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Saudi listed second in report exposing Donald Trump’s alleged profiteering while president

January 5, 2024 at 3:29 pm

Former US President Donald Trump addresses the press as he arrives in court for the second day of his civil fraud trial in New York, United States on October 03, 2023 [Fatih Aktaş/Anadolu Agency]

In a damning revelation, House Democrats released a report uncovering millions of dollars that were received by former US President Donald Trump from foreign governments, including Gulf States. Trump received at least $7.8 million from 20 foreign governments during his presidency. China is the leading contributor, with $5.5 million paid to Trump’s business interests, followed by Saudi Arabia. Other Gulf States, including the UAE and Qatar, were also mentioned.

The 156-page report, titled “White House For Sale,” produced by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, details transactions involving foreign governments and their entities interacting with Trump businesses. It exposes how millions were directed to Trump properties, raising concerns about potential violations of the US Constitution, which prohibits federal officeholders from accepting money from foreign governments without congressional consent—a step Trump never took.

The documents provided to the Committee reveal that Saudi Arabia and its royal family spent at least $ 615,422 at Trump properties during the Trump administration. However, the report adds that the total amount of the country’s expenditures is likely to be much higher than that.

Trump boasting about receiving money from Riyadh was included in the report, such as his bragging at a campaign rally in 2015, when he suggested that his personal financial incentives might influence his dealings with another government.

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“Saudi Arabia, I get along great with all of them,” the report quotes him saying. “They buy apartments from me. They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much!”

The report goes on to note that President Trump’s choice to make Saudi Arabia the first country he visited in office was unprecedented, as no prior US President had ever previously chosen any country in the Middle East as the destination for his first overseas trip. In advance of the announcement of the state visit to Saudi Arabia, then-Senior Advisor, Kushner, reportedly was personally involved in arranging the arms deal that would eventually be signed during the visit.

Speculating that there may have been a quid pro quo, the report notes that approximately three weeks after then-President Trump’s state visit to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh with its allies the UAE, and Egypt, among other nations cut all ties with Qatar. Saudi Arabia also sealed its border with Qatar, creating a significant geopolitical rift. Trump initially appeared to back the rift and sided with the blockading countries.

Saudi Arabia’s significant spending underscored concerns about Trump’s dependence on foreign entities. The report accuses the former president of elevating personal financial interests over the American public interest, violating constitutional commands and historical precedents.

While House Republicans downplayed the revelations, Democrats pointed out the limitations of their investigation due to restricted access to Trump’s business records. The report recommends new disclosure rules and formal procedures for receiving wealth from foreign countries.

Eric Trump, in response, argued that the former president’s business dealings were not influenced by personal interests, emphasising that the Chinese bank mentioned in the report signed a lease long before Trump took office. House Republicans dismissed the findings, maintaining that Trump’s businesses were legitimate, unlike the Bidens’.

Despite the report’s acknowledgement of its own constraints, Democrats assert that even the subset of documents obtained reveals a concerning pattern of foreign payments to Trump-owned businesses while he held the presidency. The revelations add fuel to ongoing debates about the intersection of personal financial interests and political office, urging a re-evaluation of oversight mechanisms.