A Texas hedge fund manager managed to get a meeting with top national security officials through his business ties to President Donald Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr. The meeting that happened last year was meant to promote a plan that would help U.S. companies in Venezuela, The Associated Press reported Monday.
The news outlet managed to get court records and documents which show Trump Jr. being in business with Gentry Beach dating back to the mid-2000s, and that the two recently formed a company together. According to the report, Beach and an Iraqi-American businessman met last year with National Security Council officials and pitched a proposal to curb sanctions in Venezuela and open up business for U.S. companies there.
Meanwhile, an official confirmed the story saying that although the officials did not plan to act on the pitch, they were told to take the meeting because of Beach’s ties to Trump Jr. However, The Trump Organization said in a statement that Trump Jr. hasn’t played a role arranging meetings with “anyone at the White House or any other government agency.”
Beach also told The Associated Press in a statement that he never used his relationship with Trump Jr. to try and influence government officials.
A Trump Organization attorney confirmed that Trump Jr. had business relations with Beach in the past, pointing to a previously released statement that said their relationship was “strictly personal.”
The Trump administration has been under constant monitoring from watchdog groups since Trump took office over concerns that the President might use his influence on his family’s business affairs. As Trump turned over the Trump Organization to his two sons Donald Jr. and Eric when he took office, several watchdog groups have filed complaints that the business is using the presidency to enrich itself.
“This feeds into the same concerns that we’ve had all along: The really fuzzy line between the presidency and the Trumps’ companies,” said Noah Bookbinder, who leads Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a public policy group. He added that “Donald Trump Jr. sort of straddles that line all the time.”