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Top US ethics watchdog investigating Trump over dinner with oil bosses

A powerful watchdog group that has been at the forefront of efforts to hold Donald Trump accountable for constitutional violations is investigating whether his Mar-a-Lago meeting with oil company executives last month merits legal action.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (Crew) has told the Guardian that it is investigating the dinner at Trump’s club with more than 20 oil and gas company executives. Trump asked them for a $1bn presidential campaign contribution, while at the same time vowing to undo Joe Biden’s restrictions on natural gas export permits, oil drilling and car pollution, the Washington Post reported.

Virginia Canter, Crew’s chief ethics counsel, said the group’s lawyers were investigating what she called a matter of considerable concern. “We’re taking a very serious look at whether Trump’s fundraising pitch to the oil executives for $1bn would merit some further action,” she said.

Canter added that details of the discussion between the former president and the oil companies were troubling. “This was a very focused small group directed at a particular industry, there was an amount put out there of $1bn, which he described as a deal, which all raises questions about the transactional nature of the meeting.”

News of Crew’s investigation came as House Democrats announced their own inquiry into the Mar-a-Lago dinner. Letters were sent from the House oversight committee on Monday to nine oil executives asking for details of their companies’ participation.

Sheldon Whitehouse, the senator from Rhode Island who chairs the Senate budget committee, which has subpoena powers, is also considering an investigation. In a statement, he told the Guardian that Trump’s reported pledge to tear up fossil-fuel

Read more on theguardian.com