Quantcast
Connect with us

Government ethics agency: We ‘seem to have lost contact’ with the Trump team

Published

on

The government agency in charge of overseeing ethics in the federal government and policing conflicts of interest has struggled to contact members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team since Election Day.

In emails obtained by MSNBC, Office of Government Ethics (OGE) Director Walter Shaub wrote that his agency’s attempts at outreach to the incoming administration have been met with silence.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election,” Shaub said.

In a letter to Trump advisers, Shaub warned that by announcing its cabinet picks without proper vetting by the ethics office, the team runs the risk of causing “embarrassment for the President-elect.”

Requirements for White House aides are even more stringent with regards to conflicts of interest and incoming aides to Trump may be in violation of federal law.

“They run the risk of having inadvertently violated the criminal conflicts of interest restriction at 18 USC 208,” Shaub wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

Furthermore, he said, “If we don’t get involved early to prevent problems,” he added, “we won’t be able to help them after the fact.”

Throughout history, U.S. presidents have placed their assets in a so-called “blind trust” for the duration of their presidency. Trump and his advisors have made vague public statements about the Trust, saying it would be managed by the former reality TV star’s adult children.

This is far from adequate, said Shaub. The ethics office only considers a trust blind when its assets have been “sold off” and liquidated.

ADVERTISEMENT

The emails were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by federal employment lawyer Bradley Moss. They show a confused tangle of unanswered queries, delayed responses and comments that Trump and his legal team are hard to reach and nearly impossible to “pin down” on issues.

Moss said that the emails show a surprising lack of interest on the part of the Trump team in divestment of assets to avoid conflicts of interest.

“Conspicuously absent is any evidence of the preparations allegedly being undertaken by President-Elect Trump to resolve potential conflicts of interest through some manner of divestment,” Moss said to NBC News.

ADVERTISEMENT

He asked, “If the President-Elect’s lawyers and compliance officers are not coordinating with OGE, who, if anyone, within the government are they coordinating on these matters?”

For weeks, Trump has been postponing a planned press conference where he says that he will explain in detail his plan to divest himself of his holdings and hand over his businesses.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

NBC attacks Ronan Farrow’s upcoming book as a ‘smear’

Published

on

NBC is responding to Ronan Farrow's new book — which claims that the network quashed his reporting on rape accusations against movie producer Harvey Weinstein to protect Matt Lauer, who faced similar accusations — by dismissing it as a "smear."

This article first appeared in Salon.

In a memo sent to NBC employees on Monday and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, NBC News President Noah Oppenheim argues that Farrow's upcoming book "Catch and Kill" is a "smear" and "rests on the allegation that NBC’s management knew about and took steps to hide Matt Lauer’s misconduct before his firing in November of 2017." It also dismisses the accusation that the network "squashed" Farrow's reporting into the rape accusations against Weinstein in order to protect Lauer as a "conspiracy theory."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s ex-Russia aide said the president used a ‘shadow foreign policy’ to ‘personally benefit’ himself: report

Published

on

Fiona Hill, a former top White House adviser on Russia, revealed to congressional investigators on Monday that President Donald Trump conducted policy toward Ukraine for his personal benefit, according to a new report from the Washington Post.

She reportedly said that the president used his attorney Rudy Giuliani to a “run shadow foreign policy in Ukraine that circumvented U.S. officials and career diplomats in order to personally benefit” himself.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘He’s cooked’: Sam Donaldson warns Trump the Senate may vote to convict him after impeachment trial

Published

on

Veteran newsman Sam Donaldson on Monday evening told CNN viewers not to assume that Senate Republicans would refuse to remove President Donald Trump from office during an impeachment vote.

"Breaking news," CNN Don Lemon alerted. "A CNN source saying that the effort to pressure Ukraine for political help alarmed John Bolton so much that the told an aide to alert White House lawyers that Giuliani was a hand grenade who will blow everyone up. And a source familiar with Fiona Hill’s testimony says the former Russia adviser told lawmakers she was she saw wrongdoing in the Ukraine policy and reported it."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image