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Warren calls for probe of Trump hotel conflicts of interest

Warren calls for probe of Trump hotel conflicts of interest
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Two Senate Democrats are calling on the federal agency leasing a government building to President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpProject Veritas surveilled government officials to expose anti-Trump sentiments: report Cheney: Fox News has 'a particular obligation' to refute election fraud claims The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? MORE to investigate whether that arrangement could create conflicts of interest.

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Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren says Republican Party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' Briahna Joy Gray: Warren not endorsing Sanders in 2020 was 'really frustrating' McConnell hits Democratic critics of Israel MORE (D-Mass.) and Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperCarper urges Biden to nominate ambassadors amid influx at border DC statehood bill picks up Senate holdout The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Cheney poised to be ousted; Biden to host big meeting MORE (D-Del.) on Thursday wrote the head of the General Services Administration (GSA) about the recently opened Trump hotel in Washington’s Old Post Office building. 

The senators focused on two legal issues: a provision in the 2013 lease that blocks elected officials from being part of the agreement, and money Trump could make from foreign governments booking rooms and holding events.

Trump’s lease could conflict with his election as president, and profit Trump makes from the hotel could violate a clause in the Constitution that bars the president from receiving money from foreign governments.

“GSA needs to provide assurances to the American people that your agency will take whatever steps are necessary to protect taxpayer dollars and avoid any conflicts of interests,” wrote Warren and Carper.

Trump has vowed to leave his business empire and said Wednesday he’d explain how during a Dec. 15 press conference. Even so, if Trump maintains a financial stake in his company while in office, it could still present conflicts of interest.

If Trump stands to profit from the hotel while he can appoint a new GSA chief, it “will effectively make President-elect Trump landlord and tenant at the same time,” wrote Warren and Carper.

“Terms of the agreement also require annual disclosures of sensitive financial information and for GSA to renegotiate rent adjustments and other payments to the Trump Organization,” they wrote.

“Such a scenario will present unmanageable conflicts of interest for career GSA officials and President-elect Trump and result in a breach of plain language of the lease agreement."

Warren and Carper also argued that Trump’s continued financial stake in the hotel could violate the “Emoluments Clause” of the Constitution, which bans elected officials from receiving payments from foreign nations. The Kingdom of Bahrain has already scheduled a reception at the new Trump hotel.

“Any financial arrangement that places President-elect Trump or his children in charge of the Trump International Hotel will still result in a conflict of interest for GSA as it manages a lease agreement that financially benefits the President,” wrote Warren and Carper.

The senators asked GSA to explain how it would handle the potential conflicts of interest should Trump maintain a financial stake in the hotel.