Trump’s budget benefits his D.C. hotel, business partner

Trump’s budget benefits his D.C. hotel, business partner

Yes, presidential budgets are wish lists rather than actual policy. But it’s worth noting the 2020 budget President Trump submitted yesterday would benefit both his D.C. hotel and one of his business partners.

From “Trump budget includes no new money for FBI headquarters” by Morgan Chalfant for The Hill:

The Trump administration is not asking Congress for any funds to build a new FBI headquarters building, despite past funding proposals asking for billions for the construction project.

“There is not new money for the FBI headquarters,” Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus told reporters Monday during a briefing on the Justice Department’s fiscal 2020 budget request.

Lofthus noted that the project is “still under discussion” within the administration but suggested it would not ask for more funds from Congress until a decision is made on the plans for a new or a refurbished headquarters.

As 1100 Pennsylvania has pointed out before (and likely will again), the FBI’s current main office is diagonally across Pennsylvania Avenue from the Trump Hotel D.C. Moving it would free up that lot for redevelopment, possibly as a luxury hotel that would compete with the president’s business (the Trump Hotel D.C. promotes itself as downtown D.C.’s only five-star hotel). Last year, Democrats on the House Oversight committee alleged the president intervened in the General Services Administration decision-making process, when it reversed course and decided not to relocate FBI headquarters after all.

As for how the budget benefits one of the president’s business partners, from “Trump’s budget would steer $20M to Jack Nicklaus-backed hospital project” by Dan Diamond for Politico:

The White House’s proposed budget includes funding for a small children’s health program sought by one of President Donald Trump’s golfing buddies: Jack Nicklaus.

Under the administration's fiscal 2020 funding plan released Monday, HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] would steer $20 million toward a mobile children’s hospital project at Miami's Nicklaus Children's Hospital, named for the legendary golfer.

Nicklaus isn’t just a golf buddy of Trump’s, he’s also a business partner of the president’s having designed Trump’s Jupiter, Fla. and Bronx, N.Y. golf courses.

New York attorney general subpoenas Deutsche Bank for Trump Hotel D.C. records

From “New York attorney general opens investigation of Trump projects” by William K. Rashbaum and Danny Hakim for The New York Times:

The New York attorney general’s office late on Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for records relating to the financing of four major Trump Organization projects and a failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League in 2014…

The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

Deutsche Bank lent Trump $170 million in 2015 to develop the Trump Hotel D.C.

At least two House committees also are investigating Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank: The House Financial Services and Intelligence committees sent an inquiry to the bank in January. Earlier this month, Financial Services chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said that the bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York.

Noteworthy sightings

An economic and business issues advisor for the Trump transition team turned lobbyist, Nick Owens, was with H. Lenwood Brooks V, a vice president at “the leading trade association for the financial industry,” the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

Luigi Damasceno, a consultant at “global professional services firm” Brooks International, attended the special event with the U.S. president at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday.

A lobbyist for The Brewer Group and the chair of Florida’s Black Republican Caucus, Sean P. Jackson, was excited to eat at the president’s hotel.

Hanging out together post-CPAC at the president’s hotel were

Other Trump Organization news

House investigations, current status (latest changes, March 11, 2019)

  • Financial ServicesSent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24. On March 1, chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said that the bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York.

  • Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.

  • Judiciary—On March 4, the committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel. Among the individuals the committee is requesting documents from are Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.; EVP Eric Trump; EVP and COO Michael Calamari; CFO Alan Weisselberg; EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten; Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon; longtime Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff; former Trump advisor Felix Sater; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; and Trump associate and inaugural chair, Tom Barrack. Barrack said he will cooperate.

  • Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. During an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee will investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank. On Feb. 28, an aide said the panel expects to interview Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. During testimony on March 6, Michael Cohen turned over documents that allegedly show how Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, edited Cohen’s statement regarding Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen later read this revised statement before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, is scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 14. Schiff hired a veteran prosecutor experienced with combating Russian organized crime to lead this investigation.

  • UPDATED Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” according to CBS News on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing White House attorney Stefan Passantino and long-time Trump personal attorney Sheri Dillon provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” As a result, Cummings wants to depose both Passantino and Dillon; the White House, however, rejected Cummings’ request to interview Passantino. And on Feb. 27, Cohen testified to the committee about those payments and other Trump Organization business practices, which could lead to the committee requesting the president’s tax returns and allegations of possible insurance fraud. The next day, House Democrats signaled they would seek testimony from Trump Organization officials whom Cohen alleged were implicated, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and CFO Allen Weisselberg. On March 6, Cummings requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened in 2016, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans. Titus is hiring additional staffers to handle the investigation. On March 6, Titus requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate the FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C.

  • Ways and Means subcommittee on Oversight—The subcommittee held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.

Legal cases, current status (latest change, March 6, 2019)

Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)

  • ❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site

  • ❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018

  • ✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018

  • ❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site

One thing that has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses (I think, tough to tell sometimes!)

The Tragedy of Baltimore: Since Freddie Gray’s death in 2015, violent crime has spiked to levels unseen for a quarter century. How order collapsed in an American city.” By Alec MacGillis for ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine.

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