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white house

With President Trump's announcement that he plans to nominate Kirstjen Nielsen as homeland security secretary, he still has one more Cabinet post to fill — health and human services secretary. A president having to find replacements for two Cabinet secretaries this early in an administration is unprecedented. But observers are more alarmed by the less visible vacancies at the sub-Cabinet level: hundreds of positions without a nominee, and a president who says he has no intention of filling many of the jobs.

The federal ethics agency may be opening the door for anonymous donors to pay legal fees for White House staffers.

It could happen just as special counsel Robert Mueller draws closer to the White House in his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump campaign.

Several conservative and pro-Trump groups are said to be considering creating such funds to help White House staffers who may be interviewed by investigators, but who can't afford Washington's high-priced ethics lawyers.

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The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David Shulkin, joined President Trump’s opioid task force at the Cleveland VA Medical Center on Thursday.

Updated at 7:40 pm ET

Steve Bannon has lost his job as chief White House strategist.

The White House described the departure as a mutual agreement between Bannon and chief of staff John Kelly.

"We are grateful for his service and wish him the best," said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Updated at 10:24 p.m. ET

The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then announced Sarah Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.

In statements Friday night, Trump praised Scaramucci and Sanders.

The White House is showcasing products from each state as part of its "Made in America" week.

The list includes some iconic U.S. brands — for example, Gibson Guitars from Tennessee and Steinway pianos from New York. Vermont Maple syrup and California wine are on the list. American flag manufacturers are highlighted from two states (Utah and Virginia).

Some of the choices are less obvious, like wheel barrows from Pennsylvania and door hinges from Missouri.

Nepotism in the White House

Jun 14, 2017
North Charleston / Wikimedia Commons

President Trump's daughter, Ivanka, has an office in the West Wing and high-level security clearances. Trump’s son-in-law, and Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner, is a White House senior advisor. Despite an obvious conflict of interest, presidential nepotism is not new. 

 Today we examine the history of familial favoritism in the White House.   

The White House on Wednesday night released 14 ethics waivers — documents that exempt some top presidential aides from important ethics rules.

The disclosures came after a quiet but tough battle between Trump administration officials and the Office of Government Ethics.

The waivers are considered public documents, but for weeks after President Trump took office, they weren't made public.

In April, the Office of Government Ethics began to push the issue.

Updated at 10:08 p.m. ET.

The Office of Government Ethics has rejected a White House attempt to block the agency's compilation of federal ethics rules waivers granted to officials hired into the Trump administration from corporations and lobbying firms.

Even though President Trump calls the 100-days measure "ridiculous," the White House is still touting what one press release called the president's "historic accomplishments" — including 28 laws he has signed since taking office.

The Trump administration says it will not make public the names of those visiting the White House, reversing the Obama administration's policy.

White House communications director Michael Dubke said in a statement that the decision was due to the "the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually," NPR's Scott Horsley reports.

The Trump administration is lifting a federal hiring freeze as of Wednesday morning.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney announced the policy change in a briefing to reporters Tuesday.

Cautioning "this does not mean agencies will be free to hire willy-nilly," Mulvaney said the across-the-board hiring freeze the president imposed by executive order three days after taking office in January is being replaced with a "smarter plan, a more strategic plan, a more surgical plan."

Updated: 5:08 p.m. ET

The Trump administration's new budget blueprint aims to quantify the president's nationalistic agenda in dollars and cents. The plan, released Thursday morning, calls for significant increases in military and border-security spending, along with corresponding cuts in many other parts of the government.

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET

The Justice Department has asked for more time to respond to a congressional committee about any evidence that President Barack Obama ordered surveillance of then-candidate Donald Trump last year, as Trump has claimed.

Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET Thursday with Trump tweets

President Trump tweeted a defense of Attorney General Jeff Sessions Thursday night, saying Sessions could have testified more accurately about his 2016 contacts with the Russian ambassador, but that any discrepancy was not intentional.

Trump tweeted that the Democrats were creating a "witch hunt" to save face for having lost the presidential election.

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