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

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy Pelosi28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Lawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats House Republican: 'Absolutely bogus' for GOP to downplay Jan. 6 MORE (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) on Monday accused President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' 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 MnuchinDemocrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer Yellen provides signature for paper currency Biden's name will not appear on stimulus checks, White House says MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsBoehner finally calls it as he sees it Stephen Miller launching group to challenge Democrats' policies through lawsuits A year with the coronavirus: How we got here 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 McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden 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 ShelbyBiden officials testify that white supremacists are greatest domestic security threat Republicans embrace Trump in effort to reclaim Senate Top Senate Democrat announces return of earmarks 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.”