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Trump businesses got $7.8M from foreign countries while ex-prez in office: report

WASHINGTON — The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat issued a report Thursday describing $7.8 million in foreign government-linked payments to Donald Trump’s businesses for hotel stays and office leases during his four-year presidency — attempting to counter Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into President Biden’s role in his relatives’ foreign dealings.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) wrote in an introduction to the 156-page report that “Donald Trump, while holding the office of president, used his business entities to pocket millions of dollars from foreign states and royalty.”

Republicans have traced tens of millions of dollars in cashflows from countries such as China, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia and Ukraine to President Biden’s son Hunter, brother James and other relatives during and immediately after his vice presidency — and say the president has repeatedly lied about his interactions with their foreign associates while steering US policy toward those countries.

But Raskin, who has led Democrats in attempting to redirect the Biden impeachment inquiry by raising questions about Trump’s conduct, wrote that his report “allows America to glimpse the rampant illegality and corruption of the Trump presidency.”

The document is likely to be heavily cited by Democrats during expected debate later this year over articles of impeachment against Biden for alleged corruption and obstruction of congressional inquiries. Republicans have countered that Trump, unlike the Biden family, appeared to provide tangible business services in exchange for the income.

CHINA

As with the Biden family, the top foreign source of revenue for the Trump Organization was China, according to the report, which describes nearly $5.6 million in payments from Beijing-linked firms, citing records acquired through litigation with accounting firm Mazars USA.

Nearly $5.4 million of the Chinese funds — or more than two-thirds of the overall total of foreign funds traced by the report — came from a $1.9 million annual lease at Manhattan’s Trump Tower by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which began in 2008 and expired during Trump’s presidency in October 2019.

The report also lists more than $19,000 spent by a Chinese embassy delegation in August 2017 to stay at Trump’s then-DC hotel near the White House and more than $195,000 by a state-linked Chinese airline to stay at Trump’s Las Vegas hotel — a payment that spanned 2016, before his presidency, and continued through 2018.

Trump promised before taking office in 2017 to donate all profits earned by his businesses from foreign governments to the US Treasury, though it’s unclear if he did so. Trump did refuse his $400,000 annual salary as president.

Additional Trump-China business interactions are described in the report but not counted toward the total — including income from the state-linked Chinese company CEFC China Energy, which purchased a unit in Trump Tower in 2012 and sold it in October 2020.

“Assuming that the base charges [at Trump Tower] did not change during the four years of the Trump
presidency, [CEFC subsidiary] Hong Kong Huaxin Petroleum Limited paid Trump World Tower at least $152,505 during the four years of the Trump presidency,” the report says.

CEFC is better known for paying Hunter and James Biden millions of dollars in 2017 and 2018 and Joe Biden is directly implicated in their venture by several written communications, in addition to allegedly meeting twice with their business partners.

A May 2017 email proposed for Joe Biden a 10% cut in his family’s CEFC venture and months later an email described him as involved in a call about US natural gas. He also was name-checked by Hunter Biden in a July 2017 text message to a China-based associate, in which the now-first son wrote he was “sitting here with my father” and threatened his family’s wrath if a deal was not enacted. The message immediately preceded the transfer of $5.1 million to Biden family entities, after an initial $3 million was disbursed months prior. Another $1 million transfer reportedly occurred later.

As part of an earlier Biden family business relationship in China, Hunter Biden in 2013 cofounded a Beijing-backed investment fund called BHR Partners — just 12 days after joining his father aboard Air Force Two for an official trip to Beijing.

Joe Biden had coffee with BHR’s incoming CEO Jonathan Li during the trip and later spoke with Li on speaker phone during a subsequent visit to China by the then-second son, former Hunter Biden business partner Devon Archer told the Oversight Committee during a July deposition.

Hunter held a 10% stake in BHR through at least part of his father’s first year as president and the terms of his divestment remain murky.

SAUDI ARABIA AND OTHERS

Another income stream for Trump’s businesses came from Saudi Arabia, which paid more than $615,000 over four years, according to Raskin’s report, including for fees related to the country’s ownership of the 45th floor of Trump Tower and a March 2018 stay at Trump’s DC hotel.

Saudi business dealings with the Trump family since he left office are expected to be a major point of controversy if Trump regains the White House. The country has partnered with Trump’s golf courses through the staging of its LIV Golf tournaments and invested $2 billion with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2021.

Qatar paid more than $465,000 related to Trump Tower and the Doha government also was controversially involved in a Manhattan office deal with Kushner’s family.

A third Middle Eastern country, Kuwait, paid more than $303,000 between Trump Tower and DC hotel expenses.

Other top spenders included India (nearly $283,000 for Trump Tower and DC’s Trump hotel), Malaysia (about $249,000 on DC hotel costs) and Afghanistan (about $155,000 between Trump Tower and the DC hotel).

COMER: ‘BEYOND PARODY’

House Oversight Committee chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) tore into Raskin’s report as irrelevant to Biden’s alleged wrongdoing.

“It’s beyond parody that Democrats continue their obsession with former President Trump. Former President Trump has legitimate businesses but the Bidens do not,” Comer said.

“The Bidens and their associates made over $24 million by cashing in on the Biden name in China, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Romania. No goods or services were provided other than access to Joe Biden and the Biden network.”

A Trump spokesman did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Joe Biden, while vice president, was on speakerphone for about 20 of his son Hunter’s foreign business meetings and joined two dinners at DC’s Cafe Milano — in 2014 and 2015 — with his son’s Kazakhstani, Russian and Ukrainian patrons, Archer told the Oversight Committee in July..

Dinner guests included former Moscow first lady Yelena Baturina, who transferred $3.5 million to a Hunter Biden-linked entity in early 2014 and separately invested $100 million with Archer’s Rosemont Realty, with which Hunter Biden was briefly associated.

Kazakhstani businessman Kenes Rakishev, who purchased the then-second son a $142,000 sports car, also dined with Joe Biden and posed for a group photo with him.

Vadym Pozharsky, board adviser to Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings, which paid Hunter up to $1 million per year beginning in 2014 when his father assumed control of US policy toward Ukraine, wrote Hunter a thank-you email the next day for the opportunity to meet his father.

Archer said that Hunter Biden stepped away from a gathering at the Four Seasons in Dubai to “call DC” with Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky and Pozharsky in December 2015.

An FBI informant file released in July says Zlochevsky complained in 2016 that he was “coerced” into paying $10 million in bribes to Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for the then-vice president’s help in ousting Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Viktor Shokin, who was removed from office in March 2016 after a campaign by Joe Biden. The bribery claim has not been proven.

In other contacts, Joe Biden in November 2015 hosted and gave a White House tour to Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and members of the wealthy Mexican Aleman family, whom Hunter Biden and his associate Jeff Cooper courted with energy and technology pitches.

Joe Biden is pictured at the VP’s official residence with Cooper, Hunter Biden, Carlos Slim, Miguel Alemán Velasco, and his son Miguel Aleman Magnani, the founder of the airline Interjet.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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