Pentagon to franchise secretly owned Trump Tower unit for chief ‘football’: letter

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WASHINGTON The U.S. Defense Department is finalizing a franchise on a secretly owned section in New York’s Trump Tower for a White House Military Office to use for ancillary President Donald Trump but providing any advantage to Trump or his organization, according to a Pentagon minute seen by Reuters.

The Military Office carries and safeguards a “football,” a device that contains a tip tip launch codes a boss needs to sequence a chief attack, as good as providing him secure communications wherever he is.

The White House, Secret Service, and Defense Department had no criticism on either identical arrangements have been done during other properties Trump frequents – Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida and a Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump is spending this weekend.

In a minute to Representative Jackie Speier, a Democrat on a House Armed Services and comprehension committees, Defense Department central James MacStravic, pronounced a section is “privately owned and … franchise negotiations have been with a owner’s member only.”

MacStravic, who wrote that he was “temporarily behaving a duties of a Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics,” pronounced any merger of leased space with “an annual let in additional of $1 million contingency initial be authorized by my office.”

He “approved this action” after consulting with a White House Military Office and other officials, he said.

Officials declined to exhibit a cost of a franchise or brand a owners of a apartment.

MacStravic’s letter, antiquated Mar 3, added: “We are not wakeful of any means by that a President would privately advantage from a Government franchise of this space.”

The minute explained that a White House Military Office, a Pentagon unit, “requested capitulation to franchise space in a Trump Tower for crew reserved to support a President when during his private residence.”

The minute pronounced such arrangements are “typical of support provided” by a Military Office to prior U.S. presidents and clamp presidents during their private residences. It is not clear, however, either a bureau has ever paid to franchise space to residence a personal apparatus presidents need when they are staying during homes they possess outward Washington.

A White House mouthpiece pronounced a White House had no information on a leasing issue. The Defense Department and U.S. Secret Service declined to comment.

The Trump Organization did not respond to an email requesting comment.

When a Pentagon in Feb initial concurred that it was seeking to franchise space in Trump Tower, some Democrats questioned either such a pierce would furnish a financial asset for Trump.

“I am endangered by a coming that a President of a United States will financially advantage from this understanding during a responsibility of a Department of Defense – and ultimately, taxpayers,” Speier wrote to Defense Secretary James Mattis shortly after a Trump Tower emanate became open in February.

By negotiating usually with member of a owners of a private apartment, a Pentagon pronounced it was seeking to equivocate such concerns.

(Reporting By Mark Hosenball,; Phil Stewart, and Jonathan Landay.; Editing by John Walcott and Grant McCool)

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