Axios has gotten hold of vetting documents from the Trump transition team and its cohort, the RNC, which even red-flagged the same things with which the Congressional impeachment inquiry might engage soon. Trump apparently hired people who were hinky perhaps because he wanted leverage. For example, while Wilbur Ross was a “hard Democrat” he certainly spent his time saying favorable things about Trump.
Nearly 100 internal Trump transition vetting documents leaked to “Axios on HBO” identify a host of “red flags” about officials who went on to get some of the most powerful jobs in the U.S. government.
Why it matters: The massive trove, and the story behind it, sheds light on the slap-dash way President Trump filled his cabinet and administration, and foreshadowed future scandals that beset his government.
- The Trump transition team was so worried about Rudy Giuliani, in line for Secretary of State, that they created a separate 25-page document titled “Rudy Giuliani Business Ties Research Dossier” with copious accounting of his “foreign entanglements.”
The RNC researchers identified some striking “Red Flags.”
- The first red flag for Rex Tillerson, who became Trump’s first Secretary of State, was about Russia. “Tillerson’s Russia ties go deep,” it read.
- One red flag for Fox News host Laura Ingraham, considered for White House press secretary: “Ingraham said people should wear diapers instead of sharing bathrooms with transgender people.”
- One heading in the document about Kris Kobach, in the running for Homeland Security Secretary, listed “white supremacy” as a vulnerability. It cited accusations from past political opponents that he had ties to white supremacist groups.
- Vetters had unique concerns about Gary Cohn. “Some Say Cohn Has An Abrasive, Curt, And Intimidating Style,” they wrote, citing a Bloomberg piece. “He Would Sometimes Hike Up One Leg And Plant His Foot On A Trader’s Desk, His Thigh Close To The Employee’s Face, And Ask How Markets Were Doing.”