Newly released government emails show President Donald Trump played a larger role than previously known in halting plans to relocate the FBI’s headquarters.
The proposal was to move the bureau’s main building from Washington, D.C., to the suburbs.
The decision to keep the FBI’s headquarters where they are now could economically help Trump, who owns a hotel just blocks from the bureau’s current offices.
Congressional Democrats released the documents on Thursday in a letter to General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. In it, lawmakers implied Murphy lied to the House about Trump’s role in the proposal regarding the FBI.
In August, the Office of the Inspector General released a report that stated Trump attended a series of meetings about the possible next location of the bureau’s offices.
SLIDESHOW: DONALD TRUMP’S 30 CRAZIEST TWEETS
“New documents provided to the Oversight Committee indicate that President Trump met personally with you, the FBI, and White House officials on January 24, 2018, where he was directly involved with the decision to abandon the long-term relocation plan and instead move ahead with the more expensive proposal to construct a new building on the same site, and thereby prevent Trump Hotel competitors from acquiring the land,” read the letter from Democrats to Murphy. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, signed off on the letter, as did other high-ranking members of the party.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNN in a statement that congressional Democrats are incorrect in their assertions.
“The President wanted to save the government money and also the FBI leadership did not want to move its headquarters,” said Sanders.
According to CNN, the inspector general determined after a financial analysis that moving the FBI’s headquarters would be a lower-cost option than building an entirely new set of offices in downtown Washington.
Several Democrats on the House Oversight Committee also reportedly noted that Trump was strongly interested in the FBI building being relocated years before he became president. Lawmakers added that since Trump was prohibited from investing in the development after he took office last year, he undertook serious efforts to make sure no other developer purchased the property and converted it in order to create competition with his nearby hotel.