The Secret Service protection for Donald Trump Jr.’s August 2019 trip to Mongolia, where he reportedly hunted a rare breed of sheep, cost taxpayers $76,859.36, according to documents published Wednesday by a Washington ethics watchdog.
The first set of Security Service documents obtained by Citizens forResponsibility and Ethics in Washington through a Freedom of Information Act request put the cost of protection for President Donald Trump’s eldest son’s eight-day trip at about $17,000. CREW appealed that response to its request, believing it was undercounting the actual cost.
A source close to Trump Jr. told USA TODAY that the president’s son personally paid for “100%” of the trip other than the protective detail.
In May, Secret Service Deputy Director Leonza Newsome informed CREW in a letter that its appeal was granted and that a new search uncovered “an additional document containing costs” regarding the trip. Newsome said an updated report on the expenses related to air travel was also included.
CREW’s analysis of the documents revealed the cost of the trip was nearly $60,000 more than the original disclosure indicated.
“These Secret Service payments show how much taxpayer money directly funded Don Jr.’s trip, and show that the cost was much steeper than the agency originally admitted,” CREW said in its report. “As a son of the president, Donald Trump Jr. is entitled to Secret Service protection and should be protected, but taxpayers deserve to know how much they are paying to facilitate his trophy hunting and interactions with major political donors and foreign leaders.”
ProPublica reported in December that Trump Jr. “received special treatment” and was able to obtain a “coveted and rare permit” to hunt and kill an argali sheep. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists the argali as a threatened species when found in Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Tajikistan and an endangered one when found outside those countries.
The nonprofit news organization said the permit was granted retroactively on Sept. 2 after he had already shot and killed one of the threatened animals. Mongolia issued a total of 86 hunting permits for the argali during last year’s hunting season, according to ProPublica.
Mongolia officials have contested that account. A statement from the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism called ProPublica’s reporting “factually inaccurate” and said Trump Jr. “was in fact participating in an important aspect of the Mongolian Government’s conservation program for the endangered Argali Sheep.”
The head of the ministry told a Mongolian news outlet in December there was “nothing illegal” about Trump Jr.’s hunt.
Trump Jr. also met privately with Mongolian President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, ProPublica reported, citing unnamed officials.
The Palm Beach Post, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, reported Mongolia’s foreign minister and ambassador to the U.S. visited the Trump family’s Mar-a-Lago resort in April 2019. Trump Jr. was at Mar-a-Lago at the same time, celebrating Easter with his family.
In its report, CREW said it is “still investigating other aspects of the trip, including whether the State Department was involved, and whether Don Jr. was granted a permit from the Interior Department to bring back the sheep carcass.”