Dems file federal lawsuit against Trump over hotel records (video)

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Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee announced a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration on Thursday, relating to records about the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Their legal argument stems from a 90-year-old federal statute which requires the executive branch to respond to requests from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, as a check on the Executive Branch.

Interest in the Trump International Hotel was instigated because critics say the property’s lease prohibits federal elected officials from being a party to the 60-year agreement for the property, which was established between the Trump Organization and the federal government regarding the Old Post Office Pavilion on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The hotel is now overseen by the president’s two adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, but some are concerned that the president had become both the property’s landlord and tenant when he signed the lease, according to ABC News.

The General Services Administration (GSA) ruled in May that the Trump Organization was in full compliance with the lease, noting that President Trump had resigned his position with the real estate firm and transferred control of the company to his sons.

Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said his committee has been asking for a range of records about the lease agreement, and that the administration has “refused all Democratic requests for documents about the Trump Hotel for the better part of this year.”

“This lawsuit is not just about a hotel in Washington D.C.,” Cummings said. “This is about the president defying a federal statute and denying our ability as members of Congress to fulfill our constitutional duty to act as a check on the Executive Branch.”

The lawsuit argues that the administration must provide documents to congressional overseers, citing a 1928 federal statute that requires a response to requests coming from seven or more members of the oversight committee.

Under legal advisement, the acting GSA administrator informed the Democratic group that it could only accept oversight from a “committee, subcommittee, or chairman authorized to conduct oversight,” not from a group of individual members who did not have the support of the House Oversight Committee Chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

In a July 17 letter to Cummings, the administrator said any response to an individual member would come at the discretion of the agency.

You may read the full complaint from the Democratic members HERE.


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