Remember when somebody projected the words “PAY TRUMP BRIBES HERE” at his DC hotel and the brouhaha that ensued? Well, according to a Politico piece, there is currently an investigation by the House Oversight Committee into this very topic–attempted bribery of President Trump.
Apparently, a foreign government (unspecified) and a local trade association booked a lot of rooms at Trump’s DC hotel, but only used a fraction of the rooms. Reasonable people will agree that it is very strange for an individual or an organization to book a large number of rooms at a pricey hotel like Trump’s and only use some of them. The House Oversight Committee is rightfully looking at this as an effort to bribe the president.
House investigators are looking into an allegation that groups — including at least one foreign government — tried to ingratiate themselves to Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them, Politico reports. https://t.co/0PAQUZspGk— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 2, 2019
Rep Gerry Connolly (D-VA), a member of the House Oversight Committee said “Now we’re looking at near raw bribery…that was the risk from Day One: foreign governments and others trying to seek favor because we know Trump pays attention to this. … It’s an obvious attempt to curry favor with him.”
Its also important to point out here that this is precisely the reason why public officials are strongly advised to fully divest from their business interests upon assuming office. Contrary to popular belief, divestiture is actually for the public official’s own good and not meant as a “punishment” or burden as most people assume. In this particular case for example, even though there may be a perfectly legitimate reason for the booked hotel rooms to go unused, Trump cannot avoid the appearance of impropriety because he owns the hotel. Had he fully divested as he had promised to do prior to assuming office he would not have to deal with these bribery allegations.
Politico further reports that the House Oversight Committee is looking into this alleged bribery incident as part of the impeachment inquiry which means if they discover some concrete evidence, emoluments clause violations and public corruption may be among the articles of impeachment
Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly has repeatedly stated before, the brazen corruption of the Trump administration is not normal and the only way we can prevent him and his cronies from normalizing it is if we scream about it. If the House Oversight Committee digs up evidence of bribery in this investigation, they should not hesitate to incorporate them into the articles of impeachment. Speaker Pelosi is absolutely right that the focus of the impeachment inquiry should be on Ukraine. Democrats however should not close the door to Trump’s flagrant use of his office for personal enrichment. He needs to be held accountable for that too.
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