Investigative Group

Grassley Confronts Trump Critics On Clintons’ Russian, Other Foreign Gifts

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Mark Tapscott Executive Editor, Chief of Investigative Group

Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Sen. Charles Grassley wants to know why allegations leveled against President Donald Trump in a current lawsuit aren’t also applicable to the Clintons.

The Iowa Republican is referring to a recently filed lawsuit charging Trump with violating the Constitution’s emoluments clause every time a foreign leader checks into a hotel owned by the chief executive’s corporation.

The clause says no official of the federal government “shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.” The plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend Trump must jettison his real estate and other ownership interests that profit on business with foreign governments and officials.

Grassley asked in an Aug. 10, 2017, letter to the plaintiffs in the suit against Trump — Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. John Conyers, multiple other Democrats in Congress and the attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia — why they aren’t also suing former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Secretary Clinton’s actions raise nearly identical concerns about compliance with the clause as those you identified related to President Trump, but you did not acknowledge them in your complaint … Any violations of the clause should be pursued and remedied in an evenhanded and objective manner, regardless of who may have committed them,” Grassley said in his letter.

“You made no mention of Secretary Clinton’s joint receipt of extravagant payments for her spouse’s speeches from foreign governments and foreign instrumentalities, even though she shared in those foreign payments direct, personal, joint income and even though they were substantially more than her income from the State Department,” Grassley continued.

Grassley said that while Secretary Clinton was in charge of the State Department, she and her husband jointly received $175,000 from a city in Canada for a speech. Notably, the Office of Legal Counsel (OSC) has determined that the clause’s application to a ‘foreign state’ would also include ‘a political governing entity within that foreign state’ such as a city.

“During her time at State, she also received $500,000 jointly with her husband from the Abu Dhabi Global Environment Data Initiative (AGEDI), an organization created by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Abu Dhabi,” Grassley wrote.

The judicial panel chairman also pointed to the Clintons’ financial benefits from Russian interests, including a June 2010 payment of $500,000 she received jointly with former President Bill Clinton from Renaissance Capital for one of his speeches.

“Renaissance is a Russian investment bank whose senior officers include former FSB (Russian intelligence) personnel. As such, sources have described the bank as an extension of the Russian government, as most all of the banks in Russia are controlled in some manner by the Kremlin,” Grassley said.

Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for CREW, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group that “we have received Senator Grassley’s letter and our lawyers are currently working on a response, which we will file by the letter’s requested deadline” of Aug. 25, 2017. Raquel Coombs, spokesman for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh also said a response would be given Grassley by the deadline.

Spokesmen for the other plaintiffs did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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