Elizabeth Warren strongly condemns Senate GOP for abetting Trump transition ethics crisis


Senator Elizabeth Warren took to Twitter to righteously protest Senate Republicans' attempts to railroad President-elect Donald Trump's unvetted Cabinet nominees through the confirmation process. As Trump protests that pushback from Democrats is partisan distraction, an ethics expert weighs in with agreement with Warren and her Democratic colleagues, saying Trump's transition has created an unprecedented ethics crisis.

Senate Republicans have been scheming to protect Donald Trump's Cabinet nominees from routine ethics scrutiny, and Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing back hard, rightly accusing Trump's nominees of "drag[ging] their feet on ethics paperwork while their Senate friends try to run out the clock."

In a statement, the Trump transition team denied charges that it is trying to shield compromised and unvetted candidates from ethics scrutiny, deflecting by accusing Democrats of playing politics.

Trump is, the statement read, "putting together the most qualified administration in history and the transition process is currently running smoothly." It is "disappointing some have chosen to politicize the process in order to distract from important issues facing our country. This is a disservice to the country and is exactly why voters chose Donald J. Trump as their next president."

To the extent that anyone voted for Trump based on his promise to rid Washington of corruption, this is exactly not why they chose Trump. Colluding with Senate Republicans to do an end-run around standard ethics reviews of incoming Cabinet members is an unprecedented escalation of corruption, not an attempt to eradicate it.

Ethics expert Norm Eisen, co-founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, bluntly tweeted that the "Trump transition is now in ethics CRISIS. Unparalleled in modern US presidential history."

He also recalls that, in 2009, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell took a rather remarkably different view on President Obama's transition, sending a letter to then-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid noting that not only ethics reviews and FBI background checks but "financial disclosure statements (and tax returns for applicable committees)" must be "complete and submitted to the committee for review prior to a hearing being noticed."

This is the very definition of politicizing the process. It is not Democrats who are politicizing the process by simply holding an incoming Republican administration to the same standards to which an incoming Democratic president was held, but Republicans who are fundamentally weakening those standards for an incoming Republican president.

It is indeed an unprecedented ethics crisis; it is an abuse of power; and it is a wholesale abandonment of good standards of governance.

We are a nation in crisis. And our president-elect is reveling in the chaos he has created.