Beyer On IG Revelations Of Trump’s Involvement In FBI Headquarters Decision: “This Looks Like A Cover-Up”
This week the Inspector General (IG) of the General Services Investigation (GSA) issued a report which found that, despite previous denials, President Trump was personally involved in the decision to overturn years of planning for the relocation of the FBI headquarters. That decision has a significant impact on Trump’s financial interests, given the proximity of the current headquarters to the Trump International Hotel.
The report also found that Administration officials misled Congress and refused to reveal to investigators the nature of Trump’s involvement in that decision. Rep. Don Beyer issued the following statement:
“Last year, the Trump Administration inexplicably overturned years of work to move the FBI out of its structurally deficient headquarters and into a new location, wasting thousands of staff hours and millions of taxpayer dollars. The Inspector General’s report makes it clear that Trump was personally involved in this decision, raising the specter of major mismanagement of a multi-billion-dollar federal procurement project motivated by the President’s business interests.
The report also revealed that officials who were present or aware of these discussions repeatedly misled Members of Congress about the President’s involvement. Further, Administration officials say they were told by the White House Counsel’s office ‘not to disclose any statements made by the President.’ This looks like a cover-up.
Given the findings in the IG’s report and the President’s conflicts of interest, evidence of Trump’s culture of corruption is staring us in the face. Congress must immediately launch a full investigation to establish what happened with the FBI headquarters project and what influence the President exerted. Given the IG report’s finding that Administration officials lowballed Congress on the costs of the project and the President’s conflicts of interest, GSA and FBI should return to the original plan to build a fully consolidated FBI headquarters in the region.”
The IG report, requested and subsequently released by Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), reviewed GSA’s sudden decision to overturn years of planning for a suburban location and instead demolish the current FBI headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., and build a new headquarters at the same location.
That decision was made, according to the report, after two meetings at the White House on January 24, 2018, one of which involved President Trump. Officials who took part in or were aware of those meetings were asked several times in House and Senate hearings whether the President had been a party to any discussions regarding the future of the FBI headquarters, and gave what the IG report repeatedly characterizes as a “misleading impression” by failing to answer in the affirmative.
The report also found that the GSA had significantly underestimated the cost of the rebuilding project to Congress by excluding key considerations in its analysis, which allowed the Administration to project that its plan would be less costly than the previous plan to build a new headquarters, when the opposite was true.