Democrats Investigate Whiskey Gate
A House committee on Tuesday announced an investigation into former President Donald Trump over his administration’s apparent failure to properly record gifts from foreign government officials as required by law.
House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., sent a letter Monday to the National Archives seeking documents about “mismanaged gifts” received from foreign government officials while Trump was in office. She said the committee’s concerns stem from information recently provided by the State Department.
“These revelations raise concerns about the potential for undue influence over former President Trump by foreign governments,” Maloney wrote.
The committee said that in a briefing last month on the tracking and reporting process for White House gifts, the State Department informed it of “serious deficiencies in that process during the Trump Administration.”
CNN first reported on the investigation.
In April, the State Department said missing data from the White House prevented it from compiling a satisfactory accounting of gifts foreign governments presented to Trump and other U.S. officials in 2020.
Maloney said in her letter that the Trump administration’s failed tabulation of gifts may have threatened U.S. national security and foreign policy interests and may have violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits the president from keeping gifts for personal use if they exceed the “minimal value,” which is currently $415.
The gifts included a bottle of whiskey worth $5,800, which Japanese officials gave then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before it mysteriously vanished. Curren
It was a $6,000 bottle of Suntory Hibiki whisky, which had been aged for 30 years. This bottle today valued at over 12k
The Original Report
The State Department is investigating the whereabouts of a $5,800 bottle of whiskey the Japanese government gave to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2019, according to two people briefed on the inquiry and a document made public on Wednesday.
It was unclear whether Mr. Pompeo ever received the gift, as he was traveling in Saudi Arabia on June 24, 2019, the day that Japanese officials gave it to the State Department, according to a department filing on Wednesday in the Federal Register documenting gifts that senior American officials received in 2019. Such officials are often insulated by staff members who receive gifts and messages from them.
The department also took the unusual step of noting that the whereabouts of the whiskey is unknown. Similar filings over the past two decades make no mention of any similar investigations.
“The department is looking into the matter and has an ongoing inquiry,” the filing said.
Mr. Pompeo, through his lawyer William A. Burck, said he had no recollection of receiving the bottle of whiskey, and did not have any knowledge of what happened to it or that there was a department inquiry into its whereabouts.
“He has no idea what the disposition was of this bottle of whiskey,” Mr. Burck said.
That a Trump official never received a gift.