Ted Lieu Wants to Know if Trump Traded Tariffs for Fireworks
Reports emerged over the July 4th holiday that the CEO of fireworks retailer Phantom Fireworks -- who donated $750,000 of products to Donald Trump's “Salute to America” celebration -- had lobbied against expanding Chinese import tariffs in a private White House meeting. The same day the donation was announced, Trump decided to postpone his threatened $300 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) is now calling on the FBI to investigate whether this donation, or any others, were done as part of a quid pro quo on the tariffs. In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Lieu and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice (D-NY)urged Wray to launch an investigation to determine whether Phantom Fireworks or any other company executives bribed, or attempted to bribe, the president in exchange for favorable trade policies. Bribery of public officials is prohibited. “If Phantom donated its fireworks for corrupt purposes, its executives could be held criminally liable. In executing its “top criminal investigative priority” of combatting public corruption, we believe the FBI has a duty to swiftly examine this potentially illegal behavior,” the lawmakers wrote. Read the full letter here.