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Ethical Quandaries In The Trump Cabinet47:47Download

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Ethics and the Trump Cabinet. Confirmations hearings for Trump’s nominees begin before ethics reviews are completed. It’s unprecedented. We’re on it.

President-elect Donald Trump, left, applauds as his pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, right, speaks during a rally at DeltaPlex Arena, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
President-elect Donald Trump, left, applauds as his pick for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, right, speaks during a rally at DeltaPlex Arena, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016, in Grand Rapids, Mich. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Alarms went up last week when the Office of Government Ethics said nominees for the Trump cabinet -- plenty of millionaires and billionaires among them — weren’t filing the paperwork for ethics clearance, a conflict of interest check, in time for review. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told critics to “grow up.” The president-elect himself has yet to make plain how he’ll avoid ethical pitfalls. The clock is ticking to Inauguration Day. This hour On Point, ethics and the incoming Trump administration. — Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Russell Berman, senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers politics. Creator of the "Donald Trump Cabinet Tracker." (@russellberman)

Amb. Norman Eisen, fellow at the Brookings Institution. Former U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic. Former special counsel for ethics and government reform in the Obama White House. Co-founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit government watchdog group. (@normeisen)

David French, staff writer at the National Review.  (@DavidAFrench)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Atlantic: Senate Republicans Decide That Ethics Can Wait — "As many as four top Cabinet nominees of President-elect Donald Trump will receive confirmation hearings this week without having completed financial disclosure reports and ethics agreements, breaking a longstanding tradition in the Senate. Citing the importance of the new president having his national-security team in place immediately, Republican leaders are intent on seating as many of Trump’s Cabinet picks as possible by the time he takes office on January 20."

National Review: More Than 1,100 Law Professors Oppose Jeff Sessions; Nobody Should Care — "What’s actually happening is that a collection of liberals are using the (rapidly-diminishing) prestige of their institutions and profession to make news when there is none. Of course liberals oppose a conservative nominee, and of course academic liberals are prone to play the race card. If any of them wish to make a detailed case based on law and facts, then make that case. Until then, however, their letter is little more than an especially pretentious version of a Change.org petition."

POLITICO: McConnell: We won't delay hearings -- "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday rebuffed Democratic calls to slow down rapid confirmation of Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks, even after a nonpartisan federal watchdog raised 'great' concerns about moving ahead with hearings for nominees whose ethics reviews have not been completed."

This program aired on January 10, 2017.

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