On October 17, 2016, Trump’s campaign released a five-point plan for ethics reform that featured lobbying restrictions intended to protect Trump and his administration from corporate and other conflicting interests. The plan was famously titled “Drain the Swamp.” The then-candidate Donald Trump solemnly vowed at various rallied, “We’re going to end the government corruption…and we’re going to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C!”
Two days later, Trump was bouncing the motto around twitter via hashtag:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 18, 2016
Now — 13 months later — ten of those being in office, how has Donald Trump done? If we are to look at the turnover rate, he’s done remarkably well… until we remember that his administration has either lost to resignation or terminated 18 high-level members of its own team. Perhaps Donald Trump meant he was going to perpetually fill swamps and drain and them at arbitrary intervals?
“The number of White House officials currently facing questions, lawsuits or investigation is astonishing: Trump, being sued for violating the “emoluments clause” of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Paul J. Manafort, the second Trump campaign manager, indicted on money laundering charges in late October; Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government; son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company; and at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details or business dealings.”
Of course the indictment of Rick Gates and the unsealed plea deal of George Papadopoulos are omitted from the above. But then we must also remember that Robert Mueller isn’t anywhere near finished draining Trump’s self-made swamp.
Bloomberg Politics reported that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Kremlin-affiliated lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. and a host of other swamp-dwellers in June 2016 is going to be allowed to testify via phone at a court hearing about the meeting. Last week, Veselnitskaya told Bloomberg outright that the younger Donald Trump said that they would consider lifting various sanctions against Russia, “if we come into power.” She also expressed interest in testifying to special counsel “if asked.”
It appears it will be Robert Mueller who ultimately drains the swamp that is the Trump administration. And perhaps low-information voters will learn something valuable: Never trust anyone who says, “Believe me!” after every bold proclamation.