>> It's symbol of Donald Trump's success in real estate in the heart of Washington. Now the Trump International Hotel is about to become a major headache for the president. I'm Andy Sullivan in front of Trump's landmark hotel just blocks from the White House. For Trump's supporters, it's a prime gathering spot.
For Democrats, it's a troubling example of the many potential conflicts of interest swirling around this presidency. They say this property will be a major focus of their investigations when they take control of the House of Representatives next year. Trump already battling multiple lawsuits charging that his ownership of the hotel violates a clause in the constitution that says presidents can't take payments from other governments.
Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine speaking last year.>> We know that foreign governments are spending money there in order to curry favor with the president of the United States.>> Kuwait, the Philippines, Malaysia are among the foreign governments spending money at the hotel since Trump won the presidency, according to press accounts.
Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 at the property as part of a lobbying campaign around the time of Trump's election. Trump also facing questions about whether he is trying to keep competitors out of the neighborhood. Emails released earlier this year suggesting he was involved in a decision to rebuild the FBI's headquarters at its current location a block away from his hotel, cancelling plans to move to the suburbs.
Critics say that decision could drive up the new headquarters' construction costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. The decision also prevents rival developers from potentially building a competing hotel on the site. The government's landlord, General Services Administration's head Emily Murphy says Trump wasn't involved. But an internal watchdog found she misled lawmakers when she was asked about it earlier this year.
The Trump Hotel is just one item on a long list of things that Democrats plan to investigate. Hush money payments to alleged paramores, Trump's ties to Russia, his threats against news outlets and other organizations he doesn't like. And Democrats are certain to zero in on Trump's real estate empire.
You may not see them checking in to the Trump International Hotel, but expect to see them checking it out.