Donald Trump Jr. lived the "Yurt Life" over the summer, embarking on an expedition with his son Donald to Mongolia that he documented in a series of Instagram posts. Now, ProPublica and WYNC report that Trump Jr. received "special treatment" during the trip, which "blurred the lines between private citizen and diplomacy." The outlets report the August jaunt included a private meeting between Trump Jr. and the Mongolian president, and that the oldest son of the US president also killed a rare argali sheep, obtaining a retroactive permit to do so. Security resources for the trip were reportedly provided by both the US and Mongolian governments. A spokesperson for Trump Jr. says the seven-day trip was a personal expedition, purchased by Trump Jr. at an NRA charity auction in 2015, and that protection given to the president's son is determined by the Secret Service, not Trump Jr.
The crux of the report: Trump Jr.—who seems to have been accompanied by GOP donor Kevin Small—killed an argali sheep, an endangered species only allowed to be hunted via an "opaque permitting system that experts say is mostly based on money, connections, and politics." The Mongolian government granted Trump Jr. a permit only after he'd left the region—an "unusual" move, per ProPublica. A local government official says Trump Jr. also had a private meeting with Mongolian leader Khaltmaagiin Battulga; what they discussed is unclear. "What are the chances the Mongolian government would've done any of that to someone who wasn't the son of the [US] president?" a legal ethics expert says, adding that though Trump Jr. doesn't work for the US government, he's still got political pull, which could lead to a "desire on the part of a foreign government to curry favor with the president's family." Full story here and here. (Read more Donald Trump Jr. stories.)