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Trump claims he'll release 'extremely complete' financial details

POLITICO logo POLITICO 9/9/2019 By Caitlin Oprysko
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump. © Win McNamee/Getty Images President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump on Monday claimed he plans on releasing an "extremely complete" report of his financial record, but he offered no specifics and a murky timeline.

Speaking to reporters as he departed the White House, Trump suggested that the promised release would dispel the notion that his real estate empire is in need of the taxpayer money and business driven there throughout his presidency.

The latest such controversy arose from a POLITICO report that detailed several instances of U.S. Air Force crews staying at Trump's Scotland resort while refueling at a small commercial airport nearby. But Trump argued that it was unfair to suggest he was to blame for a military aircraft refueling in the vicinity of one of his properties.

“I own a lot of different places,” he told reporters. “Soon, you will find that out because I will be, at some point prior to the election, I will be giving out a financial report of me. And it will be extremely complete. I'm going to give out my financial condition.”

Trump’s finances have been a major issue of contention, stemming from his refusal to release his tax returns while running for president, breaking a decades-long tradition for major party nominees.

Democrats in the House are now embroiled in a legal battle with the White House as well as top banks with whom he’s conducted business in an attempt to compel their release — but it’s unlikely the issue will be resolved ahead of next year’s elections.

Trump has pledged in the past to release information about his personal finances but initially maintained that ongoing audits of his tax returns by the IRS precluded him from doing so. But he became unyielding as his White House has stonewalled oversight investigators demanding information about his finances and sued banks to block subpoenas issued by Democrats.

As president, Trump is required to submit annual financial disclosures. It is unclear whether he was referring to these less revealing documents on Monday; his latest disclosures were released in May.

Regardless, Trump insisted that his eventual financial statements would show that his properties are not hurting for business.

“You will be extremely shocked at the numbers,” he told reporters. “Many, many times what you think. I don't need to have somebody take a room overnight at a hotel.”

Accusations that Trump’s properties are unfairly profiting off of his administration have dogged the president since entering office. Trump still owns his business but placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his benefit. He can receive money from the trust at any time.

Ethics officials and lawmakers have long raised concerns about foreign officials staying at Trump hotels, noting that Trump supporters and industry groups regularly hold events at Trump-owned locations. Trump has also publicly announced that his Doral resort in Miami is under consideration for next year’s gathering of G-7 leaders, a potential financial boon for the property, and he has previously stayed at the Turnberry property in Scotland during an official visit to the United Kingdom.

Revenue increased by $3.1 million at Trump Turnberry in 2018, which Trump visited in July of that year, according to his most recent personal financial disclosure forms.

Compounding the Scotland scandal, Vice President Mike Pence raised eyebrows last week when he stayed at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg, Ireland, during a visit there, despite its location hundreds of miles away from his meetings in Dublin. Trump has insisted he played no role in Pence’s decision to stay there, pointing to family the vice president has in the area.

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