President-elect Donald Trump promised to “drain the swamp” in the nation’s capital. Instead, he’s diving right in.
Trump is so far tapping people with deep ties to Washington and Wall Street as he fills out his Cabinet, turning to two power centers he vilified as greedy, corrupt and out of touch with Americans.
Two of Trump’s early picks are wealthy financial industry insiders. Elaine Chao, his pick for transportation secretary and an accomplished political figure in her own right, is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, blending family and political power in a way Trump criticized campaign rival Hillary Clinton for.
Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, has spent two decades in the Senate, and Tom Price, his health and human services nominee, is a six-term congressman.
The federal government’s ethics office has tweeted congratulations to President-elect Donald Trump for a “total divestiture” that he has not promised.
The U.S. Office of Government Ethics tweeted Wednesday, “We can’t repeat enough how good this total divesture will be.” Under divestiture, an incoming federal official can sell off massive investments, defer paying capital gains and house the proceeds in Treasury bonds or diversified mutual funds.
But Trump has not confirmed that he will turn over any assets as part of a divestiture. In his own tweetstorm Wednesday, Trump said only that he would separate from his business empire to focus on running the country. He left out other details.
The agency tweets were unusual for a site that normally sends out buttoned-up explanations of ethics guidelines. In a statement, Seth Jones, the chief of the OGE’s Ethics Law and Policy branch, acknowledged that the agency’s tweets are authentic but said officials do not know the details of Trump’s financial plans.
When it comes to ethics, not all government employees are regulated equally.
There’s far less clarity about what a president can and cannot do than the well-established rules for people who work in the legislative and judicial branches. Conflict of interest provisions are generally looser for the president, except when it comes to foreign gifts.
But Democrat Jimmy Carter, Republican George W. Bush and other recent presidents took care to separate themselves from their businesses.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that he would announce next week his plans to step back from his company while he is president. He wrote that “legal documents are being crafted which take me completely out of business operations.” But he offered no specifics on how or whether his family members would take over.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has agreed to remain a federal prosecutor at President-elect Donald Trump’s request.
Bharara told reporters Wednesday after meeting with Trump “to discuss whether or not I’d be prepared to stay on as the U.S. attorney to do the work as we have done it, independently without fear or favor, for the last seven years.”
He said he had also met with Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, who also asked him to stay.
Bharara was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama. He previously was chief counsel to New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the incoming Senate Democratic leader. Bharara also played a leading role in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the firings of federal prosecutors under former President George W. Bush.
The White House is praising President-elect Donald Trump’s deal with Carrier Corp. to keep nearly 1,000 jobs in the United States, but is trying to play down the significance of the agreement.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Trump “deserves credit” for brokering the deal, which the air conditioning company says will keep the jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico.
But Earnest says Trump would have to be successful at repeating that feat 804 more times to meet President Barack Obama’s record. The spokesman says Obama has created 805,000 jobs in manufacturing and that figure would be much higher if existing jobs that have been protected are factored in.
President-elect Donald Trump has gotten a congratulatory call from the office of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Sharif’s office says in a statement that Trump responded by saying he looked forward to seeing the prime minister soon and citing “tremendous opportunities” in Pakistan.
Trump’s transition team has provided no information about the call.
President-elect Donald Trump is weighing four finalists to lead the State Department, one of the most powerful and prominent Cabinet positions.
Spokesman Jason Miller says Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican nominee, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani are on the short list. A separate transition official said Trump is also considering former CIA Director David Petraeus and Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker for the job.
A decision on the secretary of state post is not believed to be imminent.
Trump held a private dinner with Romney Tuesday night, their second meeting to discuss the Cabinet position. The president-elect also met with Corker and Petraeus this week.
Giuliani was initially seen as a lock for the State Department, but questions about his international business ties and his public campaigning for the job are said to have given Trump pause.
Donald Trump’s senior adviser says his adult children are expected to take more control of his business empire as the president-elect works to prevent conflicts of interest before he takes office.
Kellyanne Conway tells The Associated Press that the president elect’s three adult children already work in the corporation and “are expected to continue in those roles and in fact increase their responsibilities in those roles.”
The incoming president tweeted Wednesday that legal documents are being prepared that would “take me completely out of business operations.”
Conway says the specific transition plan will be announced at a Dec. 15 press conference.
The president-elect’s pick for treasury secretary says federal spending on roads and bridges will be a “big priority for the administration.”
Steven Mnuchin tells reporters at Trump Tower that the country needs infrastructure that’s “built for the 21st century.” President-elect Donald Trump emphasized infrastructure investment throughout his campaign.
Mnuchin says the administration will work with Congress to figure out how to pay for this effort. He says funding options include some public-private partnerships.
President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for treasury secretary says he expects U.S. interest rates to stay “relatively low for the next couple of years” — but eventually they will rise.
Steven Mnuchin tells CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the country is in a period of low rates that “have come up a little bit, which I think makes sense.”
He’s putting people on notice that “eventually we are going to have higher interest rates and that’s something that this country is going to need to deal with.”
Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has suggested that the central bank is on track to raise interest rates when policymakers hold their final meeting of the year next month.
Yellen has said she has no plans to step down before her four-year term ends in early 2018.
Key members of Donald Trump’s economic team are promising major changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law Congress passed to prevent another financial crisis.
Critics say the law went too far to hinder banks from making loans that people and businesses need to spend and hire.
The president-elect’s pick for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, says loans are “the engine of growth” for small- and medium-sized businesses, and that the fallout from Dodd-Frank has been a cutting back on lending.
Mnuchin tells CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the incoming administration wants to “strip back parts of Dodd-Frank that prevent banks from lending, and that’ll be the number one priority on the regulatory side.”
And Trump’s choice for commerce secretary, financier Wilbur Ross, blames the law for putting banks in a position where he says “they now have more compliance people than they have lending officers.”
Nigel Farage, former leader of Britain’s anti-EU right-wing party, says he and President-elect Donald Trump wouldn’t have achieved their goals without social media.
Farage says the internet means governments “simply can’t lie to us any more in the way they used to.”
He says “nobody has made better use on the internet” than he did, adding “Trump has done exactly the same thing.”
Farage told an international broadcast news industry conference on Wednesday his right-wing UK Independence Party “would never, ever” had gotten “off the ground” and UKIP wouldn’t “have been any more than a little fringe party had it not been for YouTube.”
President-elect Donald Trump has filled more top posts on his economic team — picking former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin as treasury secretary and financier Wilbur Ross to lead the Commerce Department.
Mnuchin says he and Ross are joining Trump’s Cabinet, pending confirmation by the Senate.
He tells CNBC’s “Squawk Box” in an interview Wednesday that “we’re thrilled to work for the president-elect and honored to have these positions.”
Mnuchin says “sustained economic growth” is the chief priority of the incoming administration and he says “we can absolutely get to sustained 3 to 4 percent” in the gross domestic product.
He’s also outlining what he calls “the largest tax change” since President Ronald Reagan — cutting the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, a “big” middle-class income tax cut and simplifying taxes.
Mnuchin led Trump’s finance operations during the presidential campaign and became close to the president-elect and his family.
Ross is a billionaire investor who’s considered the “king of bankruptcy” for buying beaten-down companies with the potential to deliver profits.
Donald Trump says he’s leaving his “great business” so he can focus on being the nation’s 45th president.
Trump tweeted early Wednesday that legal documents are being crafted to “take me completely out of business operations,” adding, “the presidency is a far more important task!”
Trump had been under criticism for exposing himself to potential conflicts if he kept a role in his global business while being president.
He says he’ll hold a news conference with his children on the subject on Dec. 15.
This story has been corrected to reflect that Trump is holding a news conference with his children, not leaving business to his children.