The US Justice Department has issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization for records related to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour, which former President Donald Trump hosted twice in 2022 and is slated to host again in 2023.
Trump initially welcomed the tournament to his Bedminster, New Jersey course in July 2022, followed by a competition at his Doral, Florida course in October of the same year.
2022 golf events sparked outrage over Trump-Saudi ties
The 2022 events sparked protests from the relatives of 9/11 victims, who expressed anger over Trump’s close ties with the Saudi leadership.
In a letter, the group conveyed their “deep pain and anger” regarding Trump’s decision to host the Saudis, given Saudi Arabia’s role in the 2001 attacks.
Exact nature of the subpoena is unknown
The New York Times reported the subpoenaing of the Trump Organization on Thursday. Although the exact nature of the subpoena remains unclear, the report suggests that investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s family business.
This development coincides with the revelation that a Mar-a-Lago employee is assisting federal investigators in probing whether the former president concealed documents at his Florida estate.
Established in 2021, LIV Golf is set to be played at Trump’s Washington DC course from May 26 to 28 in, 2023.
It will return to Bedminster from August 11 to 13 and Doral from October 20 to 22.
Saudi-run golf tournament has polarized golfing community
Trump’s decision to host the Saudi-run tournament has polarized the golfing community. With their seemingly limitless resources, the Saudis have attracted some of the world’s top players away from the PGA Tour.
Players who choose to participate argue that the PGA has disrespected them, while those who refuse the Saudi funding, such as Tiger Woods, believe the PGA should be preserved as the essence of the sport.
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Saudi’s are ‘good people with unlimited money’ – Trump
In October 2022, Trump defended his support for the breakaway tour, telling the New York Times that Saudi officials are “good people with unlimited money” and that the US also grapples with “human rights issues here as much as anybody.”
The following month, Trump’s company reached an agreement with a Saudi real estate firm planning a $4 billion project in Oman, including a Trump-branded hotel and golf course.
The Trump Organization has not disclosed how much they will be paid to host the tournaments.
In a statement, Eric Trump, the organization’s executive vice president, said they are “honored to be hosting three LIV Golf events at our properties” in 2023, adding that the organization is excited to “raise the bar even higher together in 2023.”
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Mar-a-Lago insider cooperating with document investigation
News about the golf tournament subpoena emerged simultaneously with reports that prosecutors investigating Trump’s handling of classified documents had secured the cooperation of a Mar-a-Lago insider.
The unnamed employee provided information about the storage room where the classified documents were kept, according to The New York Times.
Many Mar-a-Lago staff have been subpoenaed
The newspaper’s sources indicated that almost everyone working at Mar-a-Lago has been subpoenaed, with some employees called back for additional questioning, regardless of their roles.
Prosecutors have also subpoenaed footage from Mar-a-Lago’s surveillance cameras and questioned why some footage is missing or inaccessible, even subpoenaing the software company that manages the cameras.
On Thursday, Matthew Calamari Sr., Trump Organization’s veteran head of security and chief operating officer, and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., corporate director of security, testified before the grand jury.
Case led by Smith is a ‘politically motivated witch hunt’
A spokesperson for Trump dubbed the case, led by special counsel Jack Smith, as “a targeted, politically motivated witch hunt” intended to interfere with an election and prevent Trump’s return to the White House.
The spokesperson accused Smith’s office of harassing “anyone who has worked for President Trump” and claimed that the inquiry is now being used to target Trump’s business.
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