The documents were released Thursday by House Democrats in a letter to General Services Administrator Emily Murphy that suggests she misled Congress about the President's involvement.
The Trump Organization had arranged to lease the Old Post Office building from the federal government prior to Trump's bid for the White House, and the GSA is now the landlord of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, which is located just blocks away from the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover Building. Before running for office, Trump expressed interest in redeveloping the property himself.
"New documents provided to the Oversight Committee indicate that President Trump met personally with you, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and White House officials on January 24, 2018, where he was directly involved with the decision to abandon the long-term relocation plan and instead move ahead with the more expensive proposal to construct a new building on the same site, and thereby prevent Trump Hotel competitors from acquiring the land", states the letter by Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and other senior Democrats.
"We have heard no legitimate justification for this decision", the letter stated. Another email describes steps that will be "necessary to deliver the project the president wants on the timetable he wants it done".
President Trump's daughter-in-law, also a top 2020 campaign adviser, told Shannon Bream that it's "astonishing" to see how many women were turned off by the way Democrats handled the sexual assault allegations against new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The General Services Administration responded in a written statement, saying that "suggestions that those emails indicate presidential involvement in the location decision are inaccurate". "A number of emails referenced in today's congressional letter are taken out of context and refer to the project's funding approach, not the location decision", GSA said.
The IG report, though, offered no conclusions about whether Trump actively pushed for the downtown location in those meetings. The inspector general concluded that determining Trump's specific involvement was hard, in large part because the inspector general said GSA employees were instructed not to discuss any statements Trump made at those meetings. "I would also add: House Democrats have it all wrong".
Connolly, whose district covers a wide swath of northern Virginia, said Thursday that the letters represent significant circumstantial evidence, given the overall context of the project. The watchdog found that the revised plan to demolish and rebuild the headquarters in Washington could be more expensive than initial plans to relocate the agency.
Given Trump's financial conflict of interest with his hotel, and his ongoing feud with the FBI, Connolly said Trump's involvement in the decision is all the more suspicious.
The change in course was a blow to Maryland and Virginia, which had been competing for years for the project and its anticipated 11,000 jobs.
The Democrats asked the GSA for further information and documents about the president's role in the decision.