Donald Trump Threatened With New Investigation

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has threatened former President Donald Trump with a new investigation into his reported promises to Big Oil.

The Washington Post reported this week of a deal that Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, reportedly offered to top oil executives at a Mar-a-Lago dinner last month—raise $1 billion for his campaign and he will reverse dozens of President Joe Biden’s environmental regulations and prevent new rules, according to people with knowledge of the dinner.

According to the Post‘s sources, Trump said gifting him $1 billion would be a “deal,” because of the taxation and regulations they wouldn’t have to worry about if he was in office.

Whitehouse, who has already been looking into Big Oil as chair of the Senate Budget Committee, told The New Republic in an article published on Saturday, that it’s “highly likely” that his committee will look into the reported revelations from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago dinner with oil executives.

“This is practically an invitation to ask more questions,” he said, calling it a “natural extension of the investigation already underway.”

Newsweek reached out to Whitehouse via phone and Trump’s spokesman via email for comment.

Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday in New York City. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has threatened Trump with a new investigation…

Curtis Means – Pool/Getty Images

The Senate Budget Committee and House Oversight and Accountability Committee have been investing the oil industry for years and last week revealed their findings.

They found that the oil industry would publicly support climate regulations and goals, but behind closed doors, they would express skepticism. Big Oil has denied misleading the public about its part in the climate crisis, an allegation waged by Democrats. Spokespeople for top companies like Exxon, BP, and Shell have maintained that they are working toward a greener future.

Whitehouse said that when reading the Post‘s story on Trump’s reported proposed deal with Big Oil, he instantly thought “quid pro quo.”

The senator mentioned a Politico article published this week that reported that Big Oil is creating executive orders for Trump to sign if he wins this year’s presidential election. The orders focus on promoting natural gas exports, lowering drilling costs and increasing offshore oil leases.

“Put those things together and it starts to look mighty damn corrupt,” Whitehouse said.

Trump has promised to do a lot of things on his first day in office if he were to win the presidency, saying on the campaign trail that he would be a “dictator” that day.

During a town hall event hosted by Fox News host Sean Hannity in December, Hannity pressed Trump to pledge that he would never “abuse power as retribution against anybody,” as had been suggested previously, if he’s reelected. In response, Trump suggested that he would only behave in such a way on the first day of his hypothetical second term.

“Except for day one,” the former president said. “No, no, no, other than day one. We’re closing the border and we’re drilling, drilling, drilling. After that, I’m not a dictator.” His drilling comment was a reference to his vow to expand oil drilling in the United States. He later said that the comments were in a “joking manner.” Trump also said that “I’m not going to have time for retribution.”

According to the Post, Trump reportedly promised oil executives to end Biden’s halt on permits for new liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, three people present when the comment was made, said. “You’ll get it on the first day,” Trump reportedly said, according to one dinner attendee.

On Biden’s first day in office in 2021, he reinstated or strengthened over 100 environmental regulations that Trump weakened or removed during his tenure. With only six months left until the election, which will likely be a rematch between Trump and Biden, the Biden administration has been working to roll out 10 new environmental rules including increasing the cost for Big Oil to drill on public lands.