On September 24, Congress announced the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry, and in the month leading up to it, President Trump careened from one corruption scandal to another. The events spanning from August 26 to September 24, 2019 give a snapshot of just how corrupt this president is, and illustrate just how little it worries him when he or his family cash in on the presidency. Ironically, Trump claimed his actions directly leading to the impeachment inquiry–his pressure on Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Trump’s political rival–were born out of concern for corruption. If the events of this month show us one thing, it’s that corruption only worries Trump when it’s other people’s.
August 26 — President Trump announced his interest in hosting the G-7 at his Doral golf resort, praising the venue on the world stage. In an apparent advertisement for the property, he praised the conference rooms and proximity to the airport, and said that his administration had not found a venue that was “even close to competing with it” anywhere in America. Hosting the G-7 at his resort would likely violate both Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution.
September 2-4 — On Vice President Mike Pence’s state visit to Ireland, he stayed at Trump’s Doonbeg resort, which Trump still owns and profits from. Doonbeg is located literally on the other side of the country from his meetings in Dublin, so Pence had to fly back and forth across the country and spend $600k in limos alone to reach Trump’s remote resort.
September 6 — News broke that an Air Force crew stayed at Trump’s Scottish resort in Turnberry. Further reporting uncovered that it was part of a pattern of up to 40 stays, and that Prestwick Airport only advertised Trump’s property to American military crews.
September 13 — Instagram posts show that Indian Trump Organization business partners flew around 100 buyers of a Trump-branded property under development in India to the United States for a visit. They attended a reception with Donald Trump, Jr. at a Trump golf course in the Bronx, and during the visit he mentioned his intention to pursue further business in India after the end of his father’s presidency. If Trump knew of these plans, they could influence his policy decisions related to the country.
September 18 — The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates again by 0.25% after Trump spent weeks badgering the Fed for further rate cuts, which would save him and his family millions on variable rate loan payments.
September 24 — The transcript memo of Trump’s conversation with President Zelensky was released, which includes Zelensky making a point to mention that he had patronized a Trump property, saying “Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower.”
This list doesn’t include all the examples of Trump’s corruption from the month, just the ones he personally profits from. Of course, we did not need this month to show us that Trump has used the presidency to enrich himself. On August 15, CREW released a report that tallied 2,310 conflicts of interest Trump had already accumulated before this month’s avalanche of conflicts. What was already evident became glaringly obvious as the conflicts mounted, and momentum around an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s business conflicts grew. Trump may think that he can distract from his own corruption and abuse of power by finger pointing–but we won’t forget the month leading up the launch of the formal impeachment inquiry. Or the two and a half years that preceded it.