The House Oversight committee is investigating whether President Trump has been bolstering his luxury golf resort in Scotland with the defense department after learning that the military spent $11million on refueling at its closest airport and air force guards spent the night there during a routine mission to the Middle East.
Politico reported on Saturday that the investigation began in April, when members of the committee learned about the overnight stop and fuel stops.
Since October 2017, the defense department has logged 629 requests for fuel purchases at Prestwick Airport – the tiny airport which is closest to Turnberry, Trump’s money-losing resort.
In total, the purchases cost $11million and it marks a ‘substantial’ increase in the amount US military has spent at the airport since Trump took office.
In previous years, it is reported, they would stop at airbases in Europe, where the fuel is cheaper. The team could have stopped at Lakenheath Airbase, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe’s only F-15 fighter wing, which is 380 miles away.
As the news emerged on Saturday, democrats including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for the president to be impeached.
President Trump at Turnberry, his luxury golf resort in Scotland, in June 2016. The House Oversight committee is investigating military spending at the resort and at the closest airport .
The cover of the letter that was sent to the Pentagon in June demanding answers about the trip and the military’s spending in Scotland
Coupled with the fuel purchases is an overnight stay at Turnberry in spring when five air force guards spent the night there on their way to Kuwait.
The resort is 20 miles from the airport, where the five-man team from the 176th maintenance squadron refueled.
At around $160-a-night, the five star hotel is also considerably more expensive than the dozens of alternatives which are both closer to the airport and independent from the Trump family.
According to senior Democrats who spoke anonymously to Politico about the probe, the air force guards were shocked by the extravagant choice in hotel.
Typically, military bosses opt for cheaper options like Marriott or Hilton.
Turnberry is so much more luxurious than their normal overnight stops that the troops’ daily allowance for meals was not enough to cover food at the resort.
It remains unclear how much the military paid for the rooms the five military personnel stayed in and, according to Politico, the Pentagon has ignored requests for the information.
‘The Defense Department has not produced a single document in this investigation.
‘The committee will be forced to consider alternative steps if the Pentagon does not begin complying voluntarily in the coming days,’ said one democrat.
At $163-a-night on average, the hotel is considerably more expensive than the many alternatives that are closer to Prestwick Airport, where the air force guards refueled
Prestwick Airport in Glasgow is a tiny airport that happens to be the closest one to Turnberry. It is a small operation and is losing money, so much so that it is now being sold off by the Scottish government. Despite its problems, the US military has spent $11million refueling there since October 2017 and the House Committee says it is ‘substantially more’ than was spent before Trump took office
The hotel is more than 300 miles from Lakenheath Airbase, where the US Air Force has a presence
The committee’s concern is compounded by the fact that despite Prestwick Airport losing money since 2013 and now being sold by the Scottish government, the amount of money the US military is spending there has increased.
‘Despite Prestwick Airport’s struggling operations, US military expenditure at the airport appears to have increased substantially since the election,’ wrote chairmen Elijah Cummings and Jamie Raskin in a June request to the Pentagon for information.
Prestwick Airport has also offered discounted rooms at Turnberry to commercial airline crew and passengers and has touted free rounds of golf to US veterans.
The committee chairmen said in their letter that the scenario points to a major conflict in interest.
Firebrand Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called for Trump to be impeached on Saturday
‘Given the President’s continued financial stake in his Scotland golf courses, these reports raise questions about his potential receipt of US or foreign government emoluments in violation of the U.S. constitution and raise other serious conflict of interest concerns,’ they said.
Trump bought Turnberry in 2014 for close to $44million.
He made the transaction under the company Golf Recreation Scotland and took out $146million in loans from Trump’s personal trust in New York to pay for them.
When he took office, the president signed over ownership of the Trump Organization to his family.Part of the Trump Organization is Trump Hotels, which Turnberry belongs to.