Chairwoman Maloney Opens Investigation into Former President Trump’s Failure to Account for Foreign Gifts in Violation of Federal Law
Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2022)—Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, sent a letter to Debra Steidel Wall, the Acting Archivist of the United States, seeking documents and information on former President Trump’s apparent failure to account for gifts from foreign government officials while in office, as required by the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act.
“These revelations raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments, which may have put the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States at risk, and about possible violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from obtaining benefits from foreign entities while in office,” wrote Chairwoman Maloney.
Public reporting indicates that President Trump accepted multiple gifts from foreign sources in 2020, yet these gifts do not appear on the State Department’s list of foreign gifts as required by law. According to reports, following President Trump’s first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, at least 82 gifts were given to Trump Administration officials, but, “Nine of the most expensive presents—the three furs, three swords and three daggers—were sent to the White House gifts unit to be assessed and appraised but never appeared on any of the Trump State Department’s legally required annual filings for foreign gifts.”
On April 11, 2022, the State Department revealed that it could not fully account for the foreign gifts Trump Administration officials received during the final year of the Trump Administration. The State Department noted that during the Trump Administration, the Department’s Office of the Chief of Protocol failed to obtain a list of foreign gifts received in 2020 from the White House. The State Department also stated that it was unable to determine the identities of some government officials who received foreign gifts during the Trump Administration, as well as the sources of those foreign gifts.
On May 9, 2022, the Office of the Chief of Protocol briefed Committee staff on the process for tracking and reporting White House gifts and the serious deficiencies in that process during the Trump Administration. The Office told Committee staff that the Trump Administration “did not prioritize this obligation, which led to delays” in statutory requirements to report foreign gifts.
A senior career protocol officer, who has been involved in multiple presidential transitions, told Committee staff that the Department of State’s gift vault was in “complete disarray” at the end of the Trump Administration.
The Committee is requesting all documents and communications related to foreign gifts received by President Trump or his family members, including information on each gift’s value, its location or disposition, the identity of the donor, payment, and reporting. The Committee is also requesting all communications between the National Archives and Records Administration and former President Trump, his family members, or White House staff related to foreign gifts by June 20, 2022.
Click here to read the letter.