WASHINGTON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - U.S. House Democrats plan to investigate President Donald Trump’s proposal to host the next Group of Seven summit at a Florida golf resort he owns, saying the move would violate constitutional prohibitions against officials profiting from government business.
At the G7 meeting of major industrial nations in Biarritz, France on Monday, Trump said his administration was studying the possibility of hosting next year’s summit at the Trump National Doral golf resort near Miami but insisted he would not personally profit from the resort’s selection. Trump said a final decision had not been made.
“The president’s personal financial interests are clearly shaping decisions about official U.S. government activities,” House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler and another senior Democrat on the panel said in a statement on Wednesday.
The White House declined to comment on the statement.
Constitutional clauses prohibit government officials from receiving emoluments such as salaries, fees and profits from foreign and domestic governments without congressional approval.
Democrats, who control the House, would be unlikely to give Republican Trump such approval.
Nadler and Representative Steve Cohen, chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said hosting the G7 at the Trump resort would represent “perhaps the first publicly known instance in which foreign governments would be required to pay President Trump’s private businesses in order to conduct business with the United States.”
The House Judiciary Committee is considering whether to recommend Trump’s impeachment to the full House and has cited violations of the emoluments clauses as potentially impeachable offenses. House Democrats are also investigating possible violations from Trump’s hotel near the White House in Washington.
“The committee will broaden its ongoing investigation to include these latest revelations and will take further investigative steps, including scheduling hearings and requesting additional documents from the White House,” the statement said.
G7 countries take turns hosting the annual summit, often choosing relatively remote locations that show off areas of natural beauty.
Trump complained in France about having to be shuttled from airports large enough to accommodate his Air Force One plane and G7 venues. He said his Florida resort was ideal because of its size and proximity to Miami airport.
The two Democrats also pointed to news reports that an official meeting between Trump and Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar was canceled after Trump asked that the meeting be held at his golf resort in Doonbeg, Ireland. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Ginger Gibson and Grant McCool)
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