For Trump, a foreign business is a shame, unless it's his own (2023)


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Donald J. Trump has rebuked Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s son for his overseas dealings, despite the Trump family's spate of overseas dealings.

  • Chapter 555

For Trump, a foreign business is a shame, unless it's his own (1)

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Peter Baker has covered the past five presidents.

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After the fourth indictment, which brings his felony count total to 91, former President Donald J. Trump posted a video online last week accusing President Biden and his family of crimes.

He claimed that the "Biden crime family" received millions of dollars from foreign countries. "I believe we have a compromising president," Trump said, adding: "He's a Manchurian candidate. That's why 'Cunning Joe' has other countries walking all over America."

For Mr Trump, anger is an optional commodity when it comes to the presidential family taking millions of dollars from foreign countries. In his four years in the White House and more than two and a half years since, Trump and his relatives have received far more money from around the globe than any of the president's son, Hunter Biden. , is reported to be collected.

Unlike other modern presidents, Trump has never relinquished control of his sprawling business with interests in multiple countries, nor foreign business even as president. He broke the mold of making money and unabashedly fueled the growth of the family company. His luxury hotel near the White House, for example, has become a favored destination for lobbyists, dealmakers and foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, which pay handsomely for lodging, celebrations and more.

Trump has also allowed his family members to hold positions in the government, blurring lines when it comes to their private interests. Unlike Hunter Biden, Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner have both served on the White House staff, where they can shape policy related to overseas businesses.

Mr. Kushner was actively involved in shaping the administration's approach to the Middle East and had numerous contacts in the region. After turning in his White House badge, Mr. Kushner started a private equity firm with $2 billion in funding from Saudi Arabia and hundreds of millions of dollars in other Arab countries that stand to benefit from U.S. policy and have an interest in A possible second Trump administration is interested.

“The Trump family has far more foreign business entanglements, involving dozens of overseas business conflicts,” said Norman Eisen, an attorney who has unsuccessfully challenged the Trump family in court.Former President's Practice of Accepting Foreign Fundingduring his tenure.

Eisen added that the entanglements "involved people like Jared and Ivanka who actually worked in the government, which Hunter never did." "In fact, Trump himself publicly benefited, but there is not a shred of evidence that Biden Sr. ever benefited."

Hunter Biden's business dealings have raised concerns as testimonies and reports suggest he traded using his last name to strike lucrative deals. Young Biden made a fortune, a former business associate tells congressional investigators"The hallucination of being able to be close to my father"Win over potential partners.


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There is no conclusive evidence that Biden personally participated in or profited from these business deals while he was vice president, or used his office to benefit his son's partners.

But Mr. Biden's rhetoric of distancing himself from his son's activities has been undercut by the following testimony:Hunter asked his father to turn on the speakerphoneWith international business partners; according to the testimony, the future president talked about casual topics like the weather rather than business, but it appeared to be an attempt to impress Hunter's colleagues.

All of this typically draws scrutiny in Washington because the president's relatives have long used their positions to make money. In the nation's capital, fame and fame are the coins of the state, and relatives who frequent Camp David, enjoy a good seat at a state dinner or fly Air Force One can get a call back. The tradition has put many Americans off guard, and even Democrats have privately expressed displeasure with Hunter Biden's campaign.

"If he used his father's influence to make deals, he should be held accountable for that," said Rep. Jim Hymes, a Connecticut Democrat.recently on MSNBC said. "I emphasize this because you never hear a Republican say the same thing about Donald Trump or his family."

Republicans investigating the Bidens say they made more than $20 million from foreign sources in China, Ukraine and elsewhere, butWashington Post AnalysisMost of the money went to business partners, with $7 million of that going to the Biden family themselves, primarily Hunter, according to a congressional memo from the Washington Post.

Don Fox, former general counsel of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, said: "What Hunter and Jared have in common is that they are both well-educated sons of well-known people, and their family connections have undoubtedly helped their business." "That's the similarity."

"Hunter has never held public office and most of his Ukraine work took place during his father's absence," Mr Fox continued. He added that the money Mr. Kushner could make on the money invested by the Saudis "dwarfs what anyone paid Hunter".

The analogy to Hunter Biden angered Mr. Kushner, who had a long business record before joining the administration and was proud of negotiating the Abraham Accords, an agreement between Israel and several of its Arab neighbors. Normalized diplomatic agreements.

People close to him believe that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries invest based on a belief that he can make money for them, rather than gratitude for the policies he has pushed. Instead of reversing those policies, they point out, the Biden administration seeks to build on the Abraham Accords.

"There is no factual comparison between Hunter and Jared," a representative for Kushner said in a statement. "Jared was a successful businessman before he entered politics, struck historic peace and trade deals, and like many before him, he re-entered business after a free stint in the White House, where he fully respected government ethics Office rules."

Chad Mizelle, chief legal officer of Mr. Kushner's firm, Affinity Partners, said in a statement: "No one, other than partisan politics, has suggested that Jared or Affinity violated any specific law. or code of ethics."

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who will challenge Trump for the GOP nomination next year, is one of a handful of Republicans who has criticized the Trump family for mixing government services with foreign businesses. "The Trump family has been involved in bribery for some time," he said.cnn saysin June.

Christie, the U.S. attorney who indicted Kushner's father, singled out the former president's son-in-law's business dealings.

"Six months after Jared Kushner left the White House, he received $2 billion from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund," he said. "What is Jared Kushner doing in the Middle East? We have Rex Tillerson and Mike Pompeo as secretaries of state. We don't need Jared Kushner. He was sent there to establish Those relationships, and then when he's out of office, he exploits those relationships to make money."

While in the White House, Mr. Kushner strengthened ties between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, convinced his father-in-law to make the kingdom his first foreign destination as president and helped broker billions in arms sales and trade .Close relationship with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Kushner defended Prince Mohammed after Saudi agents murdered Washington Post columnist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. The CIA concluded thatPrince Mohammed ordered the killing in 2018. In 2021, Prince Mohammed's sovereign wealth fund approved a $2 billion investment in Mr Kushner's new company, despiteDissenting opinion from the fund's own advisers

Rep. James R. Comer, R-Ky., chairman of the House Oversight Committee investigating the Bidens, acknowledged concerns about Kushner's deal with the Saudis.

"I think Kushner crossed a moral line in what he did,"mr comer saidWhen asked by CNN's Jake Tapper earlier this month. "What Christie said, happened after he left office. Still no excuses, Jack. But it happened after he left office. Jared Kushner actually had a legitimate business. This Biden family The money happened while Joe Biden was vice president and he was flying to these countries."

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In fact, as Mr. Comer’s committee report makes clear, some of Hunter Biden’s overseas funding came during his father’s tenure as vice president, but a significant portion of it came while his father was vice president.

Spokespeople for Comer and Trump did not respond to requests for comment.

Mr. Trump has never been allergic to foreign money. As a candidate in 2016, he secretly pursued a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow until he effectively secured the Republican nomination. one of his lawyersTurn to the Kremlin for supportFor the project, Trump will interact with the Kremlin when he becomes president in a few months.

To address concerns about foreign financial interests, Trump has promised no new overseas operations while in office, but he hasn't given up on his many existing lucrative ventures in other countries, as well as his company, which is owned by his son Jr. Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are officially in business. Eric Trump continues to expand overseas.

During Trump's four years in the White House, the Trump Organization acquired 66 foreign trademarks, according to one agency.Washington Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics reportMost of these are from China, with others from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Peru, the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and the European Union.

Foreign entities are good clients of Mr. Trump. During his tenure, 145 foreign officials from 75 national governments visited Trump properties, and foreign governments or affiliated groups hosted 13 events at his hotels and resorts, according to the ethics group's report.

Although Mr. Trump said in last week'svideoAlthough Biden described Biden as a puppet of the Chinese and falsely claimed that "China gave him a lot of money", his own family has close economic ties to Beijing. In addition to trademarks, Forbes calculated that one of Trump's businesses during his presidencyRaised at least $5.4 millionThe rent comes from state-controlled Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

Mr. Kushner's family negotiated with Chinese and Qatari entities that ultimately saved the debt-ridden Manhattan building at 666 Fifth Avenue.Facilitated a $1.1 billion leasing transactionWorking with a US company whose investors include the Qatari sovereign wealth fund. (At the time, Mr. Kushner had sold his share of the tower to a family trust of which he was not a beneficiary, and people involved in the deal said the Qataris were unaware of the deal before it was done.)

In the case of Ivanka Trump, who initially kept her clothing and accessories line during her tenure on the White House staff,Obtained 16 trademark approvals in China2018, later decidedclosed business

Despite lawsuits by Eisen and others alleging violations of the constitutional emoluments clause, the Trump family's overseas dealings have never been deemed illegal by any authority. Neither did Hunter Biden's.

But in Mr Trump's view, one is enough for a president to compromise, and the other is of little consequence.

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peter bakerChief White House correspondent, who has covered the last five presidents for The Times and The Washington Post. He is the author of seven books, most recently Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021, co-authored with Susan Glasser. More About Peter Baker

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