- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 2, 2019

The U.S. State Department signed off on foreign governments renting luxury condominiums in Trump World Tower without congressional approval, according to a new report.

The residential tower stands adjacent to the United Nations building in Manhattan, according to the property’s official website.

State Department records showed the governments of Iraq, Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Thailand and the European Union all were allowed to lease apartment buildings in the months following Mr. Trump’s inaugurations, with Kuwait, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the European Union having pursued renting units in 2015 and 2016, according to Reuters.

Reuters could not confirm the State Department green-lighting lease requests from Algeria, South Korea and three from Kuwait.

Congressional staffers told Reuters these lease requests were never brought in front of Congress.

Legal experts said these transactions should be approved by Congress, or they could be seen as in violation of the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution, which requires congressional consent for U.S. officials before they accept payments or gifts from foreign nations.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said his committee has been “stonewalled” from obtaining information about Mr. Trump’s businesses receiving foreign payments.

“This new information raises serious questions about the President and his businesses’ potential receipt of payments from foreign governments. The American public deserves full transparency,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement.

Mr. Trump’s properties have been shrouded in controversy due to the president not divesting himself from his global real estate company prior to taking office.

In a report published Wednesday, the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in south Florida reportedly charged the White House for a $1,000 alcohol bill in April 2017 after Mr. Trump’s aides helped themselves to an unattended bar.

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