U.S. President Donald Trump’s business dealings in Turkey are being questioned by Senate Democrats, as the President is currently under bipartisan fire over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria.
The senators are asking the Trump Organization for details on how much it collects in business dealings from Turkey, NBC News reported on Oct. 22.
In a letter sent to Trump’s company on Oct. 22, four senators — Tom Udall of New Mexico, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — said they need information regarding the company’s licensing agreement for Trump Towers in Istanbul to understand whether the president’s foreign policy decisions “are being influenced by potential conflicts of interest.”
Trump’s moves to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria at Turkey’s request and to “delay action” in a money laundering case involving Turkish Halkbank are among the decisions the four Democratic lawmakers cite.
The case into Halkbank first became public in 2016 with the arrest in Miami of Reza Zarrab, a shady Turkish-Iranian gold trader accused of playing a central role in the sanctions evasion scheme.
Zarrab, before pleading guilty, hired Rudy Giuliani, a longtime associate of Trump, to try to negotiate a deal between the U.S. and Turkish governments to secure his release.
Giuliani attempted to broker a diplomatic deal with Turkey to withdraw Zarrab from U.S. custody, trying to swap him for an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was in Turkish custody.
Then, at Giuliani’s urging, Trump asked then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the second half of 2017 to press the Justice Department to drop its case against Zarrab, Bloomberg News reported two weeks ago.
Senate Democrats’ letter notes that Trump himself acknowledged he could have “a little conflict of interest” when it comes to Turkey in a 2015 interview, and that the Trump Organization has pulled in between $1.2 million in royalties from the Trump Towers project since Trump took office.
The letter seeks answers about how much the company has made from its licensing agreement for Trump Towers, whether the Turkish government has the power to revoke the license, and whether there have been any communications between the Trump Organization and the Turkish government about U.S.-Turkey government relations.
The letter asks for a response by Nov. 12. It comes one day after NBC News reported that House Democrats are zeroing in on the framework of an “abuse of power” narrative for their impeachment case against the president.