Pence’s stay at Trump resort in Ireland to be probed by Democrats
WASHINGTON – Two House committees have launched investigations into Vice President Mike Pence’s stay at President Donald Trump’s Ireland resort as they also step up a probe of Trump’s desire to hold the G-7 Summit next year at his Doral resort in Miami.
The Oversight and Reform Committee and the Judiciary Committee jointly announced Friday they’ve asked the administration for detailed costs of Pence’s recent two-night stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg.
The top Democrat on the Senate government affairs committee is also seeking that information. But because Democrats control the House, they have the ability to subpoena information if they’re not satisfied with the administration’s response.
“The committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies,” Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wrote in his letter to Pence.
Cummings’ panel is also joining the Judiciary Committee in its previously announced probe of Trump’s August comments about using the Trump National Doral Miami as the next G-7 summit venue.
That probe will be part of the Judiciary Committee’s broader look into alleged abuses of power by Trump including potential violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clauses, which restrict the president from receiving things of value from foreign and domestic governments.
Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said the potential violations “are of grave concern to the Committee as it considers whether to recommend articles of impeachment.”
The latest House demands for information will add to a variety of court clashes already pending between Congress and the Trump administration.
Rulings could come any day from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals about the Judiciary Committee’s access to Trump’s records with Deutsche Bank and Capital One, and from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals about Oversight and Reform Committee access to Trump’s accounting records with Mazars USA.
The Judiciary Committee is also asking U.S. District Courts to enforce subpoenas for grand-jury evidence behind former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and for testimony from former White House counsel Don McGahn.
Nadler has said if decisions in the cases are favorable to the House, they could break the logjam of resistance in the administration. But Trump has said he would fight all the subpoenas for investigations, which he calls partisan harassment.
Pence was brought into the picture after he stayed at Trump’s resort Monday and Tuesday during a weeklong trip to Europe.
Trump denied Wednesday that he suggested Pence stay there, contradicting an earlier comment from Pence’s top aide.
Chief of staff Marc Short told reporters the Trump hotel in Doonbeg was “the one facility that can accommodate” the Pence group’s size and needs. And Pence wanted to go to Doonbeg, the village where his great grandmother was from and where cousins operate a pub and restaurant.
The stay drew extra scrutiny because the resort is located on Ireland’s western coast and Pence met with Irish officials on the other side of the country in Dublin Tuesday.
More about Congress investigating the Trump administration:
Mike Pence has a deep affection for Ireland. It’s not completely reciprocated
Trump denies suggesting Pence stay at his Ireland resort, contradicting earlier reports
When Pence originally scheduled the Ireland trip, he would have flown to Doonbeg after his meetings in Dublin. But the schedule was quickly re-arranged after Trump pulled out of a trip to Poland, sending Pence instead.
Despite the distance, Short said Pence’s entourage stayed at Trump’s resort under the new schedule because it had already been secured by the Secret Service.
House Democrats have asked Pence’s office and the Secret Service for an itemized cost of the trip and for documents and communications about all accommodation options considered.
The committees have also requested the Trump Organization show any revenue generated by Pence’s stay and by Trump’s visit to the same resort in June.