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House Democrats investigating Pence's stay at Trump golf club in Ireland and Trump's pitch to host G-7 at his Miami resort

Key Points
  • Vice President Pence opted to stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, during an official state visit.
  • Last month, President Trump floated his own Miami golf resort as a possible location for the G-7 summit in 2020.
  • Leaders of two Democrat-led House committees requested documents and other information on these occurrences from the White House, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization.
Vice President Mike Pence, left, and US Ambassador to Ireland Edward Crawford speak to the media at the ambassador's residence in Phoenix park, Dublin, Ireland, Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019.
Peter Morrison | AP

House Democrats are investigating Vice President Mike Pence's stay at President Donald Trump's golf resort in Ireland, as well as Trump's recent promotion of another property he owns as a possible venue for the next G-7 summit.

In letters made public Friday, leaders of two Democrat-led House committees requested documents and other information from the White House, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization about the two matters. Both committees raised concerns about possible violations of the Constitution's so-called emoluments clauses, which bar federal officials from accepting payments from foreign governments or profiting beyond their salaries.

The new lines of inquiry are the latest in a growing list of investigations into the Trump administration, his current and former associates, his businesses, his 2016 presidential campaign and his inaugural committee that have been launched by state and federal prosecutors and Democrat-led House committees.

Pence opted to stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, during an official state visit this week. His meetings with Irish leaders, including Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, took place in Dublin – 180 miles from Trump's resort, noted House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., in his letters.

The chairman asked for all documents related to the vice president's accommodations on that trip, including the total itemized costs that tallied up security, transportation, lodging and personnel expenses. He sent letters to Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, Secret Service Director James Murray and the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.

"The Committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies," Cummings wrote.

He also asked for documents showing the cost of a prior visit to the Doonbeg resort in June by Trump himself. Cummings cited a Huffington Post analysis estimating that that trip cost taxpayers $3.6 million.

Spokespeople for Pence, the White House, the Trump Organization and the committees' Republican minorities did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

Short had claimed Tuesday that Trump made a "suggestion" for Pence to stay at the club. The State Department "approved us staying there," Short said, calling it a "logical" choice. Trump later denied having any involvement in the decision.

In a statement following Trump's remarks, the vice president's office said, "At no time did the President direct our office to stay at his Doonbeg resort and any reporting to the contrary is false."

Trump's G-7 pitch

The House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to the Secret Service and Trump's White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, requesting a slew of materials related to the president floating his own Miami golf resort as a possible location for the G-7 summit in 2020.

Trump said last month that his team had looked at a dozen possible sites for the event, and that the Trump National Doral in Miami was the most appealing, NBC News reported. He talked up the "magnificent buildings," the "incredible conference rooms" and the "incredible restaurants" that the resort could provide.

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President Trump on having G-7 near Trump hotel property

In the letter, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., the chairman of the Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, noted that the potential violations of the emoluments clauses "are of significant concern and grave interest to the Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment" against Trump.

"The threat that the President's personal financial interests could shape decisions concerning official U.S. government activities is precisely the type of risk that the Emoluments Clauses were intended to minimize," the Judiciary Democrats wrote.

"The Doral and Doonbeg cases are just two of the many examples of the solicitation or receipt of foreign government spending to the benefit of the President's private financial interests," Nadler and Cohen wrote.

Both committees asked to receive the documents requested by Sept. 19.

A White House official told CNN that it may remove a tweet suggesting that the Doral had been picked for the next G-7, since the White House had not yet finalized its plans.

Other Democrats had already weighed in publicly on the recent controversies surrounding Trump's properties.

"President Trump is violating the Constitution by making money off of his lavish, ritzy resort properties, ultimately prioritizing his profits over the interests of the American people," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement this week.