Office of Government Ethics officials confirmed that four meetings with McGahn ultimately materialized, including one in person. In addition to McGahn, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who is now Trump’s top lawyer, Jones Day attorney Ann Donaldson took part. Jones Day, a private law firm where McGahn was a partner before going to the White House, provided Trump with legal counsel during his campaign.
In a statement, the White House described the meetings as “routine.”
The Office of Government Ethics and Trump, whose high-level political nominees often face significant ethics and financial divestment challenges, at first had no contact at all, routine or otherwise.
After Trump won the White House, Trump’s transition team all but ignored the Office of Government Ethics’ attempts at communication. Shaub at one point lamented that his office had “lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition” and that reaching McGahn was “proving to be difficult.”
Then the ethics office — a small, independent agency charged with preventing conflicts of interest in the executive branch — went Twitter-ballistic in a decidedly Trumpian fashion. Armed with interjections and exclamation points, the typically straitlaced @OfficeGovEthics account mock-praised the incoming president for divesting his business empire — something Trump didn’t actually do.
Had hackers commandeered the Office of Government Ethics’ accounts?
No. The tweets proved authentic, ordered up in late November by Shaub himself in hopes of steering Trump toward divestment.
The Office of Government Ethics meetings with the Trump transition team began soon after.