The Trump-Russia probe is making it hard for the White House to hire new staffers

Potential staffers are nervous about working for an administration tied to scandal.
(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

A day away from June, the White House has nominated just 117 people for the 559 "most important Senate-confirmed positions," Politico reports. Adding to the woes, the staff in charge of the hiring is running into an unanticipated roadblock: Potential staffers are choosing to stay away from an administration embroiled in an investigation into possible collusion with Russia.

"It's an additional factor that makes what was an already complicated process of staffing the government even harder," said one of Trump's transportation hiring advisers, Max Stier.

At least three potential hires in the past two weeks told one lawyer working for the administration that they are no longer interested due to the ongoing, and mounting, investigation into ties to Russia. "You're going to have a situation where [the Trump administration is] going to have trouble getting A-list or even B-list people to sign up," said the lawyer. The White House disputed such claims, with a spokeswoman saying the president is still getting people "of the highest quality" to join the administration.

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In addition to the search for a new FBI director, there are vacancies in second-to-the-top spots at the departments of Agriculture, Education, Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, and nominees for Commerce and Treasury deputy secretaries have both withdrawn. At this same point in Barack Obama and George W. Bush's first terms, both leaders had nominated approximately twice as many people as Trump has now.

"There's no doubt in my mind that people are being very cautious, to put it mildly," the lawyer said.

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.