Scotland’s Justice Secretary has insisted it would not be “right or proper” for ministers to push for an investigation into Donald Trump’s businesses – even though he branded the former US president “deplorable”.
Mr Yousaf condemned Mr Trump for his “racist and divisive policies”.
But he rejected Green calls for ministers to push for the Trump Organisation’s golf courses in Scotland, in Aberdeenshire and Ayrshire, to be investigated via an unexplained wealth order (UWO).
Mr Trump’s son Eric hit out at the Greens after co-leader Patrick Harvie brought the issue to a debate in Holyrood, with Eric Trump insisting the MSP was “nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda”.
Mr Harvie however told MSPs: “People who abuse political office need to be held accountable. Not only as a matter of direct justice, but also as a clear signal to those who come after them that they won’t get away such abuse.”
He insisted there were “longstanding” reasons for concerns over Mr Trump’s financial conduct, adding that a number of his former associates had been investigated and even prosecuted “including for crimes of dishonesty and financial misconduct”.
Mr Harvie stressed that “it would be completely wrong for ministers to decide who should be prosecuted and who not”.
But he added: “What we’re talking about here is not a prosecution, what we are talking about here is merely going to court and asking for information to be provided.”
This, he insisted, was a “matter of political responsibility for the Government”.
He said if the Trump Organisation can “provide reasonable answers to reasonable questions then they have no problem”.
But the Green claimed: “It is the Scottish Government and Scottish ministers who have a responsibility to ask those questions.
“They can not maintain the position they have no ability to act. They do.”
However Mr Yousaf said that decisions on applying for an unexplained wealth order are an operational matter for the civil recovery unit – which is responsible to the Lord Advocate.
While he is part of the Scottish Government, the Justice Secretary said the law officer was a “non political minister”.
Mr Yousaf stated: “To preserve the integrity of the investigation into any individual, there must not be any political interference in the process of seeking an unexplained wealth order.”
He stressed: “This process must not be subject to any form of political interference.
“What he is asking the cabinet to do is to make a political decision on instigating an investigation into an individual. That is not correct.”
Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International, Scotland, said: “Patrick Harvie’s charade today was an utter waste of parliamentary time and was, quite rightly, overwhelmingly rejected by more sensible politicians.
“He has been obsessed with this ridiculous campaign against the Trump Organisation for years now, but grandstanding at this critical time in the middle of a global pandemic when all our politicians should be focused on saving lives and dealing with real issues affecting the Scottish people is truly pathetic.
“We thank those MSPs who rejected this nonsense and will, hopefully, now focus on getting the nation vaccinated and all of us – including businesses – back to work and back to normality as soon as possible.”