Trump’s Vetting Process: Even Worse than You Think

Trump’s Vetting Process: Even Worse than You Think June 24, 2019

Axios got leaked more than 100 documents from the Trump transition team that showed that the chaos that has been reported is even worse than we could have imagined. Many of the documents were the research and assessments on specific people that foreshadowed later scandals because Trump hired them despite big red flags.

Some highlights:

  • Scott Pruitt, who ultimately lost his job as EPA Administrator because of serial ethical abuses and clubbiness with lobbyists, had a section in his vetting form titled “allegations of coziness with big energy companies.”
  • Tom Price, who ultimately resigned as Health and Human Services Secretary after Trump lost confidence in him in part for stories about his use of chartered flights, had sections in his dossier flagging “criticisms of management ability” and “Dysfunction And Division Has Haunted Price’s Leadership Of The House Budget Committee.”
  • Mick Mulvaney, who became Trump’s Budget Director and is now his acting chief of staff, has a striking assortment of “red flags,” including his assessment that Trump “is not a very good person.”
  • The Trump transition team was so worried about Rudy Giuliani, in line for Secretary of State, that they created a separate 25-page document titled “Rudy Giuliani Business Ties Research Dossier” with copious accounting of his “foreign entanglements.”
  • One red flag for Gen. David Petraeus, who was under consideration for Secretary of State and National Security Adviser: “Petraeus Is Opposed to Torture.”

Some of the ethical red flags didn’t prevent Trump from hiring them anyway:

Some of the contenders were strikingly swampy — even by the RNC vetters’ standards.

  • Seema Verma, who Trump appointed as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, had this paragraph near the top of her vetting form: “Verma was simultaneously advising Indiana ($3.5 million in contracts) on issues impacting how it would spend Medicaid funds while she was also being paid by a client that received Medicaid funds. Ethics experts have called the arrangement a conflict of interest that potentially put Indiana taxpayers at risk.”
  • Sonny Perdue, Trump’s pick for Agriculture Secretary, had a vetting form with sections labeled “Business conflicts of interest” and “Family conflicts of interest.” It noted that “Perdue is the owner of Houston Fertilizer and Grain, a company that has received contracts from the Department of Agriculture.”

But remember, he only hires the best people. Then he fires them and hires someone else who isn’t qualified for the job and will be mired in scandals and conflicts of interest. Oh, and the reason why Chris Christie didn’t get an administration job and was fired as head of the transition team? Because Jared Kushner hated him for prosecuting his dad and putting him in jail.

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