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Politics State Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials

10:45  13 october  2021
10:45  13 october  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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a sign on the side of a building: State Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials © Getty Images State Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials

The State Department Office of Inspector General is investigating whether aides to former President Trump took gifts meant for foreign officials, according to multiple reports.

The New York Times first reported on Monday that the watchdog is probing allegations that aides took thousands of dollars worth of gift bags that were meant for leaders attending the Group of Seven summit.

The summit was supposed to take place last year in June at Camp David, but the White House canceled it amid the coronavirus pandemic in favor of a virtual summit.

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The gift bags contained leather portfolios, pewter trays and marble trinket boxes that had either the presidential seal or Trump's signature, according to the Times.

The reporting was confirmed by NBC News on Tuesday.

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill that the agency "takes seriously its role in reporting the disposition of certain gifts received by U.S. Government employees. These gifts are the property of the American people and must be accounted for accurately."

"With that responsibility in mind, we conduct the necessary due diligence before filing the required reports with the Federal Register," the spokesperson continued. "As we noted in the most recent report, we are investigating the whereabouts of gifts that are unaccounted for and the circumstances that led to their disappearance."

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The State Department's inspector general had no comment when reached by The Hill.

Politico reported in August that at least 20 types of gifts meant for foreign officials were missing from the department's vault.

This report came after State revealed in a Federal Register filing that a whiskey bottle given to then-Secretary Mike Pompeo from the Japanese government in 2019 was missing. The bottle was estimated to be worth $5,800.

At the time, Pompeo's attorney told The Hill that Pompeo did not recall receiving the bottle and was unaware that the inspector general was investigating.

The internal watchdog launched a probe into the missing bottle, The New York Times reported.

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