The Senate should refuse to confirm any of Trump's cabinet nominees until he makes full financial disclosures

The Senate should refuse to confirm any of Trump's cabinet nominees until he makes full financial disclosures

Yesterday evening, I was planning on writing a blog post on day 1 of Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearings. But I got distracted—to put it mildly—by CNN's report that both Obama and Trump had just been briefed on rumors that Russian Intelligence had compromised Trump, immediately followed by Buzzfeed's leak of a report prepared by an ex-member of British intelligence that goes into greater detail on the rumors that have been circulating. My head is still spinning from all of this, but I do have one thought. Bear with me, because this will take some unpacking.

First, it's important to emphasize that, while it appears many people in the US government are taking at least some of the allegations seriously, right now they remain unverified. Trump is clearly very close to Vladimir Putin. However, as of yet there's no proof that Trump and Putin's closeness is driven by bribery or blackmail, as opposed to a shared love of authoritarianism and kleptocracy. Nor is there hard proof that Trump secretly coordinated with Russia, as opposed to merely asking Russia to spy on his political opponent on national television, and perhaps taking some pointers from what's publicly available on Russian propaganda outlets. Furthermore, it matters not just what's true, but what you can convince a sufficient number of Republican members of Congress of.

That said, there is one very simple thing Trump could do clear up at least some of these rumors is release his full tax returns, which every presidential nominee since Ronald Reagan has done. This would at least allow Trump to disprove the rumors about his financial conflicts of interest—assuming they are indeed false. Given that only a few hours ago Trump took to Twitter to proclaim, "I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!" (all-caps in original), this seems only fair. If Trump refuses to do this, the Senate should refuse to confirm any of Trump's cabinet nominees until he does so.

This might seem like an extreme solution, given that as I've noted, while many of Trump's cabinet picks are pretty bizarre, others are more or less what you'd expect from any other Republican president, including Mike Pence, in the event that Trump were removed from office or forced to resign. But wouldn't it be embarrassing if the Senate confirmed most of Trump's nominees, only to have him beat William Henry Harrison's record for shortest presidency because he was blatantly committing impeachable offenses from day one? Removing a president from office is really hard, but given that all the normal rules of politics seem to no longer apply, the possibility of Trump beating Harrison's record suddenly feels very real.

So here's hoping the Senate has the sense to save itself from embarrassment.

Update: There's now a petition for you to sign.

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