Senate Democrats are asking President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Cruz, O’Rourke’s debate showdown Arpaio files libel suit against New York Times IMF’s Christine Lagarde delays trip to Middle East MORE and the Trump Organization to disclose any ties to Saudi Arabia, as well as freeze any potential business relationships, in the wake of the disappearance of a U.S.-based journalist.
Eleven Democrats sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday saying public reporting and the president’s own comments show decades of “maintained business relationships” with Saudi Arabia and the Saudi royal family.
“Your recent statements, and public reports of increased spending by the Saudi government at Trump properties, raise significant concerns about financial conflicts of interest,” the Democratic senators wrote.
They add that any possible decision on imposing sanctions on the nation, and U.S. policy generally, should “not [be] influenced by any conflicts of interest that may exist because of you or your family’s deep financial ties to Saudi Arabia.”
Democrats also sent a letter outlining the same concerns to Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDems fear party is headed to gutter from Avenatti’s sledgehammer approach Trump Jr. to stump in Indiana for Pence’s brother and governor hopeful Donald Trump Jr. blasts Beto O’Rourke: ‘Irish guy pretending to be Hispanic’ MORE and Eric TrumpEric Frederick TrumpTrump’s Scottish golf resort reports millions in losses for fourth straight year Eric Trump blasts professor at alma mater Georgetown: ‘A terrible representative for our school’ Trump falls 138 spots on Forbes list of richest Americans MORE, who took over management of the Trump Organization following their father’s White House win.
Senators are asking Trump and the Trump Organization to provide documents to allow them to “better understand any potential conflicts of interest,” including any paperwork tied to investments, payments or transfers from Saudi Arabia or the Saudi royal family to the Trump Organization during the past 10 years.
They also want to know if Trump or any Trump Organization officials have discussed potential investment or business deals involving Saudi Arabia since June 16, 2015, or if they’ve received gifts or anything else of value since the start of the administration.
The eleven Democratic senators who signed the letter include Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallHillicon Valley: Officials warn of Chinese influence efforts | Dow drops over 800 points | Tech stocks hit hard | Google appeals B EU fine | James Murdoch may be heading for Tesla | Most Americans worried about election security For everyone’s safety, border agents must use body-worn cameras Senate Democrats increase pressure for FBI investigation of Kavanaugh MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Missing journalist strains US-Saudi ties | Senators push Trump to open investigation | Trump speaks with Saudi officials | New questions over support for Saudi coalition in Yemen Senators trigger law forcing Trump to probe Saudi journalist’s disappearance MORE (Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia Durbin opposes Saudi arms sale over missing journalist Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? MORE (Ill.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenPavlich: The left’s identity politics fall apart Graham: It would be ‘like, terrible’ if a DNA test found I was Iranian Iranian-American group calls on Graham to apologize for ‘disgusting’ DNA remark MORE (Mass.), Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Affordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Cruz takes dig at Beto O’Rourke, calls him ‘top 10‘ contender for Dems in 2020 MORE (N.J.), Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichFor everyone’s safety, border agents must use body-worn cameras Electric carmakers turn to Congress as tax credits dry up A Senator Gary Johnson could be good not just for Libertarians, but for the Senate too MORE (N.M.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Trump administration doubles down on climate skepticism | Suspended EPA health official hits back | Military bases could host coal, gas exports EPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked ‘absolutely offensive’ Senate sends bill regulating airline seat sizes to Trump MORE (Mass.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthHillicon Valley: Facebook deletes accounts for political ‘spam’ | Leaked research shows Google’s struggles with online free speech | Trump’s praise for North Korea complicates cyber deterrence | Senators want Google memo on privacy bug Senate Dem: Trump’s ‘fake, hyperbolic rantings’ an insult to real Medal of Honor recipients Meteorologist wears her toddler to work in support of working mothers MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDemocrats won’t let Kavanaugh debate die Senate poised to confirm Kavanaugh after bitter fight Hillary Clinton bursts out laughing about Kavanaugh’s ‘revenge on behalf of the Clintons’ remark MORE (R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPoll: Dem incumbent holds 5-point lead in Oregon governor’s race Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees EPA chief calls racist Facebook post he liked ‘absolutely offensive’ MORE (Ore.).
Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who was a critic of Saudi leadership, was last seen Oct. 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork needed for his marriage.
Saudi Arabia has denied wrongdoing in his disappearance, initially saying Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after entering without providing evidence to support their claim.
Democrats are asking both Trump and the Trump Organization to halt any ongoing business relationships during the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance, as well as commit to cutting financial ties if Saudi Arabia or senior officials are found to be responsible in his potential slaying.
The letters come after Trump pushed back on speculation that he has not punished Saudi Arabia due to financial conflicts of interest, calling it “FAKE NEWS.”
“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter),” he tweeted. “Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”
Trump’s business ties to Saudi Arabia are coming under increasing scrutiny as he’s faced growing pressure to have a tough response to Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible death.
Trump for years has had business ties to the Saudis, with one Saudi royal billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, purchasing his yacht and a stake in New York’s Plaza Hotel in the 1990s when the former business mogul was in financial distress.
And, as senators noted in their letters on Wednesday, Trump talked about his business relationship with Saudi Arabia at a rally in 2015.
“Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them. They buy apartments from me,” he said at a campaign rally in 2015 in Alabama. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”