Oct. 18, 2018
Trump Knew More About Preventing FBI Office Relocation Than Previously Revealed
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: Today, U.S. House Oversight Committee Democrats released documents that raise serious concerns about whether President Donald Trump personally directed government officials to prevent the relocation of the FBI’s headquarters from its Pennsylvania Avenue location in Washington, D.C., to the suburbs. The documents raise questions about whether the decision was made in an effort to avoid potential competition from commercial developers who might be interested in building a new hotel, which would compete with the Trump International Hotel, located on the same street.
Let’s get this straight: For the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., the president leases property from the United States government, in plain violation of the lease terms that say it cannot be leased to a government official. His hotel hosts foreign governments and trade associations that plainly hold events there in order to curry favor with him. Trump’s interference in an office relocation decision for the Federal Bureau of Investigation implies the purpose of protecting ill-gotten profits from a government property where Trump is plainly violating the lease terms.
If Trump is willing to do this, of course we should worry that his business operations are affecting his policy making on Saudi Arabia. And on tax policy. And on clean water rules.
No impact on his business operations is too petty to escape his concern; no law, rule or modicum of ethical decency is sufficient to deter his readiness to abuse his power in service of his narrow, narrow interests.
These revelations make clear yet again that the only way for Trump to escape from the pervasive conflicts of interest that are defining his presidency is to divest all of his business holdings, immediately.