First Thing: Senate investigates Trump’s reported ‘deal’ with oil companies

4 weeks ago 24

Two Senate committee chairs sent letters to eight oil companies after Trump reportedly requested $1bn in contributions to his campaign. Plus, ICJ set to rule on Israel’s Gaza offensive

Good morning,

Senate Democrats have launched an investigation into an alleged quid pro quo offer from Donald Trump to fossil fuel executives. At a meeting at his Mar-a-Lago home and club last month, the former president reportedly told oil bosses he would immediately roll back dozens of environmental regulations if elected, and requested $1bn in contributions to his campaign. It would be a “deal” for the executives because of the costs they would avoid under him, he reportedly said.

What did the senators say? “As Mr Trump funnels campaign money into his businesses and uses it as a slush fund to pay his legal fees, big oil has been lobbying aggressively to protect and expand its profits at the expense of the American taxpayer,” they wrote.

Meanwhile, what’s Trump doing? He’s continued to ask fossil fuel companies for campaign funding amid scrutiny of his relationship with the industry. On Wednesday he joined a fundraiser hosted by three oil bosses at a five-star hotel in Houston, including two from companies reportedly involved in the Mar-a-Lago meeting.

What could be the ICJ ruling’s impact? ICJ decisions have in the past been ignored, as the top UN legal body has no way to enforce its decisions, but they carry international weight. A ruling against Israel could add to its political isolation after a series of setbacks this week. Israel says it would defy any order to stop fighting.

Is this different from the ICC arrest warrants case? Yes. The ICJ and ICC, although both located in The Hague, are different bodies. The US is not a signatory to the ICC but does recognize the ICJ, which is part of the UN.

What is the humanitarian toll of the war? After Hamas killed 1,200 people and took about 250 hostage on 7 October, Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed 36,000 Palestinians – mostly women and children – and decimated the strip’s infrastructure, displacing about 80% of the population.

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