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Trump financial disclosure reveals revenue dips at Mar-a-Lago, mixed results at other businesses

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By Dareh Gregorian and Jonathan Allen

He says he’s created “maybe the best economy we’ve had in the history of our country,” but the Trump presidency has been taking a modest economic toll on his businesses, according to annual financial disclosure forms released Thursday.

Financial disclosure forms made public by the Office of Government Ethics show overall income from Trump’s businesses in 2018 was roughly in line with the revenue he raked in in 2017 — but some of them took some big hits.

While Trump reported making over $17 million in “management fees and other contract payments” from his Trump International Hotels Management LLC in New York in 2017, he made just $1.5 million in fees there in 2018, the filing shows.

His Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, which Trump refers to as “the winter White House,” took in nearly $23 million in revenue, a drop of more than $2 million from the prior year.

The Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, on April 21, 2019.Al Drago / Reuters file

While Trump has refused to publicly release his tax returns as other presidents have voluntarily done for decades, he is legally required to file a financial disclosure form with the OGE annually. The reports show revenue, not profits, and some of the figures are given in ranges, showing only a partial picture of his finances.

But the financial news wasn’t all bad for Trump, who told reporters in November that “being president has cost me a fortune, and that’s okay with me. I knew that a long time ago. But being president has cost me a fortune — a tremendous fortune like you’ve never seen before.”

While the Washington Post, citing documents obtained from Freedom of Information Act, reported earlier this week that business at Trump’s Doral resort in Florida was in a steep decline, the disclosure forms show the resort still pulled in $75 million in 2018, about $1 million more in revenue than the year before.

The Trump National Doral clubhouse in Doral, Fla.Wilfredo Lee / AP file

Trump Turnberry, which he visited last year during his summer trip to England, Scotland, Belgium and Finland, saw a rise of about $3 million in income, from $20.4 million to $23.4 million.

His “Summer White House” in Bedminster, N.J, made $15.7 million in revenue, up from $15.1 million in 2017.

Revenue from his other golf clubs in Florida and Scotland were fairly static from the year before — pulling in over $12 million from the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach and over $3 million from Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen.

He also made over $13 million from the sale of his stake in Starrett City, a housing complex in New York.

When Trump took office, he refused to fully divest from his global business, a break with presidential tradition. Instead, he put his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior executive. Trump can take back control of the trust at any time, and he’s allowed to withdraw cash from it.

A key part of the report released last year was a footnote listing a reimbursement of as much as $250,000 to Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen. Cohen, who is serving three years in prison for campaign finance violations among other crimes, admitted paying hush money during the presidential campaign to silence Stormy Daniels, the porn actress who alleges she had sex with Trump. The president has denied that he had an affair.

Associated Press contributed.

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Pelosi blasts White House letter rejecting Congress’ demands: ‘A joke’

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By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., blasted the White House Thursday for asserting that it would not comply with a range of requests from the House Judiciary Committee, arguing that Congress needs certain information to perform its oversight duties and guide any moves toward impeachment.

“The letter that came from the White House yesterday was completely outrageous,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference, referring to the letter White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent to Judiciary Committee Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. on Wednesday.

She added, “That letter that came from the White House was a joke, beneath the dignity of the presidency of the United States, in defiance of our Constitution. Shame on them.”

Pelosi was responding to a question from NBC News’ Kasie Hunt, who asked for her reaction to Nadler telling reports Thursday morning that President Donald Trump’s “posture now is making it impossible to rule out impeachment or anything else.”

Pelosi also pushed backed on the argument Cipollone outline in his letter — that Congress can’t ask any questions of the administration unless it has a legislative purpose.

“One of the purposes that the Constitution spells out for investigation is impeachment,” Pelosi said. “And you can say — and the courts would respect it if you said — we need this information to carry out our oversight responsibilities and among them is impeachment. It doesn’t mean you’re on an impeachment path, but it means if you had the information, you might.”

The speaker was pressed about the use of “inherent contempt” in which Congress would fine or jail Trump administration officials who refuse to comply with subpoenas.

“That is a path,” she said, but declined to say whether she supports that option.

In his letter, Cipollone called on Nadler to “discontinue” his committee’s probes into the president, arguing that they are embarking on a “duplicative investigation” by “issuing subpoenas to replow the same ground the Special Counsel has already covered.”

Last week, the Judiciary panel voted to recommend to the House that it should hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with Nadler’s subpoena for the full unredacted Mueller report and its underlying documents. Pelosi has suggested that she would combine a floor vote to hold Barr in contempt with other possible contempt citations involving Trump officials.

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Jimmy Carter released from hospital after breaking hip

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By Associated Press

ATLANTA — Former President Jimmy Carter plans to teach Sunday school this weekend just days after undergoing surgery for a broken hip, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Carter, 94, was released Thursday morning from a Georgia hospital after getting a hip replacement. He plans to continue recuperating at his home in rural Plains, said a statement from Carter spokeswoman Deanna Congileo.

Carter’s wife, Rosalynn Carter, went home with her husband after she was admitted to the hospital Wednesday for observation and testing after she “felt faint,” Congileo said.

“Both President and Mrs. Carter extend their thanks to the many people who sent well wishes the past few days,” Congileo’s statement said.

Jimmy Carter suffered a broken hip Monday as he was leaving to go turkey hunting. Congileo said he will undergo physical therapy as part of his recovery.

She said Carter also plans to teach his regular Sunday school class this weekend at Marantha Baptist Church in Plains.

Carter became the longest-lived president in U.S. history in March when his age surpassed that of former President George H.W. Bush, who died Nov. 30 at the age of 94 years, 171 days.

Nearly four years have passed since Carter revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer. Carter said in August 2015 he had melanoma that had spread to his liver and brain. He received treatment for seven months until scans showed no sign of the disease.

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