House panel probes ‘serious deficiencies’ in Trump’s accounting of foreign gifts

Brandon Bell
·2 min read

A House committee on Tuesday announced an investigation into former President Donald Trump over his administration's apparent failure to properly record gifts from foreign government officials as required by law.

House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., sent a letter Monday to the National Archives seeking documents about "mismanaged gifts" received from foreign government officials while Trump was in office. She said the committee's concerns stem from information recently provided by the State Department.

“These revelations raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments,” Maloney wrote.

The committee said that in a briefing last month on the tracking and reporting process for White House gifts, the State Department informed it of "serious deficiencies in that process during the Trump Administration."

CNN first reported on the investigation.

In April, the State Department said missing data from the White House prevented it from compiling a satisfactory accounting of gifts foreign governments presented to Trump and other U.S. officials in 2020.

Maloney said in her letter that the Trump administration's failed tabulation of gifts may have threatened U.S. national security and foreign policy interests and may have violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from keeping gifts for personal use if they exceed the "minimal value," which is currently $415.

Trump accepted multiple gifts from foreign sources in 2020, but the gifts appear to be missing from the State Department’s list of foreign gifts, which it's required to compile.

After gifts disappeared from the State Department vault in the final weeks of Trump's presidency, the State Department's Office of the Inspector General said it would investigate whether some of Trump's political appointees had taken taxpayer-funded presents home with them, noting that the dollar value of the missing gifts was "significant."

The gifts included a bottle of whiskey worth $5,800, which Japanese officials gave then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before it mysteriously vanished.

In her letter, Maloney cited other gifts, such as a Louis Vuitton golf bag and photographs from French President Emmanuel Macron allegedly valued at more than $8,200 and a gold-framed portrait of Trump from the prime minister of Vietnam valued at more than $3,000.

Maloney requested all documents and communications related to foreign gifts received by Trump, his family members and White House staff members by June 20.

A spokesperson for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

House Democrats have launched other investigations into the Trump administration after his presidency ended. While he was in office, congressional Democrats tried unsuccessfully to sue Trump over alleged violations of the emoluments clause, arguing that he broke the law with his businesses, particularly with Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.