Former President Donald Trump's dealings with the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour have come under Justice Department scrutiny as part of a wider inquiry into Trump's handling of classified documents, according to a new report in the New York Times.
The Justice Department has issued an array of new subpoenas as it investigates whether classified documents were moved at Trump's Florida residence last year in response to inquiries. The investigation is seeking to determine how the classified documents were stored, who had access to them, and what security procedures were in place to protect them. The department has subpoenaed multiple individuals who work at Trump's Mar-A-Lago residence, as well as multiple Trump-affiliated companies.
One of the subpoenas seeks documents related to Trump's connection to LIV Golf, the breakaway golf tour funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. It's uncertain how LIV Golf ties into the investigation of classified document handling, but the implication is that the Justice Department is looking into a wide range of Trump's post-presidential business operations.
Two Trump-owned courses, Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey and Trump National Doral in Florida, hosted LIV Golf events in the tour's inaugural season last year. Both courses are scheduled to host events this season, as is Trump National Washington, his course located just outside Washington, D.C.
The presence of a LIV Golf tournament at Bedminster, not far from New York City, infuriated families of 9/11 victims and survivors, who have long criticized Saudi Arabia's connection to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. But Trump advocated for LIV's Saudi backers last year prior to the tournament.
“I’ve known these people for a long time in Saudi Arabia, they’ve been friends of mine for a long time,” he said in 2022. “They’ve invested in many American companies, they own big percentages of many, many American companies, and frankly what they’re doing for golf is so great.”
Trump's alliance with LIV Golf came after his connections to the golf establishment vaporized as a result of his presidential campaign and post-presidential controversy. Trump owns Turnberry, which was a longtime fixture of the Open Championship rotation and was scheduled to host the 2020 Open. But the R&A, European golf's organizing body, removed Turnberry from consideration for future Opens after Trump's commentary on immigration during the 2016 presidential campaign. The PGA Tour similarly distanced itself from Trump over the course of his campaign and presidency, moving tournaments away from Trump-owned courses.
More recently, Bedminster had been slated to host the 2022 PGA Championship, but the PGA of America withdrew that major after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. To date, a Trump-owned property has not yet hosted a men's major tournament.