Democrats introduce SWAMP Act to ban meetings with foreign leaders at Trump properties

Democrats introduce SWAMP Act to ban meetings with foreign leaders at Trump properties
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A group of Senate Democrats introduced legislation Monday that would block the Trump administration from holding meetings with foreign heads of state at Trump-owned properties.

Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate passes legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters Democrats seize on report of FedEx's Jeff Merkley tax bill to slam Trump's tax plan Overnight Energy: Perry replacement faces Ukraine questions at hearing | Dem chair demands answers over land agency's relocation | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders unveil 0B Green New Deal public housing plan MORE (D-Ore.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeySenators grill safety regulator over self-driving cars Hillicon Valley: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill MORE (Mass.) and Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Senate eyes sending stopgap spending bill back to House | Sondland delivers bombshell impeachment testimony | Pentagon deputy says he didn't try to block official's testimony Pentagon No. 2 denies trying to block official's impeachment testimony Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (D-Hawaii) introduced the Scrutinizing White House Activities that Make Profits (SWAMP) Act.

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The measure would ban the administration from using taxpayer funds to meet with a foreign leader or hold other multilateral meetings at Trump International Hotel, Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, Trump National Doral or any other property the president or his immediate family has majority ownership in.

The bill, which has little chance of advancing in the GOP-controlled Senate, comes after Trump reversed his decision to hold next year's Group of Seven (G-7) summit at a Trump Organization property in Doral, Fla., amid fierce pushback from Democrats and some Republicans.

“It’s time for Congress to step in and make it crystal clear: President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate MORE cannot profiteer off of his meetings with foreign leaders — not with the G-7, not ever,” Merkley said in a statement.

Trump dismissed criticism that his since-reversed plan would have led to an ethics violation.

"I don't think you people, with this phony Emoluments Clause — and by the way, I would say that it's cost anywhere from $2 billion to $5 billion to be president," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting at the White House on Monday.

The Emoluments Clause prohibits elected federal officials from receiving gifts or contributions from foreign governments.

Trump also insisted that he would not have profited off of hosting world leaders, scores of journalists and other staff at his family-owned resort near Miami.