US government watchdog to review trips to Mar-a-Lago and Trump hotel earnings

© Reuters. US President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago Estate in Palm Beach viewed from West Palm Beach

By Julia Harte

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. government watchdog has agreed to review how classified information is kept secure at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, the agency said Monday, after Democratic lawmakers they raised concerns about the issue last month.

The Government Accountability Office review will examine whether Secret Service agents subject Mar-a-Lago guests to any security checks and will assess the expenses incurred by government employees traveling with Trump to Mar-a- Lago, according to a letter the agency sent to lawmakers on Friday.

The GAO will also verify whether Trump has made any payments to the United States Treasury from the proceeds at his hotels, the letter said. Trump’s attorney pledged at a press conference on January 11 to donate the proceeds of the Trump Hotel from foreign governments to the Treasury.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump’s handling of US security information in Mar-a-Lago came under congressional scrutiny in February after photos taken by private guests in the club’s public dining room showed Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. reviewing documents after the launch of a North Korean missile.

The White House later denied that there was classified material in the dining room.

Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, said Monday that the GAO could conduct an “independent review” of how Trump spends his weekends at the resort, which the Republican president has called your “Winter White House“.

In a February 16 letter, Cummings and Democratic Senators Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, and Sheldon Whitehouse asked the GAO to assess whether Trump and his staff had violated security protocol by receiving foreign dignitaries and handling classified information at the resort. from Florida.

Udall said Monday that the American people “deserved to know who has access to the president, how much it costs to protect him, and whether the Trump Organization is benefiting from that protection.”

He introduced a bill Friday that would require the White House to release records of people meeting with Trump there and elsewhere.

GAO is expected to begin the review in a few months.

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