President Trump on Monday said he had "NOTHING TO DO" with the Air Force allowing crews to stay at his luxury resort in Scotland during refueling stops, a practice now under review by the military branch.
"While initial reviews indicate that aircrew transiting through Scotland adhered to all guidance and procedures, we understand that U.S. Service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable", the Air Force said in a statement on Sunday, according to CNN.
Meanwhile the Democratic heads of three other House committees announced an investigation into alleged efforts by President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government for their own political ends, including by withholding United States security assistance. "Every time you find a person landing in an airplane within 500 miles of something I own - Mike Pence, as an example - his family lives in, he actually told me he stayed there many years ago".
Speaking to reporters at the White House this evening, Mr Trump referred to Mike Pence's family links to Doonbeg and the fact that the US Vice President had previously stayed at the hotel years ago, before it was owned by the Trump Organisation.
Donald Trump has insisted he knew nothing about USA military crew stopping over at his Turnberry resort in Scotland at taxpayers' expense amid a Congress investigation into a potential conflict of interest.
The US constitution bars government officials, including the president, from receiving financial benefits known as emoluments from foreign or domestic governments, without Congress approval. Those numbers have increased in recent years as more aircraft have made stops at the airport.
But Pence spokesman Marc Short said Trump suggested the veep stay at the resort, which is 180 miles from Dublin, where Pence attended the meetings.
Air Force layovers in Scotland reportedly have tripled since 2015 and overnight stays by crews have reportedly increased five-fold. The President sought to downplay the news Monday in a tweet denying any involvement in the controversy.
According to the New York Times, "the Defense Department signed an agreement with the Prestwick airport to serve as a refueling location for military flights in August 2016, during the final months of the Obama administration". According to a letterthe panel sent to the Pentagon in June, the military has spent $11 million on fuel at the Prestwick Airport - the closest airport to Trump Turnberry - since October 2017, fuel that would be cheaper if purchased at a USA military base. "I think that it was a suggestion", said Short.
While last week was dominated by criticism of Vice President Mike Pence staying at a Trump property in Ireland, this weekend, all eyes turned to reports that an Air National Guard crew stopped at Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland on their way to bringing medical supplies to Kuwait. At least, once one gets past the fact that the President of the United States owns hundreds of public-facing properties around the world, has refused to follow the convention of divesting himself of them, and thus raises huge questions of propriety whenever he, any government employee, or person having business with the U.S. government stays there. We use over a dozen local hotels, including Trump Turnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make.