GSA denies Democratic claims that Trump intervened to stop FBI HQ move


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5 Home Democrats alleged Thursday that President Trump had personally ordered that the FBI headquarters stay in downtown Washington so potential competitor couldn’t develop the location, a declare the company which manages actual property for the federal authorities dismissed as “inaccurate.”

In a letter, Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland; Gerry Connolly of Virginia; Dina Titus of Nevada; Peter DeFazio of Oregon and Mike Quigley of Illinois claimed Trump was “straight concerned with the choice to desert the long-term relocation plan and as a substitute transfer forward with the dearer proposal to assemble a brand new constructing on the identical web site, and thereby stop Trump Resort rivals from buying the land.”

The letter cites correspondence from a senior official on the federal Common Providers Administration (GSA) who outlined a January Oval Workplace assembly and described the headquarters determination as “what POTUS directed everybody to do.” One other e-mail describes steps that will probably be “essential to ship the venture the president desires on the timetable he desires it performed.”

In a written assertion, the GSA mentioned that “the management staff on the FBI made the choice to maintain its headquarters on the present Pennsylvania Avenue location. A variety of emails referenced in at present’s congressional letter are taken out of context and consult with the venture’s funding strategy, not the situation determination.

“Strategies that these emails point out presidential involvement within the location determination are inaccurate,” the assertion added.

FILE - In this Nov. 2, 2016, file photo, the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover headquarter building in Washington. The FBI has been reviewing the handling of thousands of terror-related tips and leads received over the last three years to make sure they were properly investigated and that no obvious red flags were missed, The Associated Press has learned. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

FILE – On this Nov. 2, 2016, file photograph, the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover headquarter constructing in Washington. The FBI has been reviewing the dealing with of 1000’s of terror-related ideas and leads acquired during the last three years to verify they had been correctly investigated and that no apparent pink flags had been missed, The Related Press has realized. (AP Photograph/Cliff Owen, File)
(The Related Press)

An inspector common’s report launched earlier this yr revealed that Trump participated in conferences by which the FBI headquarters challenge was mentioned, however supplied no conclusions about whether or not the president pushed to maintain the headquarters downtown. The watchdog famous that GSA staff had been instructed to not focus on any statements Trump made at these conferences.

The correspondence cited by Democrats was additionally accessible to the inspector common, however Democrats are attaching extra significance to the letters than the IG did.

Trump owns a downtown resort throughout the road from FBI headquarters that would face competitors if the FBI’s present location is opened to non-public redevelopment, which may embody one other resort. Earlier than operating for workplace, Trump expressed curiosity in redeveloping the property himself.

Officers in suburban Maryland and Virginia have lengthy competed to be chosen as the location for a possible new FBI headquarters within the Washington D.C. suburbs. Such a venture may carry greater than 10,000 jobs.

Connolly, whose district covers a large swath of northern Virginia, mentioned Thursday that the letters symbolize important circumstantial proof, given the general context of the venture. For greater than a decade, Connolly mentioned, the plan to maneuver FBI headquarters to the suburbs was broadly accepted as probably the most logical different. The present J. Edgar Hoover constructing, inbuilt 1974, is crumbling badly. The area just isn’t sufficiently big to consolidate all FBI personnel, and trendy safety necessities impose constructing restrictions that may be extraordinarily tough to fulfill on the current location, Connolly mentioned. Advocates of a suburban location say it might be inexpensive and extra environment friendly.

The Related Press contributed to this report.

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