Former acting ambassador to the U.K., Lewis Lukens, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that the inspector general raised questions to him and embassy staff in the U.K. about President Donald Trump’s demand for the ambassador to lobby for the British Open to be hosted at Trump’s golf course in Scotland.
According to Lukens, he told those questioning how to go about getting the British Open at Trump Turnberry, and Lukens said he was clear that it was “unethical” and “possibly illegal.” Still, Trump’s cronies persisted.
He explained that when the inspector general did the investigation they went back to Washington to write up the report and that it should have been released by now, but it obviously has not. Today, the acting IG, who took over just three months ago, abruptly resigned.
“Is there something going on there that is preventing the release of this inspection?” asked Lukens. “And if so, what exactly is the reason for the delay?”
“We understand from public reporting that that report was classified or otherwise marked in such a way that would prevent its release in May,” said Maddow, noting that the former IG was also fired by the administration after.
Lukens noted that a report like that shouldn’t be classified or held for any reason. He said that the general report and the analysis wouldn’t have classified information or cables between international representatives in it.
“That is a red flag, that it’s classified,” he said.
He went on to say that he doubts that there will be any consequences, and that he’s watched the Trump administration mix his personal and political for years.
“Maybe the Congress can take a look at it to make up their minds,” said the former ambassador. Lukens said that he kept copious notes that should probably be subpoenaed by Congress and he should probably be called in to testify.
Lukens recalled a moment when a staffer returned from a meeting in which the new ambassador did ask about having the tournament moved to Turnberry.
“There’s no reason he would have said that, or reported that to me immediately had the ambassador not actually done it,” Lukens said.
“Wow,” Maddow said, shocked.
Lukens said that he reached out to the State Department to report what happened and that the leadership that the ambassadors who are Trump friends are not going to get into any trouble because they’re friends of the president’s. So, he was told there isn’t much that the State Department can do about the ambassador. There was no mention of the fact that Trump told him to make the request. “It’s just not worth going down that road.”
See clips of the interview below:
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