In an embarrassing moment for the Trump Administration, Axios has obtained over 100 documents from the 2016-2017 presidential transition, which shows the negative comments made by Trump transition staffers about several individuals who ended up getting high-profile jobs in the administration.
Axios will show a report about the documents on its Axios On HBO show on Sunday night.
The documentation, the site said, “sheds light on the slap-dash way President Trump filled his cabinet and administration, and foreshadowed future scandals that beset his government.” It’s unknown who leaked the materials to the media outlet.
They are described as “political vetting documents,” from the president’s political team and what Axios described as “20-year-old RNC staffers”; that vetting is separate from FBI background checks of potential appointees. The transition documents contain several comments that indicate whoever authored them had a sense of some of the troubles to come.
Scott Pruitt, the scandal-plagued EPA Administrator who resigned last July after numerous controversies involving expenses and abuse of power, had an “allegations of coziness with big energy companies” section in vetting documents. Similarly, former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price, who resigned after controversy over his expensive jet travel, had references in his vetting reports to “criticisms of management ability” and “dysfunction and division” in Price’s prior role as a committee chairman in Congress.
Others were dinged in the documents for past negative comments about President Trump. Mick Mulvaney, who has had several jobs in the administration and is now White House chief of staff, once said that Trump is “not a very good person.”
Nikki Haley, who eventually served as ambassador to the United Nations, had once said of Trump that he does things that “we teach our kids not to do in kindergarten.” And Rick Perry, eventually appointed Secretary of Energy, had once said of the future president that the “toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness, and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition.”
There has been a massive leak of Trump transition vetting documents to @axios.
Trump's team considered it a "red flag" that General Petraeus is opposed to torture and that Mick Mulvaney concluded that Trump is "not a very good person." https://t.co/CMg7MrAvxq
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) June 23, 2019
The documents also expressed concern about former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s Russia ties, about the “white supremacy” of Kris Kobach, and about creepy office behavior by economic adviser Gary Cohn. And the documents for David Petraeus, who never took a job in the administration, listed it as a “red flag” that the retired general and former CIA director is opposed to torture.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was fired from his position as head of the transition team two days after Trump won the election. Per Axios, Christie was confronted with his own dossier, and read it out loud on the HBO show. The document included concerns over whether Christie, who once prosecuted the father of Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, could be trusted to get along with the younger Kushner.
Christie called what went on in the presidential transition “a monumental staff failure.”