(CNN) Donald Trump and his family failed to report nearly $300,000 in gifts they received from foreign governments between 2017 and 2020, including a “larger-than-life painting” of the former president that may currently reside at his Mar-a-Lago resort, House Democrats according to a new report from the oversight committee and supporting documents obtained by CNN.
Trump and his immediate family never disclosed to the State Department more than 100 gifts from foreign dignitaries, including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, totaling more than a quarter of a million dollars. by law, the report said.
House Democrats said the discovery of these undeclared foreign gifts, including 17 from Saudi Arabia totaling more than $48,000, “raises significant questions about why former President Trump did not disclose these gifts to the public” and whether they may have been used. influencing US policy during the previous administration. The report offers no concrete evidence that the gifts have influenced US policy.
Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told CNN that the fact that these items were never reported and some are now missing “suggests serious violations of the Foreign Emoluments Clause.”
“That part of the constitution is America’s original anti-bribery law,” Raskin said, noting that lawmakers can file a criminal complaint if there is evidence.
“But really, Congress needs to bipartisanly enact legislation to build meaningful enforcement mechanisms into the Wage Clause,” he added. “This forces us to take back the wisdom of those who emphasized that people in public office should not remain with foreign governments.”
House Democrats have sought to highlight Trump’s foreign engagements as their Republican colleague and the new GOP chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, launches his own investigation into the foreign affairs of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
Last year, the State Department revealed that it was unable to fully account for foreign gifts received by Trump officials during the president’s final year in office, but an interim report released Friday cited “new information obtained by the committee that reveals that the failure to disclose gifts from foreign governments was far more extensive than previously known and that distributed to the entire Trump administration.”
“Internal White House information obtained by the committee indicates that the lists provided by the White House to the Office of the Chief of Protocol did not include all foreign gifts received by former President Trump and the First Family not only in 2020, but throughout the entire year of the Trump administration,” the report notes. .
“In total, the records show that former President Trump and the First Family received 117 undeclared foreign gifts valued at approximately $291,000,” the interim report said. The report zeroes in on undisclosed gifts from Saudi Arabia, Japan, India and China.
“Of course, in a legal sense it doesn’t matter whether they were just completely reckless or deliberately decided to thumb their nose at the law and the Constitution, but morally we can safely say that this is exactly the kind of little thing that Donald Trump is obsessed with,” Raskin told CNN.
Trump alone failed to report more than 50 foreign gifts — with an estimated total value of more than $150,000 — during his tenure, according to House Democrats. As for sharing foreign gifts with the State Department, Trump disclosed 36 in 2017, 17 in 2018, 23 in 2019 and zero in 2020.
The Foreign Gifts and Honors Act prohibits the president and federal officials from receiving foreign gifts that exceed the minimum value, which is currently $415. The law also creates a system for public disclosure of information on foreign gifts and allows recipients of items above a set dollar amount to purchase and retain them.
According to the report, some of the gifts Trump received were worth tens of thousands of dollars, including a $12,000 Uzbek silk rug and a $35,000 dagger from the Emir of Qatar.
Some of the items remain unaccounted for, including a “larger-than-life painting” of Trump that was commissioned by the El Salvadoran leader and delivered as a gift just before the 2020 election.
The committee received internal White House information, including correspondence about the delivery of the painting from the US Embassy in El Salvador to the United States, but noted that “there is no record of the use of the painting”.
“NARA had no record of this painting and GSA [General Services Administration] nor was there any record of the purchase of this gift,” the report said.
“However, despite GSA transition documents showing that Donald J. Trump’s Office of Correspondence Director confirmed ‘full compliance with the final disposition of gifts’ in April 2021, certain information suggests that the portrait may have been transferred to Florida as ‘property’ of the former president in July 2021,” it adds.
Email exchanges, which include photos of the U.S. ambassador to El Salvador standing next to a larger-than-usual portrait of Trump, show that staff arranged for the State Department to help move the gift from the ambassador’s residence to the White House.
Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, forwarded the ambassador’s original email about the painting to White House staff, writing, “Can we take care of this — very nice,” to which Trump’s former White House staffer replied, “Yes, it was forwarded to me already and I will be forwarded to the WH!”
The report lists another item that committee investigators were unable to track down despite checking records from the White House, NARA and GSA — a gift Kushner received from Egypt.
The White House Office of Gifts under the Trump administration asked the National Archives to transfer several gifts from its possession back to the White House, including this gift to Kushner. But there are no records to show where this gift, a silver-patterned box with an estimated value of $450, is located.
There is also no evidence that the box is currently in Kushner’s possession.
The panel also found that Kushner, his wife Ivanka Trump and their children together received 33 undeclared gifts totaling nearly $82,000.
“The committee identified 13 other undeclared foreign gifts addressed to both former President Trump and former first lady Melania Trump with an estimated total value of more than $22,000,” according to the report.