Senate Dem hints Trump Hotel may be behind president's 'obsession' to renovate FBI headquarters

Senate Dem hints Trump Hotel may be behind president's 'obsession' to renovate FBI headquarters
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Hillicon Valley: Google takes heat at privacy hearing | 2020 Dems to debate 'monopoly power' | GOP rips net neutrality bill | Warren throws down gauntlet over big tech | New scrutiny for Trump over AT&T merger Trump faces new scrutiny over AT&T-Time Warner merger MORE (D-Md.) on Monday hinted that the location of Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., could explain President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE's "obsession" with renovating the FBI headquarters instead of relocating it. 

Van Hollen speculated on Twitter that a new hotel built on the current site of the FBI headquarters would cut into the profits of the Trump property, which is also located on Pennsylvania Avenue NW. 

"Trump has an obsession with renovating the FBI HQ at its current location—despite recommendations to find a more secure location," the Maryland Democrat said. "Could it be a new hotel there would eat into the profits of the nearby Trump Hotel? We should put the security of FBI before Trump's pocketbook!"

Axios reported on Sunday that Trump is heavily involved in planning a revamp for the FBI headquarters, which would be an abnormal move for a sitting president. He reportedly often goes on rants about the current building, calling it the one "ugliest buildings in the city," but refuses all recommendations to move its location.  

"This reporting makes clear that President Trump is deeply involved in the decision to keep the FBI headquarters at its current location," Van Hollen said in a statement to The Hill. "This flies in the face of a decade of recommendations from both the FBI and the [General Services Administration] that the headquarters needs to move to a safer, unified, suburban campus."

"There is no question that the President stands to gain financially by keeping the FBI in its existing building and blocking any competition for the Trump Hotel from being developed there," Van Hollen added. 

Van Hollen in February pressed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on this issue, demanding they explain why the J. Edgar Hoover Building will stay at its current address "despite failing to meet nearly every security requirement as outlined by the FBI and GSA for more than a decade," according to a statement at the time