Trump accused of making money from military stops in Scotland
7 September 2019, 12:13 | Updated: 7 September 2019, 12:22
Donald Trump is being investigated over a potential conflict of interest involving increased US military spending at Prestwick Airport and visits to his Trump Turnberry resort.
The United States Congress has launched a probe into whether increasing expenditure at the airport and allegations of cut-price deals at Mr Trump's Ayrshire golf resort offered to visiting US military personnel is a violation of the American constitution.
Chairman of the Congress oversight committee Elijah Cummings had written to then-acting Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan to raise "serious conflict of interest concerns" about Mr Trump making money from military trips to Scotland.
The letter from June reveals concerns that US military spending at Prestwick - the closest airport to Mr Trump's resort - appears to have "increased substantially since the election".
Following reports of the airport offering "cut-price rooms for select passengers and crew", and free rounds of golf at Turnberry for US military staff and civilian air crews, Mr Trump has been warned his financial stake in the resort raises questions about the increase in airport spending.
Both Trump Turnberry and the airport have operated at significant losses in recent, with the Scottish Government deciding to put Prestwick up for sale after taking it into public ownership in 2013.
The committee is demanding to see all the financial documents from the US Department of Defence relating to Trump Turnberry, in addition to details of all communications between the two sides, but reports from the US suggest there has yet to be any response.
Mr Cummings letter states: "Two years before the 2016 election, President Trump spent hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase and renovate the Turnberry golf course in Scotland. To date, the property has continued to suffer financial losses and has not turned a profit for the president of his companies.
"The airport closest to the Trump Turnberry golf course - Glasgow Prestwick Airport - has been viewed as integral to the golf course's financial success, yet it too has lost millions of dollars every year since its purchase by the Scottish Government in 2013."
Citing Defence Logistics Agency records showing 629 fuel purchase orders worth 11 million dollars since October 2017, the letter adds: "Given the president's continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions about the president's potential receipt of US or foreign government emoluments in violation of the US Constitution and raise other serious conflict of interest concerns
"In order to fulfil its responsibilities under the Constitution, the committee is seeking information related to expenditures at both Prestwick Airport and the president's nearby Scotland golf resorts."
US news organisation CNN reported that a Democratic committee aide said the Defence Department has not co-operated with the investigation or produced any of the requested documents.