House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said Wednesday he plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process.
Engel told CNN that examining the President’s business ties is one of his priorities on the committee, one of numerous House panels now led by Democrats that will probe the President’s private businesses and finances.
“I’m concerned about – we want to make sure that policies are being made based on what’s good for the United States and not what might be good for the president personally,” Engel said. “I mean, there are a lot of people who look at the Constitution and say that it’s being violated right now.”
Asked whether he thought the Constitution was being violated, Engel said: “I think we’ll find out soon. I think it’s a possibility, yeah.”
The White House has not immediately responded to a CNN request for comment on Engel’s remarks.
Democratic lawmakers have brought a lawsuit against the President, which is still pending, over foreign payments to his businesses, accusing him of violating the emoluments clause by not seeking congressional approval to accept payments from foreign governments. The issue is something that several Democratic committee chairman have vowed to investigate.
In addition, Democrats have raised questions about the President’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia following his response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Trump has denied any financial interests in Saudi Arabia.
Engel and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California have also both expressed interest in seeking the testimony of the interpreters who were present for Trump’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The staffs of the two committees met last week to discuss their next steps and whether issue subpoenas.
Engel said that his committee is organizing next week, which will allow it to begin holding hearings. Engel said that his first hearing will examine US policy and the civil war in Yemen.
“The first hearing that we’re going to have is going to be on US policy in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen, everything to do with that,” Engel said.