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President Trump meets with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc
Today’s Hill Action
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Trump White House grants waivers of ethics rules
President Donald Trump’s executive order on ethics has been waived at least 11 times since the administration came into office in January, according to records the White House posted online Wednesday night.
The waivers allow White House staffers to work on matters that could affect their former employers or clients or involve issues from which the aides would be normally be excluded because of past lobbying work.
About a week after taking office, Trump signed an executive order restricting the role of lobbyists in his administration and limiting the work government employees could do relating to former clients and former employers. However, the newly disclosed waivers show how often the White House has set those rules aside in order to allow key staffers to oversee issues they worked on in the private sector.
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway received a waiver that allows her to take part in “communications and meetings involving former clients which are political, advocacy, trade, or non-profit organizations,” the White House said. Conway’s polling firm, The Polling Company/WomanTrend had a variety of clients including the American Conservative Union, Catholic University, FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.
GOP budget woes leave lawmakers in the dark
The federal budget process is so broken that lawmakers are now preparing to write spending bills without even knowing how much total cash they’ve got to play with.
It’s a new level of dysfunction for Capitol Hill, and it undermines GOP leaders’ promises to return to “regular order,” where spending measures are carefully considered and funding the federal government is a priority.
Without clear spending targets, federal agencies are left in the dark, with only a vague idea of how to plan their budgets. The uncertainty also could complicate plans by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to avoid a government shutdown showdown in the fall.
“It’s a puzzling year. It’s going to be a very difficult year,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who oversees spending for energy and water programs.
House Committee Subpoenas Flynn, Cohen in Russia Probe
Fired national security adviser Michael Flynn and President Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, were subpoenaed Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee.
“As part of our ongoing investigation into Russian active measures during the 2016 campaign, we approved subpoenas for several individuals for testimony, personal documents and business records,” Republican Mike Conaway of Texas, who is leading the probe, and Adam Schiff of Washington, the ranking Democrat on the House panel, said in a joint statement. “We hope and expect that anyone called to testify or provide documents will comply with that request, so that we may gain all the information within the scope of our investigation.”
Subpoenas were also approved by the committee for documents possessed by the Flynn Intel Group LLC and Michael D. Cohen & Associates PC.
The panel is investigating Russian efforts to influence the U.S. election, as well as leaks of classified information and reports that identities of Trump associates captured in spy intercepts may have been improperly unmasked.
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