Rachel Maddow blasted Donald Trump on Thursday for using the FBI to boost the profits of his Washington D.C. hotel.
As the MSNBC host pointed out, Trump reportedly intervened to nix a project that would have moved the location of the FBI headquarters to suburban Maryland.
Instead of moving the building, which would potentially bring in new competition for Trump International Hotel just down the street, a new plan was ordered by the president to keep the FBI headquarters in the same location.
According to NPR, “The Democrats called that an abuse of power and a violation of the regulations that are supposed to protect such arrangements from political influence.”
As Maddow noted on Thursday, not only did Trump appear to have been directly involved in the decision to line his own pockets, but his administration lied to Congress about it.
“It appears that his appointee … lied to Congress directly when she told them that it was the FBI and definitely not the White House directing this decision.”
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 19, 2018
The White House took the same line, putting out a statement saying the whole reason this plan changed for FBI building had nothing at all to do with the president trying to line his own pockets and block competition for his new hotel in which he still has a controlling financial interest, no. The White House put out an official statement saying the president was simply following the recommendation of the FBI. He had no involvement in this decision otherwise. We now know the president was directly involved in this decision. In fact, it appears that he ordered this decision, which has the effect of benefitting his hotel and his own financial bottom line. It appears that his appointee to run this agency lied to Congress directly when she told them that it was the FBI and definitely not the White House directing this decision.
Trump is profiting from his presidency
Trump said during the campaign that if he won, he would separate himself from his business interests. Since he took office, that hasn’t even been close to true.
As I wrote last year, Trump’s many trips to his ritzy clubs are a drain on taxpayer dollars. Via the Secret Service, tens of thousands of dollars from taxpayers have gone to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club because of his repeated visits there.
According to The Guardian, citing a non-profit report, “Trump’s businesses have raked in $15.1m from political groups and federal agencies in ‘pattern of personal self-enrichment’” during his presidency.
Now he is apparently meddling in the FBI’s affairs in order to keep his D.C. hotel from losing money. Oh, and his appointee lied to Congress about it.
Under any other president, this would be a major scandal and (appropriately) lead to investigations. For the Trump administration, it’s business as usual.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.