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Playing politics

Trump's transition schedule faces ethics obstacles

The Senate's aggressive schedule of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump's high-level nominees is of "great concern" and may mean deliberations begin without resolution of some candidates' "potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues," the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) said in a letter to Senate leadership on Friday.

The Trump team did not clear any of its selections with the OGE in advance, so many ethics reviews are still underway. At this point in President Obama's transition process in 2009, eight of 15 Cabinet nominees had been reviewed. Currently, just four of Trump's choices have the OGE's approval.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) responded to the OGE letter on Twitter Saturday, saying no confirmation hearings should be held until reviews are complete and accusing Trump's picks of "drag[ging] their feet on ethics paperwork while their Senate friends try to run out the clock." However, because Senate Democrats used the "nuclear option" several years ago — requiring only a simple majority of 51 votes instead of the traditional 60 to break a filibuster of a Cabinet nominee — Warren and her party are unlikely to be able to delay any confirmations over ethics concerns.