Dems call for investigation of Trump Air Force One tours

Dems call for investigation of Trump Air Force One tours
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A group of Democratic senators is asking Defense Department and Air Force watchdogs to launch an investigation into tours that President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE has offered of Air Force One.

The letter to the inspectors general, dated Aug. 1 and released Thursday, comes weeks after BuzzFeed News reported that some members of Trump's private clubs in Florida appeared to have been invited for tours of the presidential plane.

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In the letter, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest Pelosi wants to change law to allow a sitting president to be indicted MORE (Mass.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (Del.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump eyes narrowly focused response to Iran attacks Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw Senate GOP pledges to oppose any efforts to 'pack' Supreme Court MORE (R.I.) raise concerns about the potential overlap between Trump's role as president and his private business interests.

"Previous Presidents have provided friends and even campaign donors tours of Air Force One, but the reports that members of the President's private club may have received such tours are particularly troubling because their relationship to the President arises out of an ongoing business relationship with the President," the senators wrote.

The letter asks the inspectors general for a "review of all individuals who have had access to Air Force One for tours or other nonofficial travel" since Trump took office last year. 

It also asks the internal watchdogs to make a determination as to whether any of the individuals who received tours of the aircraft had business relationships with Trump or his family and whether such relationships played a role in the decision to invite them aboard the plane.

Trump has faced scrutiny since taking office for his far-reaching business dealings, with critics and ethics watchdogs raising concerns that his business interests could conflict with his responsibilities as president.

As he prepared to take office last year, Trump passed off day-to-day control of his business empire to his two adult sons. But he also declined to put his assets in a blind trust and fully divest from his business.

BuzzFeed News obtained an invitation for the Air Force One tours that was sent to some members of Trump’s Florida clubs last year. That invitation was cross-checked with redacted records obtained by the news outlet through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Members reached by BuzzFeed neither confirmed nor denied whether they attended the tour of the presidential plane. But two tours were scheduled in February at the Atlantic Aviation FBO at Palm Beach International Airport.

Past presidents have given tours of Air Force One to family, friends and political donors.

Trump has brought guests aboard the aircraft in the past, including his adult sons Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDemocrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties Trump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpMarine unit in Florida reportedly pushing to hold annual ball at Trump property Senior HUD official reprimanded for making political statements on the job Democrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties MORE, neither of which works in his administration. In March 2017, Fox News host Tucker Carlson also joined Trump aboard Air Force One ahead of an interview with the president.

Updated at 11:15 a.m.