/Lawmakers threaten to subpoena Pentagon over Turnberry records

Lawmakers threaten to subpoena Pentagon over Turnberry records

Elijah Cummings

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Oversight Democrats are threatening to subpoena the Defense Department if it doesn’t respond to questions regarding U.S. military members staying in properties owned by President Donald Trump, the lawmakers said Tuesday.

POLITICO reported Friday that the House Oversight Committee had sent a letter to the Pentagon on June 21 requesting information on the stops and noting that the Defense Department had spent $11 million on fuel at Prestwick Airport in Scotland, about 20 miles from Trump’s Turnberry resort.

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Since last year, more than 60 U.S. Air Force personnel have refueled at the airport and stayed at Turnberry, even though hotels closer to the airport are available.

The Pentagon has yet to respond to the June letter, but the Air Force said on Sunday night that it was reviewing procedures for airport stops and accommodations worldwide after the POLITICO report. The service added that U.S. personnel have flown to the airport for years and that all travel arrangements to Turnberry were made through appropriate channels.

“Although the Department seems to have been driven to respond to recent press reports, the Committee does not understand why the Department has delayed responding to this request for so long without any legitimate explanation,” Maryland Democratic Reps. Elijah Cummings and Jamie Raskin wrote in the letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “If the Department does not begin producing the requested documents this week, the Committee will be forced to consider alternative measures to compel compliance, including a subpoena.”

Trump said Monday that he was not involved in decisions to refuel U.S. military planes at Prestwick and have service members stay at Turnberry. He said he doesn’t own the airport and has “nothing to do with” it, despite the fact that the Trump Organization announced an “official partnership” with the airport five years ago.

“President Trump and his company have had significant, direct, and detailed interactions with Prestwick Airport for years, including the President proclaiming that he was ‘thrilled to be partnering’ with the airport, the President personally trying to boost passenger traffic at the airport, and the Trump Organization negotiating room rates directly with the airport,” Cummings and Raskin wrote. “These and other actions by the President and his company reflect how critical this airport is to his financial bottom-line.”

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