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 TrumpAverage tax refunds down double-digits, IRS data shows White House warns Maduro as Venezuela orders partial closure of border with Colombia Trump administration directs 1,000 more troops to Mexican border 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 WarrenSanders endorses Oakland teachers strike On The Money: Dems set Tuesday vote on Trump's emergency declaration | Most Republicans expected to back Trump | Senate plots to avoid fall shutdown drama | Powell heading before Congress News media has sought to 'delegitimize' Tulsi Gabbard, says liberal journalist MORE (Mass.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperDems slam EPA plan for fighting drinking water contaminants EPA to announce PFAS chemical regulation plans by end of year Overnight Energy: Zinke joins Trump-tied lobbying firm | Senators highlight threat from invasive species | Top Republican calls for Green New Deal vote in House MORE (Del.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats brush off GOP 'trolling' over Green New Deal GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats Pence met with silence after mentioning Trump in Munich speech 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 TrumpAnother New York condo votes to remove 'Trump' from name Trump's son attacks LGBT magazine op-ed that calls effort to decriminalize homosexuality 'racist' Gillibrand uses Trump Jr. tweet to fundraise MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpAnother New York condo votes to remove 'Trump' from name Deutsche Bank worried Trump Organization would default on loans, eyed changes: report Mandatory E-Verify: The other border wall 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.