House Democrats are investigating foreign gifts that apparently went ‘missing’ under Trump’s watch

House Democrats are investigating foreign gifts that apparently went ‘missing’ under Trump’s watch

It’s looking increasingly like Donald Trump illegally made off with a bunch of foreign gifts without notifying anyone. Why? Because he’s Donald Effing Trump, you naif.

It’s unlikely Trump wanted to be president just so he could steal stuff when he left, but he had to see that as a perk—and without question, it was inevitable. If he’d worked at Chuck E. Cheese, he would have stolen an animatronic banjo-playing bear. If he’d worked at a zoo, it would have been a real bear—and he would’ve been shoving otters down his Underoos on his way out the door. This is what the guy does. He’s a scammer. A grifter. A thief. And not a very good one.

So with the high-profile House Jan. 6 committee hearings commencing on Thursday—hearings that will hopefully shine a black light on the cocaine-and-criminal-conspiracy-orgy evidence Republicans have been wallpapering their party with—consider the following news a tantalizing amuse-bouche for your hungry amuse-bouche-holes. 

RELATED: The BIG Guide: Who’s who in the Jan. 6 committee’s investigation

CNN:

House Democrats are investigating former President Donald Trump‘s “apparent failure to account for gifts from foreign government officials while in office” after learning there may be thousands of dollars-worth of items that are either missing or were not tracked properly, according to a new letter sent to the National Archives by the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairwoman and first obtained by CNN.

The committee says it has received information from the State Department that “indicates the Trump administration ‘did not prioritize this obligation’ and failed to comply with the law that governs foreign gift reporting during President Trump’s final year in office,” the letter states. 

As a result of the administration’s failure to comply with the law, the letter notes, “the foreign sources and monetary value of gifts President Trump received remain unknown. … The Department of State also stated that it was unable to determine the identities of some government officials who received foreign gifts during the Trump Administration, as well as the sources of those foreign gifts.”

The Trump administration failed to comply with the law? Of course it did. It was too busy plotting the death of American democracy to bog itself down with such picayune concerns as sussing out what is or isn’t legal.

Of course, if a Democrat did anything like this, we’d already be deep into an interminable series of public hearings about it. But the bar’s been set so low for Trump—when it comes to both our laws and our democratic traditions—that this barely merits a mention. “Trump engaged in petty malfeasance” is a dog-bites-man story if I ever heard one. Come to think of it, it’s actually way more common than that. It’s more of a “clammy-orange-sack-of-diseased-weasels-bites-day-old-McRib-sandwich” story.

RELATED: Finally: The January 6 Committee hearings kick off this week. Details inside

But the letter also stated that the gifts “raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments, which may have put the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States at risk, and about possible violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which prohibits the president from obtaining benefits from foreign entities while in office.”

Yeah, of course. Anyone with any sort of a functioning moral compass knows why it’s improper to take such gifts. Or why it might just be a wee bit out of bounds to accept a $2 billion investment from the same people who sawed up a U.S.-based journalist on your watch. But maybe that’s just me nitpicking.

Of course, it’s also bad form to abscond with boxes and boxes full of classified information. But that hardly compares with trying to steal our democracy, so I guess that one goes on the back burner, too, along with dozens of other transgressions that used to be hair-on-fire outrages—before Donald Trump came along to normalize open corruption.

But while these are mere misdemeanors compared to Trump’s slew of high crimes, some of those missing items could reasonably be described as big-ticket.

According to a top State Department official who briefed the committee last month and public reporting, Trump officials, including members of the former President’s family, maintained possession of items each valued in the tens of thousands of dollars range—raising concerns that there are potentially more items missing that are worth just as much, if not more. Other gifts, such as a rare whiskey valued at $5,800 that was gifted to then-Secretary of State Pompeo, went missing, according to the State Department.

So there you have it. A grifter grifted in the final days of the biggest grifting opportunity he ever had. Not exactly big news—unless that guy was president of the United States, that is. Which, sadly and horrifyingly, he was. 

Now on to the main event. Mike Pompeo may want to sit down with a few fingers of that expensive whiskey and take in the big show. Will be wild!

Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE

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