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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 Trump 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.

{mosads}In the letter, Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tom Carper (Del.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (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. and Eric Trump, 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.

Tags Air Force One Donald Trump Donald Trump Donald Trump Jr. Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren Eric Trump Mar-a-Lago Richard Blumenthal Sheldon Whitehouse Sheldon Whitehouse Tom Carper Tom Carper
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