This Week in Conflicts: President Trump Promotes His Golf Course, Questions Over Security Clearances and the House Judiciary Investigation


Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore)

This week, in a tweet President Donald Trump, promoted his Scottish golf course, the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the president has started and more questions over the validity of how Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner obtained their security clearances.

President Donald J. Trump is greeted by Maj. Gen. John K. McMullen, Air Combat Command vice commander, Col. Caroline Miller, 633rd Air Base Wing commander, and Col. Peter Fesler, 1st Fighter Wing commander at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 2, 2017. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Areca T. Bell)

House Judiciary Investigation

ABC News is reporting, the House Judiciary Committee has begun an investigation into President Trump.

The investigation is into the “alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates, and members of his Administration,” according to a press release from the committee. Documents were sent to 81 “agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation.”

According to ABC News, the White House confirmed they had received the committee’s letter. During a press conference, when asked if he was going to cooperate with the investigation, President Trump said, “I cooperate all the time with everybody. And you know the beautiful thing: no collusion. It is all a hoax. You’re going to learn about that as you get older. It’s a political hoax, there’s no collusion.”

When ABC News asked the House Judiciary Chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, if he thinks President Trump obstructed justice, he answered, “yes, I do.” He added that impeachment was “a long way down the road” though.


Screenshot of President Trump’s tweet about his golf course in Scotland.

Trump Promotes Scottish Golf Course

According to Buzzfeed, President Trump “used Twitter to promote one of his business’s golf courses and linked it to US foreign policy, prompting ethics criticisms.”

The president retweeted and commented on a tweet from the Trump Organization Twitter account that discussed how well done the landscape at Trump’s golf course and resort in Aberdeen, Scotland was.

“Very proud of perhaps the greatest golf course anywhere in the world,” he wrote. “Also, furthers U.K. relationship!”

The tweet about Trump International, Scotland is now raising ethical concerns.

“This is shameless, corrupt and repugnant presidential profiteering,“ Walter Shaub, former director of the Office of Government Ethics tweeted in response. As Buzzfeed reports, Shaub resigned from the ethics office in 2017 “after months of clashing with Trump’s administration over ethical concerns, including the president’s refusal to divest his businesses.”

Trump International Hotel, Washington, DC USA

Mergers & Influence

News organizations are reporting on how President Trump weighed in on the AT&T and Time Warner merger and that T-Mobile admitted to spending thousands of dollars at the president’s Washington, D.C. hotel while it waits for government approval of a merger with Sprint.

According to Vox, “T-Mobile acknowledges that executives have spent $195,000 at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, since the company’s proposed merger with Sprint was announced in April 2018 — but is “confident” it’s not a big deal. The company also insists lining the Trump family’s pockets shouldn’t affect whether the $26 billion deal is ultimately approved by the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission.”

CNN is reporting, President Trump “personally asked a top White House aide to make sure the Justice Department stopped AT&T from purchasing Time Warner.”


Kushner and Trump at an event in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 2017. (Image Credit: Wikimedia Ryan Johnson)

Security Clearance Oversight

Last week there were questions over how Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law received his security clearance despite concerns raised by intelligence officials. This week, there CNN is reporting, “President Donald Trump pressured his then-chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant his daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump a security clearance against their recommendations.”

President Trump has “legal authority to grant clearances,” CNN reports but “most instances are left up to the White House personnel security office, which determines whether a staffer should be granted one after the FBI has conducted a background check.”

According to Fortune, the White House “is refusing to provide information regarding alleged security clearance abuses to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, increasing the chance House Democrats will subpoena the documents.”

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.