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House committees investigate Pence's stay at Trump resort in Ireland

Pence defends staying at Trump resort

Two House committees have launched investigations into whether President Trump is improperly using the office of the presidency to enrich himself by having administration and foreign officials stay at Trump-owned properties.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is probing Vice President Mike Pence's stay at the Trump International Golf Links and Hotel in Doonbeg, Ireland, during a recent trip to Europe. The Judiciary Committee is also investigating Mr. Trump's desire to host the next G-7 summit at Trump National Doral golf club in Miami, Florida.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings sent a letter to the White House, Pence, the Secret Service and the Trump Organization requesting information about Pence's stay in Doonbeg, 180 miles away from his meetings with Irish officials in Dublin.

"The Committee does not believe that U.S. taxpayer funds should be used to personally enrich President Trump, his family, and his companies," Cummings wrote in his letters, noting that Mr. Trump's visit to his Ireland property in June cost taxpayers $3.6 million, according to reporting by HuffPost.

While in Ireland this week, Pence defended his decision to stay in Doonbeg to reporters.

"I understand political attacks by Democrats. But if you have a chance to get to Doonbeg you'll find it's a fairly small place, and the opportunity to stay at Trump National in Doonbeg to accommodate the unique footprint that comes with our security detail and other personnel made it logical," he said. "We checked it with the State Department, they approved us staying there."

Pence's chief of staff, Marc Short, said Tuesday that the decision to stay at Doonbeg was made at the president's "suggestion," and noted that Pence's great-grandmother lived in the town.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler also sent a letter to the White House Counsel and the Secret Service requesting more information about Mr. Trump's lobbying for the next G-7 summit to be held at his Doral resort. Mr. Trump touted the resort while at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, last month.

"We have a series of magnificent buildings ... very luxurious rooms," Mr. Trump told reporters. "We have incredible conference rooms, incredible restaurants, it's like — it's like such a natural."

Mr. Trump also claimed that the Secret Service and military personnel had visited other sites and agreed Doral should be the site of the next summit.

"They went to places all over the country and they came back and they said, 'This is where we'd like to be,'" Mr. Trump said. "It's not about me. It's about getting the right location."

"I'm not going to make any money. I don't want to make money. I don't care about making money," Mr. Trump added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization are suing Cummings to stop subpoenas for financial information from the president's businesses. Mr. Trump filed the lawsuit in August in D.C. District Court. Nearly 200 members of Congress have also filed suit accusing Mr. Trump of violating the emoluments clause by profiting from his businesses while in office.

It was also recently revealed that Attorney General William Barr will be holding a $30,000 holiday party at the Trump hotel in Washington, D.C., in December.

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