This Week in Conflicts: The Aftermath of the Mueller Report, White House Fights a Subpoena and an Investigation into Six of Trump’s Appointees


Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

This week, the aftermath of the Mueller report, the White House is fighting a subpoena from Congress and an investigation into six of President Donald Trump’s appointees.

President Donald J. Trump arrives on Air Force One to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., March 2, 2017. (Image Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Daylena S. Ricks)

Aftermath of the Mueller Report

A week after the release of the Mueller report, news organizations, politicians and President Trump continue to dissect, discuss and predict what will happen next.

In a new story, the New York Times explains how the report left a trail for the answer to the question everyone seems to be wondering: did President Trump obstruct justice?

“The special counsel stopped short of declaring whether acts by the president were illegal attempts to impede the investigation,” the story reads. “But his report is a detailed map to conclusions.”

NBC News takes a look at the report and what it says about two of President Trump’s children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka’s husband, Jared Kushner.

“Notably, the report contains revelations about a 2016 meeting between the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, incoming national security adviser Michael Flynn and a Russian envoy,” NBC reports. “ It also provides details about how the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and other members of the president’s inner circle reacted after learning about eldest son Donald Trump Jr.’s emails setting up the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians; and it confirms correspondence between Donald Jr. and WikiLeaks about hacked Clinton campaign emails.”

According to the McClatchy DC Burea, “The Republican Party has launched an elaborate multimedia effort to go on offense with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, advising state parties to attack Democrats as wasting the nation’s time and money by dwelling on the findings.”

The news organization obtained a packet of information sent to state GOP leaders by the Republican National Committee. The packet makes suggestions on how leaders should respond to questions about the Mueller report and provides talking points.

One of the suggested statements, according to McClatchy, said, “Democrats have spent the past two years on an overzealous witch hunt, rather than focusing on the issues that matter to the voters they are supposed to represent.”

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at the Prescott Valley Event Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore)

White House Fighting Subpoena

President Trump and the White House are fighting a congressional subpoena through a new lawsuit, Reuters is reporting.

The lawsuit seeks to block a subpoena for President Trump’s tax returns. In addition, “some Trump advisers have been told to ignore other subpoenas; and a request for Trump’s tax returns has not been fulfilled,” according to Reuters.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not meet this week’s deadline to turn over the president’s tax returns. Legal experts are speculating about what will happen next, but “House Democrats could vote to hold Mnuchin or IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in contempt of Congress if they ignore a subpoena, as a step toward suing in federal court to obtain the returns.”

In addition to fighting the release of his tax returns, President Trump has gone on the offensive on Twitter this week and one of his targets is Congress, as NBC News reports.

Donald Trump wearing a Make America Great Again cap during his 2016 campaign. (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons user Gage Skidmore)

Trump Appointees Investigation

According to the Washington Post, the Interior Department’s Office of Inspector General is investigating whether six of President Trump’s appointees violated federal ethics rules.

The inquiry “ is looking into senior Interior officials, including Assistant Secretary for Insular and International Affairs Doug Domenech, White House liaison Lori Mashburn, three top staffers at the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, and the department’s former energy policy adviser.”

At question is whether these individuals engaged with their former employers or clients about department-related business, which would violate federal ethics rules the president signed after taking office. The rules require “appointees to recuse themselves from specific matters involving their former employers and clients for two years.”


More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.