Government office investigating Trump’s transition process

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government office is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s transition team followed ethical guidelines, including a review if communications with foreign leaders and use of public money.

The Government Accountability Office agreed this month to probe the matter at the request of several Democratic lawmakers. The office told those lawmakers it will have a draft of its report ready by June.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland initially reached out to the GAO in late November, saying they were alarmed by reports of “chaos” and “disarray” in the early weeks of the transition between Trump and President Barack Obama. Their Nov. 26 letter noted concerns that Trump’s meetings with foreign leaders would benefit his Trump Organization, a global business empire that he led until stepping aside in January. He retains a financial interest in the company.

In its April 5 response to Cummings and Warren, the GAO outlined its investigation objectives. They include: a review of what ethics guidelines apply to the transition process; how was the Trump team using public money provided for the transition, and how much did it raise in private funds; what guidance did the Office of Government Ethics provide about conflicts of interest during transition; and how, if at all, did the government work with the incoming Trump team to communicate with foreign governments.

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On the matters of conflicts and foreign communications, the GAO will compare the Trump transition with those of Obama in 2009 and President George W. Bush in 2001.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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