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Offbeat Menendez questions Trump, his business about letter to Panama president in hotel row

16:30  11 may  2018
16:30  11 may  2018 Source:   msn.com

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144011- menendez - questions - trump - his - business - about - letter - to - panama - president - in - hotel - row /. Experts say a letter from the Trump Organization's lawyers to Panama 's president is Trump 's 'not so subtle attempt' to use the presidency for 'personal gain'.

The Trump Organization’s lawyers wrote to Varela on March 22, in the middle of a sometimes-bizarre battle over the Trump International Hotel in Panama City. Menendez , in his queries, asked the Trump Organization’s executive vice president , George Sorial, if that was true: “Did you approve of

a man holding a sign: A man removes the word Trump off a marquee outside the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City on March 5. (Arnulfo Franco/AP)© Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

A man removes the word Trump off a marquee outside the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama City on March 5. (Arnulfo Franco/AP)

One month after lawyers for President Trump’s company asked the president of Panama to intervene in a legal fight over the Trump hotel there, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has asked both Trump and his business to explain why it happened.

In letters dated Thursday, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) asked Trump if he was aware of the letter to the Panamanian leader before it was revealed by the Associated Press on April 10. He also asked if Trump had talked to President Juan Carlos Varela or his staff since then, to assure him that the letter did not reflect U.S. government policy.

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The Trump Organization's lawyers wrote to Varela on March 22, in the middle of a sometimes-bizarre battle over the Trump International Hotel in Panama City. Menendez , in his queries, asked Trump Organization executive vice president George Sorial if that was true: "Did you approve of sending the

144011- menendez - questions - trump - his - business - about - letter - to - panama - president - in - hotel - row /. Experts say a letter from the Trump Organization's lawyers to Panama 's president is Trump 's 'not so subtle attempt' to use the presidency for 'personal gain'.

“Will you commit to President Varela ...  that there will be no repercussions from the U.S. government if he chooses to ignore your firm’s requests?” Menendez asked. Menendez’s office provided a copy of the letter to The Washington Post — along with copies of other letters sent to the Department of Commerce, the Trump Organization and the U.S. Embassy in Panama.

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The Trump Organization’s lawyers wrote to Varela on March 22, in the middle of a sometimes-bizarre battle over the Trump International Hotel in Panama City.

The majority owner of that hotel blamed Trump’s company for mismanagement, and Trump’s damaged brand for poor sales. After a days-long standoff at the hotel, he’d won a ruling from a local judge, and quickly ejected the Trump Organization as the hotel’s managers. The owner also removed the Trump name from the building’s sign, renaming the hotel the Bahia Grand.

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www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ menendez - questions - trump - his - business - about - letter - to - panama - president - in - hotel - row /2018/05/10/1e006760-54b8-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html. 1. Most corrupt presidential admin ever! Reply to this post. Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink.

Lawyers representing the Trump Organization responded to news of a controversial letter they sent Panama 's president regarding a dispute between President Donald Trump 's namesake business and a hotel owner.

But, even after the name came down, the Trump Organization was still fighting to be reinstated — saying that it had a valid contract. The Trump Organization’s lawyers wrote their letter to Varela, requesting his influence on the ongoing legal fight. They warned Varela, vaguely, that the case might have “repercussions” for Panama’s reputation as a place where American firms do business.

That was an extraordinary request: a company owned by the U.S. president asking directly for help from the government of an American ally.

When the letter to Varela was revealed, the Trump Organization said the lawyers had sent it on their own initiative, without consulting any Trump executives first.

Menendez, in his queries, asked the Trump Organization’s executive vice president, George Sorial, if that was true: “Did you approve of sending the letter?” Menendez also asked Sorial if the Trump Organization knew of any similar letters sent on its behalf to other foreign governments.

Menendez also asked the Commerce Department and the U.S. Embassy in Panama if either had communicated with the Panamanian government — or with Trump’s company — about the Trump lawyers’ letter.

Spokespeople for the Panamanian president have said he received the letter but took no action as a result.

“The case was handled by the judicial branch,” a spokeswoman for Varela wrote in a statement this week. “This is not a bilateral issue between governments, much less a political one.”

Joshua Partlow in Mexico City contributed to this report.


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