Senator demands Trump Organization explain Chinese business dealings in light of Bolton book
Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday released a letter to the Trump Organization demanding it explain its dealings with a state-run Chinese bank.
Menendez made his letter to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Alan Garten public after the media reported book excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton claiming that President Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win reelection by agreeing to buy U.S. agricultural commodities.
“This disturbing revelation raises new questions about other ways in which President Trump benefits personally, and financially, from the Chinese government, including through ongoing business relationships,” Menendez wrote.
Menendez noted that the Trump Organization has a business relationship with the state-run Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC).
“According to publicly reported figures, ICBC paid the Trump Organization up to $24 million over the course of its previous lease at Trump Tower in New York,” he wrote.
Menendez is asking the Trump Organization to provide to the Foreign Relations panel the value of ICBC’s past lease with Trump Tower as well as the new lease signed last year.
He is asking to know the length of the lease, the amount of ICBC’s annual payments and other information.
He is also demanding a list of any other state-owned or -controlled companies in China or other foreign countries that have business dealings with Trump Organization properties.
The senator pointed out that ICBC’s Trump Tower lease expired in October, the same month Trump asked the Chinese government to investigate Joe Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic nominee for the White House.
Trump made the comments to reporters as he was leaving the White House for a trip to Florida.
Menendez also highlighted that the Financial Times reported around the same time that a Trump adviser, Michael Pillsbury, claimed that Beijing provided potentially damaging information about the business activities of Hunter Biden.
Menendez believes evidence the Chinese government may have helped Trump personally — both financially and politically — merits further investigation.
“Last year, ICBC reportedly decided to continue leasing one floor in Trump Tower,” he wrote, citing a report in Bloomberg. “The terms of that arrangement do not appear to have been publicly reported.”
“It is important that Congress and the American public know how much money China, and any other country for that matter, is paying President Trump through his company,” Menendez added.
In Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” the former Trump adviser writes that House Democrats committed “impeachment malpractice” last year by failing to investigate Trump’s willingness to intervene in investigations of foreign companies such as ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company.