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‘We’re Looking At Raw Bribery’: House Committee Probing Another Scandal Involving Trump Hotel

House investigators are looking into an allegation that officials from a foreign government and at least one trade association engaged in a “bribery scheme” by booking rooms in President Donald Trump’s hotels without staying in them in order to curry favor with Trump, Politico reports.

The allegation is part of the House Oversight Committee’s investigation into whether by taking money from US or foreign government officials at his businesses, Trump broke the law, according to the news site.

The US Constitution’s Emoluments Clause prohibits public officials from receiving gifts or cash from foreign or US officials without congressional approval.

The committee’s probe came after it received a tip that the trade association and foreign government, which are separate entities, had booked a large amount of rooms but left them empty, Politico reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the allegation.

The investigation forms part of the House’s larger official impeachment inquiry into the president, Politico reported. The probe, opened by Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week came in light of revelations that Trump repeatedly pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate his 2020 rival Joe Biden and his son over corruption allegations.

It is unclear whether Trump or his staff had actively asked for or encouraged the hotel reservations, or whether the trade association and foreign officials made the bookings of their own volition.

If Trump or his staff asked for the two entities to make the reservations, then they broke the law.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, another Democratic member of the committee, described the bookings as “an obvious attempt to curry favor” with Trump, Politico reported.

“There’s a sense that to curry favor you have to engage in pay to play,” he said. “Now we’re looking at near raw bribery,” he added.

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