House Democrats threaten to subpoena Pentagon after report exposes Trump deal with Scotland airport

Two Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday threatened to subpoena the Pentagon for documents related to taxpayer money spent at President Donald Trump's Scotland golf resort after the New York Times reported that Trump cut a deal with a local airport to help funnel flight crews to his hotel.


"We're challenging Trump's laughably fraudulent claim that he had 'nothing to do with' the Prestwick Airport near his failing Scottish resort," tweeted Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who along with Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper requesting the documents.

The letter comes hours after the Times reported that, in 2014, Trump played a direct role in establishing a partnership with Glasgow Prestwick Airport "to get Trump Turnberry added to a list of hotels that the airport would routinely send aircrews to, even though the Turnberry resort is 20 miles from the airport, farther away than many other hotels, and has higher advertised prices."

Details of the arrangement, and Trump's direct involvement, emerged days after Politico reported that the U.S. military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport since 2017. Prestwick also "provided cut-rate rooms and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for U.S. military members," according to Politico.

"The incidents," Politico noted, "raise the possibility that the military has helped keep Trump's Turnberry resort afloat—the property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018."

Cummings and Raskin said in their letter (pdf) that using taxpayer money to prop up Trump's Turnberry resort would violate the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the Constitution.

"President Trump and his company have had significant, direct, and detailed interactions with Prestwick Airport for years, including the president proclaiming that he was 'thrilled to be partnering' with the airport, the president personally trying to boost passenger traffic at the airport, and the Trump Organization negotiating room rates directly with the airport," Cummings and Raskin wrote. "These and other actions by the president and his company reflect how critical this airport is to his financial bottom-line."

"In order to stop contributing to any further constitutional violations," the Democrats said, "the department should immediately implement a policy against taxpayer funds going to any Trump-related properties or businesses."

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