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Pelosi, Schumer accuse Trump of self-dealing with money for FBI headquarters

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE of self-dealing in pressing Senate Republicans to include in their coronavirus relief proposal $1.75 billion to rebuild the FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in downtown Washington. 

Democrats suspect Trump is pressing for the money to rebuild the FBI headquarters in downtown D.C. so that it doesn’t move out from its space on 9th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and leave open a prime piece of real estate that could be occupied by a new hotel that would pose serious competition to the Trump International Hotel across the street.

“They don’t have money for food stamps, but they have money for an FBI building just so that they can diminish competition for the president’s hotel,” Pelosi said to reporters after meeting with Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates Sweeping financial crimes bill to hitch a ride on defense measure On The Money: Funding bill hits snag as shutdown deadline looms | Pelosi, Schumer endorse 8 billion plan as basis for stimulus talks | Poll: Most Americans support raising taxes on those making at least 0K MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal Alyssa Farah resigns as White House communications director Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: 'He hasn't looked' MORE on Monday evening.

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Pelosi later told reporters that Trump wants to refurbish the FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue “so that nobody could build a hotel across the street” from the Trump International Hotel.

Schumer also dinged the president over the earmark. 

“They managed to have enough money for $2 billion for the FBI headquarters that benefits Trump hotel, and they say they have no money for food assistance. What the heck is going on?” Schumer said.

“We just found out it was in it as we read it,” he said, describing the surprise of finding the FBI provision buried in the GOP proposal.

Pelosi and Schumer asked the senior White House officials about rebuilding the FBI headquarters at the meeting. 

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Even Senate Republicans didn’t seem thrilled about adding money for a new FBI headquarters at a time when they’ve tried to keep out provisions not directly related to responding to the pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks GOP senators back Christian school's push for COVID-19 carve-out Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters during a press conference earlier Monday that he was not aware the money for the FBI headquarters was included.

“You’ll have to ask them why they insisted that be included,” he said, pointing reporters to the White House.

Asked why the special earmark for the FBI was included in the Republican proposal, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyPelosi bullish on COVID-19 relief: 'We cannot leave without it' House Democrats pick DeLauro to lead Appropriations panel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Dem leaders back smaller COVID-19 relief bill as pandemic escalates MORE (R-Ala.) told reporters, “Good question.”

“This is an administration proposal to move on with the FBI. They need a new FBI building. It's not safe to work in, and they’re talking about downsizing it anyway,” he said.

But the senior GOP lawmaker conceded the “link” between the pandemic and the need for a new FBI headquarters is a “stretch.”