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Some Trump nominees missing crucial ethics paperwork as confirmation hearings begin

PBS NewsHour

JUDY WOODRUFF: The last day has seen a rise in both concern over and defense of President-elect Trump's Cabinet nominees after news that some of them have not completed ethics reviews. LISA DESJARDINS: The president-elect walked out of Trump Tower with a business leader, Jack Ma of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, but his words were about politics and his Cabinet nominees. DONALD TRUMP (R), President-Elect: I think they will all pass. LISA DESJARDINS: That after Trump met with a key ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who dismissed concerns about vetting. MITCH MCCONNELL, Majority Leader: Yes, everybody will be properly vetted, as they have been in the past, and I'm hopeful that we will get up to six or seven picks of the national security team in place on day one.


Tillerson ethics plan foreshadows knotty Trump Cabinet confirmations

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Rex Tillerson's disclosure that he stands to receive a $180 million cash payout from Exxon Mobil Corp. if he becomes the next U.S. secretary of state offers a preview of the thorny ethical questions that may be raised this week over a presidential Cabinet stacked with wealthy tycoons. And with confirmation hearings scheduled for Tillerson and eight other appointees of President-elect Donald Trump, the head of the federal office that helps ensure compliance with conflict-of-interest rules told lawmakers his agency is hard-pressed by too much work and too little time. Tillerson ironed out an agreement with the State Department under which Exxon would pay the cash into an independent trust for him, a move designed to separate his financial interests from the oil company that he led as chairman and CEO until he stepped down Jan. 1. Some compensation specialists question whether Exxon departed from its official compensation policies to extend its former leader a special arrangement; the company says it hasn't. Regardless, Tillerson's ethics filing last week foreshadows the complexity that will attend a busy week of hearings.


McConnell tells Democrats to 'grow up' and just OK Trump's mega-rich picks without ethics review

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – Republicans on Sunday defended their party against Democratic complaints that Congress is being forced to consider nominees for Donald Trump's administration without completed ethics reviews. "All of these little procedural complaints are related to their frustration in having not only lost the White House, but having lost the Senate," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "I understand that," he added, "but we need to sort of grow up here and get past that." At issue is whether people picked by the president elect -- in some cases millionaires and billionaires with complex personal finances -- would face conflicts of interest when it comes to overseeing taxpayer spending. The Office of Government Ethics says in some cases the office hasn't received even draft financial disclosure reports for nominees appearing before Congress this week, when the Senate plans to hold at least nine confirmation hearings, beginning Tuesday.


Tillerson ethics plan foreshadows knotty Trump Cabinet confirmations

The Japan Times

Rex Tillerson's disclosure that he stands to receive a $180 million cash payout from Exxon Mobil Corp. if he becomes the next U.S. secretary of state offers a preview of the thorny ethical questions that may be raised this week over a presidential Cabinet stacked with wealthy tycoons. And with confirmation hearings scheduled for Tillerson and eight other appointees of President-elect Donald Trump, the head of the federal office that helps ensure compliance with conflict-of-interest rules told lawmakers his agency is hard-pressed by too much work and too little time. Tillerson ironed out an agreement with the State Department under which Exxon would pay the cash into an independent trust for him, a move designed to separate his financial interests from the oil company that he led as chairman and chief executive officer until he stepped down Jan. 1. Some compensation specialists question whether Exxon departed from its official compensation policies to extend its former leader a special arrangement; the company says it hasn't. Regardless, Tillerson's ethics filing last week foreshadows the complexity that will attend a busy week of hearings.


Amid ethics concerns, Senate confirmation process set to begin

PBS NewsHour

HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: For more on the confirmation process, I'm joined from Washington by NewsHour political director, Lisa Desjardins. Lisa, why is this back and forth happening this time? I mean, is the order traditionally different in how this process moves forward? There are some things happening this time around that have not happened before. Let's start with the logistics.