Two gifts given to former US president Donald Trump and his family by foreign nations have been reported missing, while more than 100 foreign gifts, including those from India, worth a total of nearly $300,000 were not disclosed to the State Department in violation of federal law, according to a Washington Post report on Friday.
A 15-page report investigation into Trump’s failure to disclose gifts from foreign government officials while in office by the House Oversight Committee found that the Trump family failed to report dozens of gifts from countries that are not US allies or have a “complicated relationship” with Washington. “That includes 16 gifts from Saudi Arabia worth more than $48,000, 17 gifts from India worth over $17,000, and at least 5 gifts from China. Trump reported zero gifts entirely the final year of his presidency, according to the report, while he reported some of the gifts received in previous years,” the Washington Post report noted.
The two missing gifts are a life-size painting of Trump from the president of Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele ahead of the 2020 election and golf clubs worth more than $7,000 that Trump received from Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe during visits to the Trump International Golf Club and Kasumigaeski Country Club in 2017 and 2018.
Details of the painting were found in an email by US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson to Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner’s assistant, Avi Berkowitz.
The newspaper, citing former chief of staff John F Kelly and other aides, stated that Trump told advisers that the gifts given to him during the presidency were his and did not belong to the federal government.
The 100 gifts identified by the House Oversight Committee are now in the custody of the National Archives or the federal government.
It is unclear whether the committee will make a criminal referral to the Department of Justice regarding the findings as the investigation was based on a review of presidential records and those not memorialized in written communications citing sources.
Congressman Jamie Raskin said it is likely that the number of gifts could be a lot more, given that none of them was reported. “We’ve been able to piece all of this together through independent sources, but there could be a lot more given that none of these gifts has been reported, and we’ve only found out about them through different kinds of investigative work and accidents,” he said.
‘Effects on US Foreign Policy’
The report has raised concerns over whether foreign governments used the unreported gifts to influence US policy positions toward those countries.
The Post report said Raskin issued a letter to the State Department on Friday, requesting documents and communications related to foreign gifts and Trump and his family, including “any references to effects on US foreign policy.”
The White House Gifts Unit is responsible for recording all domestic and foreign gifts and their valuation that the president and first family receive. A gift can be retained with the option of paying full value under the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act. The 1966 law prohibits officials from personally keeping gifts from foreign entities worth more than $415.
While records of the annual list of all gifts from a foreign government to a federal employee are published by the State Department, in 2021, White House officials failed to provide a list of foreign gifts Trump received before leaving office. The department did not have the necessary data to compile a complete 2020 report.
Discrepancies in Accounting of Gifts
The report also found discrepancies in the formal accounting of gifts, including the Trump family receiving ten gifts from Saudi Arabia in 2017, two gifts from the country in 2018, zero gifts in 2019 and one gift in 2020. In its probe, the committee identified 16 additional gifts from Saudi Arabia that had not been reported, worth more than $45,000 in total.
It also found Jared Kushner purchased and retained five gifts from the Saudis, including a $24,000 dagger and sheath given to him by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and two sword sets worth $8,800.
While there are no documents on Trump purchasing any of the foreign gifts on record, his other family members had legally purchased gifts. First lady Melania Trump sought to “recall from NARA diamond earrings given by the Czech Republic, valued at $470, but wanted to avoid public disclosure of the item,” the report stated.
Trump’s first daughter Ivanka Trump also received gifts such as a mosaic portrait of her in mother-of-pearl from Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2017 and a $2,450 chunky gold bracelet from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020, it read.
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