Trump’s Records of Gifts From Foreign Leaders Are Missing, State Dept. Reveals

According to the State Department., the Trump administration failed to keep records of gifts that former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence received from foreign governments in 2020.

The State Department in report This week’s Federal Register report stated that the Executive Office of the Presidential failed to disclose information about Trump’s family’s 2020 gifts from foreign leaders. The report also stated that the General Services Administration failed to provide information on gifts received by Pence or White House aides. The department said it requested the missing information from the GSA and the National Archives and Records Administration but was told that “potentially relevant records” were restricted, according to the report.

The revelation came amid a slew of reports about the Trump administration’s handling of sensitive materials that are governed by federal law or the Presidential Records Act, which requires official documents and gifts to be preserved by the government. 15 boxes of materials were retrieved by the National Archives earlier this season. This included what Trump once called “a sham.” “love letters” from North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Some documents were classified or labeled “top secret,” The National Archives stated. Others were torn up and had to be taped back together. The House Jan. 6-committee is also investigating. nearly eight-hour gap in Trump’s phone records on the day of the Capitol riot.

“It’s flagrant and it looks terrible,” Richard Painter, the former ethics chief in the George W. Bush administration, told The New York Times The missing gift records are not available. “Either it was really stupid or really corrupt.”

Federal law requires that every federal agency submit a list of foreign government gifts exceeding $415 to the State Department. Though Trump’s travel was limited in 2020 due to the pandemic, he flew to Indiana and Switzerland, where he received a bust of Gandhi and a sculpture of Gandhi’s “three monkeys” metaphor, among other items. He hosted more than a dozen foreign leaders at his White House.

“The only reason you don’t keep the perfunctory records that every administration is readily equipped to keep is because you intend to violate the law,” argued Joyce White Vance, former U.S. attorney and law professor at The University of Alabama.

The State Department report said that the Office of the Chief of Protocol, which was run by a Trump appointee, failed to ask the White House for a list of Trump’s gifts before he left office and the White House did not turn one over. “As a result, the data required to fully compile a complete listing for 2020 is unavailable,” the report said in a footnote, adding that there had been a “lack of adequate recordkeeping pertaining to diplomatic gifts” going back to Trump’s first year in office.

The State Department’s inspector general revealed in November Tens of thousands in gifts that were given to Trump officials had gone missing. These included a $5800 Japanese whiskey given by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an commemorative gold coin that another department official received. The TimesAlso reported Trump administration officials were found to have kept white tiger, cheetah furs from Saudi Arabia. This could have violated the Endangered Species Act. However they were eventually turned over by the Interior Department, who discovered they were fake. The administration also failed to disclose that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner received two swords and a dagger from the Saudis, though Kushner ultimately paid $47,920 for them and other gifts a month after Trump left office, according to the Times.

Painter said the TimesThe Constitution’s foreign-emoluments clause, which makes it illegal for foreign officials to accept unapproved gifts, states that foreign gifts must be disclosed. But Painter acknowledged that the emoluments clause is “toothless and has no criminal or civil penalties,” according to the TimesIt is difficult to hold a former federal official responsible.

But Trump could still face legal trouble from his administration’s handling of materials. The House Oversight Committee is investigating Mar-a-Lago was also notified of the removal. The Justice Department is also being investigated. investigating The removal of classified documents.

The Jan. 6 committee has meanwhile been focusing more on the gaps in the White House’s phone logs. came during the same time Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and invaded it to stop the certification.

The Times reported The panel concluded on Sunday that there is sufficient evidence to make a criminal referral to the DOJ against Trump. However, members of the committee disagree on whether to do so due to concerns that it might politicize the investigation and make it appear that the DOJ was investigating Trump at its request. A federal judge was overseeing a case involving records sought by the committee and found last month that Trump “more likely than not” In his post-election scheme, he violated federal laws.

Rep. Liz Cheney, R. Wyo., was the vice chair of the committee. CNN Sunday’s decision by the committee was not final. However, it acknowledged that Trump had violated federal law.

“I think that it is absolutely the case, it’s absolutely clear that what President Trump was doing, what a number of people around him were doing, that they knew it was unlawful. They did it anyway,” Cheney said. “I think what we have seen is a massive and well-organized and well-planned effort that used multiple tools to try to overturn an election.”