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.
|2017.08.28||A Republican lawmaker, Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) has put forth an amendment that would stop funding for the special counsel’s Russia investigation 180 days after it becomes law, and would prevent special counsel Robert Mueller from probing “matters occurring before June 2015,” which is the month Trump announced his presidential bid. thehill.com (See also Legal Issues, Trump Relationship with Russia)|
|2017.08.28||A top executive from Donald Trump’s real estate company emailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman during the U.S. presidential campaign last year to ask for help advancing a stalled Trump Tower development project in Moscow, according to documents submitted to Congress. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, Trump Relationship with Russia, Russian Meddling in Election)|
Michael Cohen’s email to Putin spokesman came during the U.S. presidential campaign.
|2017.08.30||Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, potentially providing Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes. politico.com (See also Legal Activity, Trump Relationship with Russia, Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign)|
|2017.08.31||Special counsel Bob Mueller has teamed up with the IRS to assist with his investigation into alleged Russian election interference, enlisting the help of agents from the IRS’ Criminal Investigations unit, one of the federal government’s most tight-knit, specialized, and secretive investigative entities, focusing exclusively on financial crime, including tax evasion and money laundering. thedailybeast.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, 2016 Campaign, Legal Issues, Trump Relationship with Russia)|
|2017.09.01||Paul Manafort's notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included a mention of political contributions near a reference to the Republican National Committee. nbcnews.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Trump Relationship with Russia, Legal Issues, 2016 Campaign)|
It is illegal for foreigners to donate to American elections.
|2017.09.01||The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has a copy of a letter Donald Trump wanted to send to James B. Comey explaining the rationale for firing him, which had previously been blocked by White House counsel, seeing it as problematic. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Mike Pence, Jared Kushner)|
|2017.09.06||Due to Donald Trump's clubs and memberships, for the first time in U.S. history, wealthy people with interests before the government have a chance for close and confidential access to the president as a result of payments that enrich him personally. usatoday.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Trump Business)|
|2017.09.11||A major construction company owned by the Chinese government was hired to work on the latest Trump golf club development in Dubai despite a pledge from Donald Trump that his family business would not engage in any transactions with foreign government entities while he serves as president. mcclatchydc.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, China)|
|2017.09.13||The Justice Department is preventing Senate investigators from interviewing two top FBI officials who could provide first-hand testimony over the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. cnn.com (See also Conflicts of Interest, Unprecedented Actions)|
|2017.09.13||The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has quietly reversed its own internal policy prohibiting anonymous donations from lobbyists to White House staffers who have legal defense funds, enabling Donald Trump’s aides to raise the money they need to pay attorneys as the Russia probe expands — but raises the potential for hidden conflicts of interest or other ethics trouble. politico.com (See also Russia, Conflicts of Interest, Legal Issues)|
|2017.09.15||During a trip to Mar-a-Lago in March, the government paid the Trump-owned club to reserve at least one bedroom for two nights the full price of $546 each; this is taxpayers enriching Donald Trump when government officials stay at his properties. washingtonpost.com (See also Legal Issues, Conflicts of Interest)|
|2017.09.15||The Trump administration on Friday escalated a battle with government ethics groups by declining, even in the face of a federal court order from the Justice Department, to release the identities of individuals visiting with President Trump at his family’s Mar-a-Lago resort. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Department of Justice, Conflicts of Interest)|
|2017.09.20||Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, in an email from Paul Manafort to an overseas intermediary. washingtonpost.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Trump Relationship with Russia, 2016 Campaign, Russia)|
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email.
|2017.09.22||Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin used a costly government jet to make the short journey from New York City to Washington D.C. following a meeting in Trump Tower last month, a flight that is now under review by department investigators, along with at least two other requests for government travel involving the secretary. abcnews.go.com (See also Department of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin)|
|2017.09.26||The Environmental Protection Agency is spending nearly $25,000 to construct a secure, soundproof communications booth in the office of Administrator Scott Pruitt. washingtonpost.com (See also Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt)|
|2017.09.26||The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration will resign, as he had become convinced that Donald Trump had little respect for the law. nytimes.com (See also Legal Issues, Assaults on Government)|
|2017.09.27||Much like Tom Price, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has taken at least four noncommercial and military flights since mid-February, costing taxpayers more than $58,000 to fly him to various parts of the country. washingtonpost.com (See also Tom Price, Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency)|
|2017.09.28||HHS Secretary Tom Price said that he would reimburse the government for only a fraction of the costs of his flights on charter planes. washingtonpost.com (See also Tom Price, Department of Health and Human Services)|
An HHS official said that Price would write a check for $51,887.31, which appears to cover the cost of his seat on chartered flights but not those of his staff. The total estimated cost of these trips exceeded $400,000.
|2017.09.29||Tom Price resigned as Donald Trump's Health and Human Services Secretary, after days of public outcry over his use of private jets to conduct government business, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. nbcnews.com (See also Tom Price, Department of Health and Human Services)|
Price's 261 days in office make him the shortest-ever serving Health and Human Services Secretary.
|2017.10.02||The Interior Department’s inspector general's office has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s use of taxpayer-funded charter planes, including a $12,000 trip from Las Vegas to an airport hear his hometown in Montana, and another trip in the Caribbean. politico.com (See also Ryan Zinke, Department of the Interior)|
|2017.10.03||White House officials have begun examining emails associated with a third and previously unreported email account on Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump’s private domain, where hundreds of emails have been sent and received since January. politico.com (See also Hypocrisy, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump)|
|2017.10.04||Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr were going to be charged with felony fraud in 2012, until the District Attorney overruled his staff after a visit from a top donor: Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz propublica.org (See also Criminality, Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr)|
|2017.10.05||Republican donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a photo with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at a fundraiser held during a taxpayer-funded trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands, frequently mixing politics with his Interior duties. politico.com (See also Department of the Interior, Ryan Zinke)|
|2017.10.05||Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has flown on military aircraft seven times since March at a cost of more than $800,000, including a $15,000 round-trip flight to New York to meet with President Trump at Trump Tower. nytimes.com (See also Department of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin)|
|2017.10.13||Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported, including that $26 million changed hands in the form of a loan between a company linked to Manafort and Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin, bringing the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade. nbcnews.com (See also Russian Meddling in Election, Trump Relationship with Russia, Russia)|