Three senior Senate Democrats are seeking answers from the State Department on China’s decision to grant a trademark to the Trump Organization — a decision the senators say could violate the Constitution.
Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Dianne Feinstein of California and Jack Reed of Rhode Island wrote to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday asking for more details on the trademark, which Donald Trump had been seeking for more than a decade but wasn’t granted until soon after being elected president.
Feinstein has previously argued the trademark deal could violate the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bars government officials from accepting gifts and payments from foreign countries.
“The possibility that the government of China is seeking to win President Trump’s favor by granting him special treatment for his businesses is disturbing,” the three senators said in their letter. “As you may be aware, for more than a decade the Trump Organization sought to receive this trademark registration without success.”
A trademark for Trump’s brand in China, they write, “is a highly valuable commodity.” The senators add that Trump’s refusal to divest himself from his businesses means that he “continues to benefit directly from the financial success of the Trump Organization.”
They’re asking Tillerson to provide answers to a number of questions, including information on discussions between Trump’s presidential transition team and China.
Cardin, Feinstein and Reed are the top Democrats on the Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Armed Services Committees, respectively.