committee, click here for Malaysia documents, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) documents, Qatar documents, Turkey documents, and the People’s Republic of China documents.