Latest Updates

Renegotiate or Withdraw from NAFTA
Most recent update:

Trump would have to bring Mexico and Canada back to the table and get Congress to approve a new deal, but the United States can withdraw from the treaty six months after giving written notice.

No action was taken on his first day in office, but on January 22nd, Trump said he had scheduled meetings with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to begin the process of renegotiation. However, Mexico's president cancelled the scheduled meeting with Trump in response to the executive order on building the Mexico wall.

Despite the tensions surrounding the wall, sources said in February 2017 that it appears the Mexico and the U.S. might be taking steps to evaluate NAFTA for renegotiation. In March 2017, signals from the administration indicated that the changes may be more modest than originally proposed by Trump.

In late April 2017, after a call with the leaders of Canada and Mexico, Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA "at this time" and would instead look to renegotiate terms of the treaty.

Full Report
Last Updated
"Drain the Swamp" of Corruption
Most recent update:

Trump's promise to eschew lobbyists got off to a rocky start as his initial transition team, assembled by Governor Chris Christie, was packed with lobbyists and similar special interest advocates. Later, Vice-President-Elect Pence took control of the process, removing some team members with conflicting obligations and compelling others to terminate their ties to interest organizations. Trump said he'd had no choice but to initially rely on lobbyists in Washington because "the whole place is one big lobbyist." He vowed to "phase that out."

Meanwhile, Trump selected billionaire Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education.  Mrs. DeVos's qualifications seem to be solely in participating in advocacy groups promoting school choice and the voucher system. Otherwise, DeVos is on record as being a major soft-money contributor to the Republican party, and has donated to the campaigns of legislators in Michigan in an apparent bid to influence policy.  Though not officially a lobbyist in the traditional sense, her behavior is consistent with one.

Other cabinet picks so far include Wilbur Ross - an investor whose fortune is estimated by Forbes to be $2.9 billion - Steven Mnuchin - a notable Goldman Sachs executive - and a host of other millionaires and billionaires who, as a group, have much more experience funding political candidates and acting like lobbyists than they do running government agencies. For reference, George W. Bush's first cabinet had a combined, inflation-adjusted net worth of about $250 million — which is roughly one-tenth the wealth of Donald Trump’s nominee for commerce secretary alone.

In fact, six of his cabinet picks so far were big donors to Trump's campaign: Linda McMahon ($7.5 million), Betsy DeVos ($1.8 million via DeVos family), Todd Ricketts ($1.3 million via his parents), Steven Mnuchin ($425,000), Andrew Pudzer ($332,000), and Wilbur Ross ($200,000). 

Furthermore, after a long campaign of vilifying opponents including Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz for their connections to Goldman-Sachs, Trump has named three five people to senior advisory or cabinet positions who worked directly for the infamous investment bank: Steven Mnuchin, Steve Bannon,Gary Cohn, Dina Powell, Anthony Scaramucci, and one more - Walter "Jay" Clayton - who represented Goldman-Sachs and other big banks involved in the 2008 financial crisis. 

Mnuchin in particular represents the typical Wall Street establishment.  He was tapped into Yale’s Skull and Bones secret society, became a Goldman Sachs partner like his father before him, ran a hedge fund, worked with George Soros, funded Hollywood blockbusters and bought a failed bank, IndyMac, with billionaires including John Paulson. They renamed it OneWest, drew protests for foreclosing on U.S. borrowers, and ultimately generated considerable profits, selling the business last year to CIT Group Inc. for $3.4 billion.

Reince Priebus - a long-time Republican party functionary - who has been tapped for Chief of Staff brings into the cabinet the sort of political establishment that Trump openly derides.  Additionally, Trump's pick for Transportation secretary, Elaine Chao - wife of Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell - has been a fixture of the Republican establishment in Washington for almost two decades.

In fact, despite promises to the contrary, the administration has been host to the typical "revolving door" of lobbyists. Marcus Peacock worked briefly in the Office of Management and Budget, but has left for the Business Roundtable, a major lobby. Peacock would have been banned from lobbying for five years, but he was granted a waiver from Trump’s rules. Scott Gottlieb, Trump’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, has received millions of dollars from drug companies covered by the FDA over the years. Gottlieb plans to recuse himself from decisions involving multiple drugmakers, including giants Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline. Chad Wolf is the chief of staff for the Transportation Safety Administration, but until he took that job was a lobbyist for a company seeking to have its baggage-scanning device approved by TSA, a deal that could be worth $500 million. Michael Catanzaro is Trump’s top energy adviser, in which capacity he is working to roll back Obama-era emissions rules that he previously lobbied against on behalf of energy companies. Geoff Burr has been hired as a special assistant at the Labor Department. He was previously a lobbyist for a construction-industry trade group, lobbying the department where he now works for things like looser safety regulations and wage rules.

In late November 2016, General Michael Flynn - Trump's pick for National Security Adviser - was revealed as having mismanaged classified information and circumvented other security policies while at the Defense Intelligence Agency.  In February and March 2017, it was discovered that both Mike Pence and EPA director Scott Pruitt used personal emails to conduct official business while representing their respective state governments. Trump hounded Hillary Clinton for similar practices during his campaign and made them a key issue that likely affected the election outcome to a significant degree.

Flynn resigned in scandal after less than a month in his position due to revelations that he had direct consultations with Russian government officials regarding sanctions while working on Trump's transition team.

Trump's pick for Secretary of State, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, is known to have business interests with Russia which could affect the performance of his duties. In April 2017, these interests were made concrete when Exxon applied to the Department of the Treasury for a waiver to resume a business venture with Russia that was preempted by the Obama administrations sanctions against Russia. Additionally, Exxon is currently entangled in tax lawsuits with the federal government; another area where Tillerson's interests could become problematic.

Both Tillerson and Flynn's ties and dealings with Russia provide part of the backdrop for ongoing speculation about Trump's ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin. As of February 2017, FBI agents based in Washington are pursuing leads from informants, foreign communications intercepts, and financial transactions by Russian individuals and companies who are believed to have links to Trump associates. The controversy over Trump campaign officials contacts with Russian officials continued into March 2017 when it was revealed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, in addition to Mike Flynn, had met with Russian officials during the course of the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, is also facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia and possible money laundering through real estate deals.  These revelations fueled increasing calls for investigations by Congress and prompted Sessions to recuse himself from any investigations. A revelation in April 2017 deepened the web of Russian connections when it was revealed that Erik Prince, brother of Betsy DeVos, established a back channel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Trump.

Congressman Tom Price, Trump's pick for Health and Human Services secretary, has been scrutinized for apparent use of his position in various health industry related committees for financial gain in the stock market, although Price has announced plans to divest from his various business and investment activities to reduce conflict of interest; as of mid-February 2017 this has not yet happened.

In January 2017, Trump offered Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi a position in his administration. Bondi was the recipient of an illegal campaign contribution made by the Trump Foundation at a time when Bondi's department was deliberating on whether to press fraud charges against Trump University.  Trump and Bondi both claimed there was no connection.

Notably, the Office of Government Ethics - an independent agency within the executive branch of the U.S. Federal Government which is responsible for directing executive branch policies relating to the prevention of conflicts of interest on the part of Federal executive branch officers and employees - has had unusual difficulty communicating with the Trump transition team. A lack of vetting of Trump's cabinet appointments by the OGE prior to Senate confirmation hearings would be the first since the agency was formed in 1978. At the behest of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Elijah Cummings the U.S. Government Accountability Office is reviewing Donald Trump’s presidential transition, focusing on funding, ethics and communications with foreign governments and is expected to report by June 2017.

Moreover, Trump himself has many potential conflicts of interest (see also Sunlight Foundation and these charts), not the least of which is that his continued participation in his global businesses may run afoul of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution. Incomplete measures were taken initially to create a "blind trust" and assign it to his family (ref2). He has direct investment interests in the DAPL project over which he will have direct authority to make decisions.  Additionally, Trump has a history of questionable business practices, has apparently used his campaign to funnel money to his businesses, and now stands to make money off of his Secret Service protection's use of his private transportation and offices. Finally, his new hotel in Washington D.C. has an explicit clause as part of the lease from the General Services Administration that stipulates that the lease can’t benefit a government official which implies that Trump is in violation of government ethics rules from the moment he sweared in. 

In January 2017 during his first press conference since the election, Trump's team described in more detail the structure of the trusts and arrangements that appear to limit Trumps direct involvement in his businesses. It can be argued, however, that his plan is completely devoid of any public oversight and amounts to a statement of "trust us." As of mid-February, 2017, Trump has not completed any legal transactions to remove himself from his business interests. In fact, Trump's sons continue to work to expand the Trump brand overseas, including business trips that incurred thousands of dollars worth of hotel and other accommodations for the required Secret Service detail. Furthermore, it was revealed in April 2017 that the trust arrangements effectively allow Trump to participate in his business and transfer funds at will, an apparent change from the initial trust certification documents.

Also in February, after initial jabs sent to China over the South China Sea and trade, Trump changed course and endorsed the "one China" policy, a unification theme maintained by mainland China with reference to Taiwan. Curiously, several days later China approved a 10-year trademark for construction services in China under Trump's name - one of dozens of such trademarks approved by China in an uncharacteristically swift manner. Regardless of whether the two events were directly correlated, this incident highlights the ethical conflicts of Trump maintaining direct ties to his businesses while in public office.

The conflicts of interest don't stop with Trump himself. In November 2016, Ivanka Trump, who has no official standing in Trump's government but who does have personal business deals pending in Japan, participated in a meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  This wasn't the first meeting in which Trump brought along family for meetings with foreign dignitaries and it sets a precedent for poor ethical conduct. Controversy over Ivanka Trump's business erupted in February 2017 when press secretary Sean Spicer, counselor Kellyanne Conway, and Trump himself made public pronouncements while acting in an official capacity promoting or otherwise defending Ivanka Trump's retail clothing line. And, like Trump himself, Ivanka Trump's business interests received trademark approvals from China, shortly after her having met with the Chinese president in April 2017.

In January 2017, Trump named his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to be the senior White House adviser working on trade and the Middle East. His appointment raises questions about federal anti-nepotism laws that were enacted in response to John F. Kennedy appointing his brother as Attorney General.

Finally, in December 2016, Trump minimized his use of the phrase "drain the swamp," with former House speaker Newt Gingrich confiding that Trump no longer wants to use the phrase. (Trump disputed this and Gingrich soon after recanted)

Trump's fourth bill signed into law in February 2017 was a measure to strip language from the Dodd-Frank financial reforms that required the energy extraction industry to disclose payments made to foreign governments. Removal of this rule effectively turns a blind eye to bribery committed by oil companies which is made all the more complicated by the composition of Trump's cabinet, many of whom have direct ties to the oil industry. Coming on the heels of confirmation of Exxon executive Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State and continuing exposure of ties between Trump's cabinet and Russia, passage of this law is troubling from an ethics standpoint.

In March, 2017, the Trump administration abruptly fired 46, independent district attorneys in the employ of the Justice Department including one, Preet Bharara, who was known to be an aggressive and successful prosecutor working in the New York City area. The dismissal of these attorneys without naming their successors effectively interrupted multiple open investigations and degraded the ability of the Justice Department to address cases. In particular, Bharara in the past has gone aggressively after Wall Street and other New York area politicians, raising suspicions that his his dismissal could be related to cases including one against Fox News and possibly another against Trump or his administration including HHS Secretary Tom Price..

In April 2017, the Trump administration discontinued the open.gov portal that contained such information as White House visitor logs and salary information for Executive branch employees. Trump himself has used this information to criticize the Obama administration but now cites "security" concerns in removing the information. The move was widely seen as a move towards a less transparent government.

A recap of Trump's first 100 days shows a pattern of behest to corporate interests, pay-for-play governance, and disdain for the public sector.

Full Report
Last Updated
Replace Some Current Military Generals
Most recent update:

As of April 2017, Trump has met with many senior Generals but has not taken much of their advice to heart, let alone retired any of them.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce Middle Class Tax Relief And Simplification Act
Most recent update:

Congressional Republicans are also eager to pass tax reform, and their proposals share a lot of common ground with Trump's plan. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimated that the plan would cut revenues significantly.

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce End The Offshoring Act
Most recent update:

Trump has a lot of power under existing law to impose broad tariffs without getting approval from Congress, but it is possible he may want to do something that requires new legislation.

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce School Choice And Education Opportunity Act
Most recent update:

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce Restoring National Security Act
Most recent update:

Many of his defense priorities align with Republicans in Congress, but he is likely to face opposition from Democrats and from Republicans wary of increased spending and of Trump’s views on national security.

Although Trump's budget proposals have called for drastically increased defense spending, as of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce Restoring Community Safety Act
Most recent update:

Trump would need to galvanize support from a Congress in which many lawmakers believe that the tough-on-crime policies of the 1990s were counterproductive.

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce Repeal and Replace Obamacare Act
Most recent update:

Congress is unlikely to be able to repeal the entire law without a supermajority of 60 votes in the Senate, but it can eliminate parts of the law with a simple majority. Experts say repealing just select parts of the law could lead to market chaos and an estimated 22 million Americans would lose coverage.

After an initial meeting with outgoing president Obama in November 2016, Trump said he would like to keep the provision forbidding discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and to allow young Americans to remain on their parents' healthcare plans. His subsequent appointment of Tom Price - an outspoken opponent of the ACA - as Health & Human Services secretary appears to double-down on his campaign promise.

On his first day in office, Trump signed an executive order aimed at the Affordable Care Act that pushes agencies to target provisions that impose a "fiscal burden" on a state or a "cost" or "regulatory burden" on individuals or businesses. Although it is not a direct action to void the ACA, his action could erode certain core features of the law while it is simultaneously being considered in Congress.

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated
Introduce End Illegal Immigration Act
Most recent update:

If he is able to get Congress to fund the wall, Trump would still have to overcome a myriad of environmental and legal hurdles in order to move forward.

As of his 100th day in office, the Trump administration has introduced no legislation in this or any other matter.

Full Report
Last Updated