Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is now demanding an investigation into President Trump’s financial ties with foreign governments — a longtime goal of Democrats — after John Bolton’s book was leaked to news outlets.
Bolton’s book claimed that Trump tried to persuade Chinese President Xi Jinping to buy more agricultural goods from the United States to help him win re-election.
Menendez said that “raised new questions about how much the President may be profiting from his company’s relationship with the state-run Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.”
“This disturbing revelation raises new questions about other ways in which President Trump benefits personally, and financially, from the Chinese government, including through ongoing business relationships,” wrote Menendez in a letter to Trump Organization’s Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, Alan Garten.
Menendez said it has been “reported” that ICBC has paid up to $24 million to the Trump Organization over the course of a lease at Trump Tower in New York.
He claimed that there was a new leasing agreement that “surfaced” shortly after Trump “called on the Chinese government to investigate his domestic political rival” — a reference to Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The younger Biden co-founded a venture that became a partner in a new investment company backed by the state-owned Bank of China shortly after they visited China in 2013. The new firm raised more than $1 billion, as detailed by author Peter Schweizer in Profiles in Corruption.
Menendez said in a statement released shortly after news outlets reported leaks from the book: “It is important that Congress and the American public know how much money China, and any other country for that matter, is paying President Trump through his company.”
He requested information from Garten to help the committee review the president’s deals with the bank, “as well as a list of all the foreign state-owned or controlled companies in business with the Trump Organization.”
The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Bolton, former national security adviser under Trump, for going ahead with plans to publish his forthcoming book next week despite not subjecting it to a formal review for classified information.
Bolton also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush. His appointment by Trump was seen as a bad fit, due to his hawkishness in the Bush administration, but some Trump advisers assured that he knew how to handle the government bureaucracy and get things done.