Senate Dems ask Trump to disclose financial ties to Saudi Arabia
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats are asking President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE and the Trump Organization to disclose any ties to Saudi Arabia, as well as freeze any potential business relationships, in the wake of the disappearance of a U.S.-based journalist.

Eleven Democrats sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday saying public reporting and the president's own comments show decades of "maintained business relationships" with Saudi Arabia and the Saudi royal family.

"Your recent statements, and public reports of increased spending by the Saudi government at Trump properties, raise significant concerns about financial conflicts of interest," the Democratic senators wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

They add that any possible decision on imposing sanctions on the nation, and U.S. policy generally, should "not [be] influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of you or your family's deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia."

Democrats also sent a letter outlining the same concerns to Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Trump set to host controversial social media summit Trump associate Felix Sater grilled by House Intel MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpTrump Jr. blasts reports of Kushner feud: 'More fake news bulls---' Chicago mayor says waitress crossed 'the line' by spitting on Eric Trump Live coverage: Democrats face off in first 2020 debate MORE, who took over management of the Trump Organization following their father's White House win.

Senators are asking Trump and the Trump Organization to provide documents to allow them to "better understand any potential conflicts of interest," including any paperwork tied to investments, payments or transfers from Saudi Arabia or the Saudi royal family to the Trump Organization during the past 10 years.

They also want to know if Trump or any Trump Organization officials have discussed potential investment or business deals involving Saudi Arabia since June 16, 2015, or if they've received gifts or anything else of value since the start of the administration.

The eleven Democratic senators who signed the letter include Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHouse passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyDem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip Democrats want investigation into cost, legality of Trump's July Fourth event MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinProblem Solvers Caucus co-chair calls Trump comments about progressive congresswomen 'totally unacceptable' Trump's tweets unify a fractured Democratic Party Sunday shows - Immigration raids dominate MORE (Ill.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' Trump says administration will 'take a look' after Thiel raises concerns about Google, China Thiel calls Warren the most 'dangerous' Democratic candidate MORE (Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerHarris slams DOJ decision not to charge police in Eric Garner's death The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - House to vote to condemn Trump tweet Fundraising numbers highlight growing divide in 2020 race MORE (N.J.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichHillicon Valley: Harris spikes in Google searches after debate clash with Biden | Second US city blocks facial recognition | Apple said to be moving Mac Pro production from US to China | Bipartisan Senate bill takes aim at 'deepfake' videos Senators unveil bipartisan bill to target 'deepfake' video threat Senate Democrats wish talk on reparations would go away MORE (N.M.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyHead of miners union calls Green New Deal's main goal 'almost impossible' Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Warren reintroduces bill mandating climate disclosures by companies MORE (Mass.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthAdvocates push for EpiPens on flights after college student's mid-flight allergic reaction Overnight Defense: Woman accusing general of sexual assault willing to testify | Joint Chiefs pick warns against early Afghan withdrawal | Tensions rise after Iran tries to block British tanker Woman accusing Trump military nominee of sexual assault says she's willing to testify MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Energy: Scientists flee USDA as research agencies move to Kansas City area | Watchdog finds EPA skirted rules to put industry reps on boards | New rule to limit ability to appeal pollution permits Dem senators demand GOP judicial group discloses donors Senate Democrats skipping Pence's border trip MORE (R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border Sunday shows - Amash, immigration dominate Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time' MORE (Ore.). 

Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of Saudi leadership, was last seen Oct. 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork needed for his marriage.

Saudi Arabia has denied wrongdoing in his disappearance, initially saying Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after entering without providing evidence to support their claim.

Democrats are asking both Trump and the Trump Organization to halt any ongoing business relationships during the investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, as well as commit to cutting financial ties if Saudi Arabia or senior officials are found to be responsible in his potential slaying.

The letters come after Trump pushed back on speculation that he has not punished Saudi Arabia due to financial conflicts of interest, calling it "FAKE NEWS."

"For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter)," he tweeted. "Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!"

Trump's business ties to Saudi Arabia are coming under increasing scrutiny as he's faced growing pressure to have a tough response to Khashoggi's disappearance and possible death.

Trump for years has had business ties to the Saudis, with one Saudi royal billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, purchasing his yacht and a stake in New York's Plaza Hotel in the 1990s when the former business mogul was in financial distress.

And, as senators noted in their letters on Wednesday, Trump talked about his business relationship with Saudi Arabia at a rally in 2015.

"Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me," he said at a campaign rally in 2015 in Alabama. "They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much."

CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was readying a report that would acknowledge Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong. One source told CNN that the report would likely find that the interrogation was carried out "without clearance."

Trump on Wednesday said the U.S. has requested audio and video from Turkey related to Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We have asked for it, if it exists," Trump said in the Oval Office, later conceding it "probably does."

Trump said he expected to get a "full report" from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he returns to the U.S. from meetings with Saudi and Turkish officials.