WASHINGTON — Former President Donald Trump received at least $7.8 million in payments from foreign governments during two of his four years in the White House, according to a report released Thursday by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee.
Twenty foreign governments made the payments to Trump's businesses during the two-year period that the committee was able to review. The information in the report was first reported by The New York Times and CNN.
Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., the ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, wrote in the report's foreword that the payments came from "some of the world's most unsavory regimes," with China being the leading spender, paying more than $5.5 million to Trump-owned properties, according to the report. Some of the other countries that made payments to Trump were Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, India and Afghanistan, the report said.
“This is a limited window on a far-broader universe of foreign government spending that took place,” Raskin told reporters Thursday on Capitol Hill.
Raskin said in the report that the information demonstrates that Trump violated the Constitution's foreign emoluments clause, which he said prohibits the president from accepting money payments or gifts "'of any kind whatever' from foreign governments and monarchs unless he obtains 'the Consent of the Congress' to do so."
"Yet Donald Trump, while holding the office of president, used his business entities to pocket millions of dollars from foreign states and royalty and never once went to Congress to seek its consent," Raskin wrote.
Raskin said that the $7.8 million is "almost certainly only a fraction of Trump's harvest of unlawful foreign state money, but this figure in itself is a scandal and a decisive spur to action."
The payments were made to properties owned by Trump, according to the report, including his hotels in Washington, D.C., Las Vegas and New York City. The report said "these countries spent — often lavishly — on apartments and hotel stays at Donald Trump’s properties — personally enriching President Trump while he made foreign policy decisions connected to their policy agendas with far-reaching ramifications for the United States."
Documents provided to the committee showed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia and its royal family spent at least $615,400 at Trump properties during his administration, the report said. It noted that while Saudi Arabia did that, Trump signed an arms deal as president in 2017 with the government worth more than $100 billion.
The information in the committee report stems from documents from Mazars, Trump's former accounting firm, which took Democrats years of litigation to obtain. They first attempted to acquire the records when they last served in the House majority and then issued a subpoena to Mazars in 2019. Trump fought the subpoena in court but ultimately reached a settlement with Mazars and the committee in September 2022 that said the accounting firm had to produce relevant records. Democrats say, however, that Republicans then successfully got a court to terminate the enforcement of the agreement in July.
"Despite these obstacles, Committee Democrats succeeded in obtaining a subset of documents that shine a light on the finances of at least some of the former President’s businesses, despite being incomplete and lacking in significant respects because of the Chairman’s actions and significant gaps in the records possessed by Mazars," the report said.
Trump's 2024 presidential campaign did not immediately reply to a request for comment.