Conservative Controversies & Scandals

2017 Republican Scandals

  • Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump's former campaign adviser, approved campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page's trip to Russia during the campaign on the condition that he wasn't officially going on behalf of the Trump campaign. Page's trip is now the subject of an FBI investigation looking into the Russian involvement in the 2016 Presidential campaign.
  • Roger Stone, a top Trump campaign adviser during the 2016 campaign, claimed that he had a secret back channel with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the presidential campaign. Stone wrote in a now deleted Tweet that he “never denied perfectly legal back channel to Assange who indeed had the goods on #CrookedHillary." He then wrote in another now deleted tweet that he looked forward to people filing libel lawsuits against him by encouraging them to “[b]ring it! Would enjoy crush u in court and forcing you to eat shit – you stupid ignorant ugly bitch!”
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions had two meetings with the Russian ambassador during the 2016 election season, neither of which he admitted to during his confirmation hearing. When answering a question from Senator Al Fanken about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials Sessions said: "I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.” A spokesperson for the Attorney General said that "[t]here was absolutely nothing misleading about his answer." Update: Sessions reported that he has decided to recuse himself from any investigation involving Russia's involvement in the 2016 Presidential campaign.
  • Two federal campaign finance watchdog groups have accused Donald Trump and his campaign of accepting over $10 million in donations the night after his election and falsely reporting them as paying down the campaigns debt. The groups accused the Trump campaign of illegally taking in funds for his 2020 campaign to pay down his debts from his 2016 campaign.
  • Reince Priebus, Donald Trump's Chief of Staff, had a private conversation with FBI officials where he asked them to publicly refute media reports which accused Donald Trump's campaign of coordinating with the Russian government during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Priebus requesting the assistance of the FBI violated decades old rules that are meant to prevent the White House from having conversations with the FBI about ongoing investigations.
  • Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn apparently told the FBI that he did not discuss sanctions with the Russian Ambassador during the Presidential transition, which appears to be a lie since it was later discovered that he actually did discuss the matter with the Ambassador. Lying to the FBI is a felony which can carry a prison sentence if convicted.
  • Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump's choice for Labor Secretary, was accused of physically abusing his former wife in 1989. Lisa Henning, Puzder's now ex-wife, accused him of hitting her, throwing her to the floor, and physically preventing her from calling the police against him. Puzder later admitted to "grabb[ing] her by the shoulders and push[ing] her back," but denied he physically abused her and said he did those things to prevent her from hurting herself. Update: Puzder has withdrawn from being considered for Labor Secretary.
  • Kellyanne Conway seemed to violated the law by using her position as senior adviser to the President to publicly encourage Americans to purchase Donald Trump's daughters products. Conway was being interviewed by Fox News when she was in the White House briefing room and said “I own some of it. I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.” Update: The Office of Government Ethics asked the White House on Monday to investigate whether Conway violated longstanding ethics laws and suggested that she be disciplined if she did.
  • At least four of Donald Trump's top campaign top aids during the 2016 Presidential campaign had multiple contacts with various intelligence officials in the Russian government during the campaign. The FBI and then the NSA intercepted the communication between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence officials they were communicating with.
  • National Security Adviser Michael Flynn had a phone call with a high ranking Russian official during the Presidential transition and then lied about the topics that were discussed on the call to then Vice-President elect Mike Pence. Flynn claimed that he didn't discuss easing sanctions against Russia after Trump was sworn into office, but then backtracked and said that he couldn't remember if he did. Officials in the Justice Department warned the incoming Trump administration that Flynn was especially prone to blackmail, but those warnings were ignored. Update: Flynn has resigned from his position as National Security Adviser.
  • National Security Adviser Mike Flynn's top adviser was denied security clearance from the CIA, effectively making it impossible for him to do his job. There was no public explanation from the agency as to why they decided to deny security clearance to his adviser, Robin Townley, but it was approved by CIA director Mike Pompeo.
  • A Donald Trump supporter kicked and yelled racial slurs at a Muslim Delta Employee at JFK Airport in New York while yelling "Trump Is here now, He will get rid of all of you" at the woman. The Trump supporter was arrested and is now facing Federal hate crime charges for his actions.
  • Steve Mnuchin, President Trump's pick to be Treasury Secretary, is registered to vote in both New York and California. President Trump has said that people on rolls in multiple states prove his claim that there is rampant voter fraud in the United States.
  • Steve Bannon, President Trump's chief strategist and senior counselor, is registered to vote in both New York and Florida. President Trump has said that people on rolls in multiple states prove his claim that there is rampant voter fraud in the United States.
  • President Trump bragged that he received a standing ovation and multiple applause breaks during his speech at CIA headquarters, but the agency has reported that the first three rows in the audience were filled with paid staffers and other Trump loyalists who were responsible for the overwhelming amount of clapping.
  • Donald Trump is considering giving his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a job in the White House, which would almost surely violate a 1967 law that prohibits Presidents from hiring any family member, even those related by marriage, to a position in the Administration. Constitutional scholars have also voiced concern that Trump would still be violating the law even if Kushner were an unpaid adviser to the President. Update: Trump named Kushner as an "unpaid" senior White House Adviser who will oversee numerous projects including Middle-East peace, China, Canadian, and Mexican affairs. He is also tasked with reorganizing the Federal Government.
  • Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Education, failed to disclose a $125,000 political donation to an anti-union political action committee on financial disclosure forms she submitted to the Senate. DeVos made the donation to a Michigan Super PAC that was against a ballot initiative that would have enshrined workers collective-bargaining rights into the state constitution.
  • Donald Trump's campaign is accused of having back channel communications with the Russian government during the Presidential election. Russia apparently gave Trump stolen documents they had that had the potential to damage Secretary Clinton.
  • Donald Trump is handing the keys to his business empire to his two sons, which the Office of Government Ethics publicly called 'wholly inadequate.' Having his two sons - Donald, Jr. and Eric - run his business empire while he's President has the potential of creating countless conflict of interests because Trump will be enforcing rules and regulations that can directly impact his business empire.
  • Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of State, apparently lied under oath during his confirmation hearing when he was asked if he or Exxon Mobile had ever directly lobbied against sanctions imposed on Russia. Tillerson responded that he has "never lobbied against sanctions [on Russia]," and that "[t]o my knowledge, Exxon never directly lobbied against sanctions.” Committee chairman Sen. Bob Corker interrupted Tillerson and reminded him that "you called me at the time [Russia sanctions were being debated]."