Corruption as it applies to Trump and his administration is defined as the misuse of entrusted, public power for private gain. During the 2016 election Trump did not release his tax returns in a move that was unprecedented in modern presidential campaigning and raised questions about possible conflicts of interests that might impede his ability to maintain the interests of the country over those of his business. He repeatedly promised to release his tax returns if he was elected, but promptly broke that promise.
The lack of a record of his financial assets, connections, and liabilities, as well his decision not to cut ties completely with his numerous businesses has raised concerns about the potential for abuse of power and corruption during his administration, whether it be through foreign officials currying favor by staying at his hotels while on official business or visits, or supporting his families many business interests.
This page will track potential corruption by Trump and his administration.
See also Conflicts of Interest.
|2017.10.30||A professor with close ties to the Russian government told an adviser to Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in April 2016 that Moscow had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton in the form of “thousands of emails." nytimes.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign)|
The adviser, George Papadopoulos, has pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. about that conversation, representing the most explicit evidence that the Trump campaign was aware that the Russian government was trying to help Mr. Trump and that the campaign was eager to accept that help.
|2017.11.01||Senator Patty Murray assailed Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying her husband broke pledge to end political contributions. washingtonpost.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Betsy DeVos, Department of Education)|
|2017.11.02||Donald Trump has installed at least five people who have been members of his clubs (meaning: they pay money to his company) to senior roles in his administration, from Robin Bernstein and Callista Gingrich, the nation’s new ambassador to the Vatican, to Adolfo Marzol, a member of the Trump National Golf Club in suburban Washington, who serves as a senior adviser at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. usatoday.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Trump Business)|
|2017.11.07||CIA Director Mike Pompeo recently met -- at the urging of Donald Trump -- with one of the principal deniers of Russian interference in the US election. cnn.com (See also Mike Pompeo, Belief in Conspiracy Theories)|
|2017.11.08||An investigation reveals Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has financial ties to 36 previously undisclosed ships that are spread among at least nine companies, along with the Russia-tied company — Navigator Holdings Ltd. — Ross has a financial interest in at least 75 ships, most of which move oil and gas products across the globe. apmreports.org (See also Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce, Conflicts of Interest, Russia)|
The value of those ships stands to grow as Ross negotiates trade deals on behalf of the U.S. and advises on U.S. infrastructure policy, and one fund linked to Ross was still buying and selling ships after Ross was confirmed as Commerce secretary.
|2017.11.10||Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan involving former White House national security adviser Mike Flynn to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric living in the U.S. and deliver him to Turkey in return for millions of dollars. wsj.com (See also Unprecedented Actions, Michael Flynn)|
|2017.11.13||Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy. washingtonpost.com (See also Assaults on Government, Department of Justice, Jeff Sessions)|
|2017.11.13||Donald Trump tweeted about the hacked emails of then-Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta approximately 15 minutes after WikiLeaks requested his son Donald Trump Jr. to do so. thehill.com (See also 2016 Campaign, Donald Trump Jr)|
|2017.11.13||One of Donald Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees did not disclose on publicly available congressional documents that he is married to a senior lawyer in the White House Counsel’s Office. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Conflicts of Interest, False Statements)|
When Brett J. Talley was asked to name family members who might be a conflict of interest, he did not mention that his wife is Ann Donaldson, the White House counsel’s chief of staff, Donald McGahn.
|2017.11.14||A half-dozen Democrats introduced articles of impeachment against Donald Trump, accusing him of obstruction of justice and other offenses, despite it being a long-shot effort that stands little chance in the Republican-led House. apnews.com (See also Legal Issues, Constitutional Issues)|
|2017.11.14||The State Department has hired a private Russian company co-founded by Vladimir Putin's former KGB boss through a $2.8 million no-bid contract, to guard the US Embassy in Moscow. nytimes.com (See also Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia, Conflicts of Interest)|
|2017.11.15||A trio of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s ex-longtime colleagues at his private equity shop, WL Ross & Co., have sued the secretary and the firm for allegedly charging at least $48 million in improper management fees and pocketing the money. vanityfair.com (See also Wilbur Ross, Department of Commerce, Legal Issues)|
|2017.11.17||President Donald Trump has finally started paying his own legal bills related to the Russia probe, rather than charging them to his campaign or the Republican National Committee, but ethics questions are raised about his finalizing of a plan to use personal funds to help current and former White House staff with their legal costs. bloomberg.com (See also Legal Issues, Trump Relationship with Russia)|
|2017.11.19||Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, suggesting that the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation. abcnews.go.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Legal Activity)|
|2017.11.20||Donald Trump's foundation, which last year admitted violating federal rules on "self-dealing," is in the process of dissolving. nbcnews.com (See also False Statements, Legal Issues)|
|2017.11.20||Donald Trump’s golf courses paid back more than $158,000 to Trump’s charitable foundation this year, reimbursing the charity for money that had been used to settle a lawsuit against the club. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, False Statements)|
|2017.11.21||For six months the New York State Attorney General has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process, yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed. medium.com (See also Censorship, Legal Issues)|
|2017.11.23||Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, Russian Meddling in Election, Legal Issues)|
|2017.11.30||Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to answer Congressman Adam Schiff's question asking whether President Trump ever asked him to obstruct the ongoing investigation into Russian inference in the 2016 presidential election. msn.com (See also Jeff Sessions, Department of Justice, Russian Meddling in Election, Trump Relationship with Russia)|
|2017.11.30||The Treasury Department’s inspector general is examining whether political considerations interfered with Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s promised analysis of the Republican tax proposal. bloomberg.com (See also Department of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, False Statements)|
|2017.12.02||Legal experts pointed out Donald Trump may have publicly admitted through a tweet that he knew Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI when the president approached then-FBI Director James Comey and asked him to drop the investigation, which could then indicate an attempt to obstruct justice had taken place. politico.com (See also Michael Flynn, Legal Issues, Russian Meddling in Election)|
|2017.12.04||John Dowd, Donald Trump's outside lawyer, outlined a new and highly controversial defense/theory in the Russia probe: A president cannot be guilty of obstruction of justice. axios.com (See also Legal Issues, False Statements, Trump Relationship with Russia, Russian Meddling in Election)|
Note that the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon began by saying he "obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice."
|2017.12.05||The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Mick Mulvaney has suspended or softened several investigations and lawsuits, stopped approval of payments to some victims of financial crime, halted hiring, froze all new rule-making, and ordered a review of active investigations and lawsuits, some of which will be abandoned. nytimes.com (See also Mick Mulvaney)|
|2017.12.06||Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, told a former business associate that economic sanctions against Russia would be “ripped up” as one of the Trump administration’s first acts. nytimes.com (See also Michael Flynn, Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia)|
Flynn believed that ending the sanctions could allow a business project he had once participated in to move forward.
|2017.12.07||Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke spent more than $14,000 on government helicopters this summer to take himself and staff to and from official events near Washington, D.C., in order to accommodate his attendance at a swearing-in ceremony for his replacement in Congress, and a horseback ride with Vice President Mike Pence. politico.com (See also Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, Mike Pence)|