Air Force reviews hotel choices after Trump resort stay

Congress investigating Trump over US military trips to Scotland

The Maine National Guard is confirming that a unit of the air guard's refueling wing a year ago stopped at a Scottish airport and stayed at President Trump's nearby luxury resort. Trump opened the Trump International Hotel shortly before he was elected in November 2016 and it has become a favored lodging and event space for some foreign and state officials visiting the USA capital.

"While initial reviews indicate that aircrew transiting through Scotland adhered to all guidance and procedures, we understand that U.S. Service members lodging at higher-end accommodations, even if within government rates, might be allowable but not advisable", Thomas said.

Meanwhile the Democratic heads of three other House committees announced an investigation into alleged efforts by President Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani to pressure the Ukrainian government for their own political ends, including by withholding USA security assistance.

The US House Oversight Committee has actually been probing why the crew on the military transport plane made the stop at the Trump resort since April, Politico reported, adding that it is part of a broader investigation into US military expenditures relating to Trump's Scottish property.

The president purchased the financially-struggling golf course on the west coast of Scotland in 2014, and he has never turned a profit on his investment.

The New York Times reported that as Mr. Trump began his eventually successful bid for the White House, the "Pentagon chose to ramp up its use of that same airport to refuel Air Force flights and gave the local airport authority the job of helping to find accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight".

President Donald Trump has claimed to have had no role in U.S. Air Force members staying at his Turnberry hotel during stopovers. The property lost $4.5 million in 2017, but revenue went up $3 million in 2018. From 95 stopovers in 2015, including 40 overnight stays, the number jumped to 257 a year ago, including 208 overnight stays.

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Lt. Gen. Jon T. Thomas, the deputy commander of the Air Force Air Mobility Command, said in an interview on Monday that the rising number of military stopovers at Prestwick was entirely based on operational demands, as the airport is in a convenient location, has 24-hour operations and offers ample aircraft parking, among other advantages.

The Air Force defended the stop in Glasgow on the way to Kuwait on Saturday and offered additional details about the trip, which took place from March 13 to March 19.

"What wasn't routine was where the crew stopped along the way: President Donald Trump's Turnberry resort, about 50 miles outside Glasgow, Scotland".

At least 60 Air Force servicemembers reportedly stayed at the President's resort in Scotland on at least four separate occasions, despite dozens of hotels closer to the airport used.

The eight-page document-dated September 10 and uploaded to the House Oversight Committee website on Tuesday morning-also suggests the housing of U.S. military personnel at President Trump's property in Scotland constitutes an "apparent violation of the Domestic Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution".

That posed logistical challenges, as the resort is 180 miles away from Dublin, where Pence met the taoiseach, Leo Varadkar.

Similar questions have been raised over the ethics of Pence and his entourage staying at the Trump family's Doonbeg golf resort in Ireland this month while on an official visit to the country.

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