Trump Officials Failed to Provide Accounting of Foreign Gifts

A spokesperson for Mr Trump did not respond to an email seeking comment.

In February, it was revealed that classified documents and gifts from the White House had been improperly transferred to Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, a matter that federal authorities are currently in preliminary stages of the investigation. At that time, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol learned that there was a significant shortage of time in the White House call records from the day of the attack.

Ethics expert Mr Painter said that by not disclosing the gifts, the Trump White House violated the Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause, which makes it illegal to accept gifts from foreigners without the permission of Congress. But Mr Painter said that because the emoluments clause is toothless and has no criminal or civil penalties, it is extremely difficult to hold a former official accountable.

Even before the latest disclosure, the Trump administration had a history of sloppy record keeping and poor oversight of gifts given and received by administration officials from foreign leaders.

The State Department’s inspector general reported in November that tens of thousands of dollars in gifts given to Trump administration officials were missing. They included a bottle of 30-year-old Suntory Hibiki Japanese whiskey given to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, worth $5,800, and a commemorative 22-karat gold coin worth $560 given to another official. from the State Department.

The Inspector General also found that there were missing monogrammed pewter memorial trays, marble trinket boxes and leather wallets made with departmental funds to be given to foreign leaders during the Group of 7 summit in 2020 which was canceled due to the pandemic.

The New York Times reported in October that Trump administration officials had saved white tiger and cheetah furs that the Saudi government had donated to the White House during a trip to the kingdom in 2017, even though the Endangered Species Act had made possession illegal. When the furs were finally handed over to the Home Office, tests revealed they were fake.

The Times also reported that government officials questioned whether Mr Pence’s wife, Karen Pence, mistakenly took two gold card holders from the Prime Minister of Singapore without paying for them. The Trump administration, The Times reported, also did not disclose that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, received two swords and a dagger from the Saudis. A month after Mr. Trump left office, Mr. Kushner paid $47,920 for them along with three other gifts.

Matthew Cullen contributed to the research.