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Trump Officers Did not Present Accounting of Overseas Presents

By , in Politics , at April 9, 2022

The State Division couldn’t compile a listing of presents for 2020, making it troublesome to find out whether or not officers did something improper.

The Trump administration left workplace with out offering the State Division with an accounting of the presents former President Donald J. Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence and different White Home officers acquired from international governments in 2020, the division disclosed late Friday.

The division mentioned that because of this, it couldn’t absolutely account for the presents officers acquired, the most recent instance to emerge in latest months of how the Trump administration’s flouting of legal guidelines and norms in regards to the day-to-day operations of presidency now makes it tougher to find out whether or not something improper befell.

“It’s flagrant and it appears horrible,” mentioned Richard W. Painter, the previous high ethics lawyer for George W. Bush’s administration. “Both it was actually silly or actually corrupt.”

Beneath federal legislation, every authorities division and company is legally required to submit a listing to the State Division of presents over $415 its officers acquired from international governments. The measure is meant to make sure that international governments don’t acquire undue affect over American officers.

Departing White Homes usually present the State Division with a listing of the presents officers obtain earlier than, or shortly after, they depart workplace to make sure they’ve adopted the legislation.

However within the listing of presents for 2020 that the State Division launched on Friday, there aren’t any presents for any White Home officers. Though the pandemic curtailed a few of Mr. Trump’s journey, Mr. Trump went to Switzerland and India — the place he acquired presents, together with a bust of Gandhi, a sculpture of Gandhi’s well-known “three monkeys” metaphor and a spinning wheel. High international leaders for not less than a dozen nations visited the White Home.

In a highly unusual disclosure, the division mentioned that its Workplace of the Chief of Protocol, which was run by a Trump appointee till Jan. 20, 2021, had failed earlier than Mr. Trump left workplace to ask the White Home for a listing of the presents it acquired, and that Mr. Trump’s White Home left workplace with out offering one.

The division mentioned it had tried to gather the details about the presents Trump White Home officers had acquired however had did not give you an accounting.

“In consequence, the info required to totally compile an entire itemizing for 2020 is unavailable,” the State Division mentioned in a footnote to its listing of presents authorities officers acquired that 12 months.

A spokesman for Mr. Trump didn’t reply to an e-mail looking for remark.

In February, it was revealed that categorized paperwork and presents from the White Home had been improperly taken to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property in Florida, a matter federal authorities at the moment are within the preliminary stages of investigating. Round that point, the Home committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol realized that significant chunks of time were missing from White Home name information from the day of the assault.

The ethics professional, Mr. Painter, mentioned that by failing to reveal the presents, the Trump White Home violated the international emoluments clause of the Structure, which makes it unlawful to take presents from foreigners with out permission from Congress. However Mr. Painter mentioned that as a result of the emoluments clause is toothless and has no legal or civil penalties, this can be very troublesome to carry a former official accountable.

Even earlier than the most recent disclosure, the Trump administration had a historical past of sloppy file protecting and poor oversight of presents given to and acquired by administration officers from international leaders.

The State Division’s inspector common reported in November that tens of hundreds of {dollars} in presents given to Trump administration officers had been lacking. They included a 30-year-old Suntory Hibiki bottle of Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, price $5,800, and a 22-karat-gold commemorative coin valued at $560 given to a different State Division official.

The inspector common additionally discovered that monogrammed commemorative pewter trays, marble trinket packing containers and leather-based portfolios made with division funds to provide to international leaders on the Group of seven summit in 2020 that was canceled due to the pandemic had been lacking.

The New York Instances reported in October that Trump administration officers had held onto white tiger and cheetah furs the Saudi authorities had given to the White Home on a 2017 journey to the dominion, although the Endangered Species Act made possession of them unlawful. When the furs had been finally handed over to the Inside Division, assessments revealed that they had been faux.

The Instances additionally reported that authorities officers had questions on whether or not Mr. Pence’s spouse, Karen Pence, wrongly took two gold-toned place card holders from the prime minister of Singapore with out paying for them. The Trump administration, The Instances reported, additionally did not disclose that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, had been given two swords and a dagger from the Saudis. A month after Mr. Trump left workplace, Mr. Kushner paid $47,920 for them together with three different presents.

Matthew Cullen contributed analysis.

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