The presidency of Donald Trump began at noon EST on January 20, 2017, the day that Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, succeeding Barack Obama. Trump, a Republican, was a businessman from New York City at the time of his victory in the 2016 presidential election over Democrat Hillary Clinton. His running mate, former Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, took office as the 48th Vice President of the United States on the same day. At age 70, Trump is the oldest person to assume the presidency, and the first without prior government or military experience. Trump's term in office is set to end on January 20, 2021, and he is eligible to be elected to a second term.
During his time in office, Trump has issued several consequential presidential orders and memoranda, including Executive Order 13769, which suspended the admission of refugees into the United States. Trump also nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and has appointed numerous executive branch officials. Several of Trump's nominees, including Gorsuch, remain before the United States Senate.
The Republican ticket of businessman Donald Trump of New York and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana won the 2016 election, defeating the Democratic ticket of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of New York and Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. Trump won 304 electoral votes compared to Clinton's 227, though Clinton won a plurality of the popular vote.
Trump is the fifth person to win the presidency but lose the popular vote, after John Quincy Adams (1824), Rutherford B. Hayes (1876), Benjamin Harrison (1888), and George W. Bush (2000). Although Republicans lost a net of two seats in the Senate elections and six seats in the House elections, they maintained their majorities in both houses for the 115th Congress. Trump claimed that massive amounts of voter fraud in Clinton's favor occurred during the election, and he called for a major investigation after taking office.
After the election, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky retained his position as Senate Majority Leader, while Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York replaced the retiring Harry Reid of Nevada as Senate Minority Leader. Democrat Nancy Pelosi retained her position as House Minority Leader, while Republican Paul Ryan retained his position as Speaker of the House.
Days after the presidential election, Trump announced that he had selected RNC Chairman Reince Priebus as his Chief of Staff, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. Priebus and Senior Counselor Steve Bannon were named as "equal partners" within the White House power structure, although Bannon will not be a member of the Cabinet. Aside from the vice president and the chief of staff, the remaining Cabinet-level positions require Senate confirmation.
On November 18, Trump announced his first Cabinet designee, choosing Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for the position of Attorney General. Trump continued to name designees for various positions in November, December, and January. Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue was announced as the nominee for Secretary of Agriculture on January 19, completing Trump's initial slate of Cabinet nominees. Trump is the first incoming president to benefit from the 2013 filibuster reform, which eased the use of cloture on executive and lower-level judicial nominees, reducing the amount required to invoke from an absolute supermajority of three-fifths to a bare majority.
By February 8, 2017, President Trump had fewer cabinet nominees confirmed than any other president except George Washington by the same length of time into his presidency. On February 8, 2017, President Trump formally announced his cabinet structure, elevating the Director of National Intelligence and Director of the CIA to cabinet level. The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, which had been added to the cabinet added by Obama in 2009, was removed from the cabinet. Once all cabinet positions are filled, Trump's cabinet will consist of 24 members – the most since Bill Clinton.
The following have been named as Cabinet appointees by the President. For other high-level positions, see the list of Donald Trump political appointments.
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP
WHITE HOUSE STAFF
President Trump's White House Staff PDF
Chief of Staff - Reince Priebus - head of the RNC
Deputy Assistant to the President and Senior Adviser to the Chief of Staff - Sean Cairncross - Republican National Committee Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Executive Director and General Counsel to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for two cycles (2009-2012)
Director of the Office of Chief of Staff - Michael Ambrosini
Special Assistant to the President and Executive Assistant to the Chief of Staff - Mallory Hunter
Deputy Chief of Staff - Katie Walsh - Chief of Staff at the Republican National Committee
Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations - Joe Hagin - Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations in the George W. Bush White House
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy - Rick Dearborn – former top aide to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R- AL) and nominee for Attorney General
Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President - Stephen K. Bannon - Executive Chairman of Breitbart News Network
Senior White House Advisor - Jared Kushner – Son-in-law; CEO of Kushner Companies and publisher of the New York Observer
Special Assistant to the President and Assistant to the Senior Advisor - Avrahm (Avi) Berkowitz
Assistant to the President and Senior Advisor to the President for Policy - Stephen Miller - Responsible for directing White House policy staff, managing speechwriting functions, and working to ensure the enactment of the President’s policy agenda. Served throughout as the campaign’s chief speechwriter, and is currently the policy director for the President-elect’s Transition Team; served as a key advisor to several members of Congress, including U.S. Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions, and served in senior leadership roles on both the Senate Budget Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee.
Office of the Senior Advisor to the President for Policy, Staff Announcements:
Director of Policy and Inter-agency Coordination - Carlos Diaz-Rosillo - has been serving on the President-elect’s Transition Team as Policy Implementation Executive Authority Advisor and White House Lead. He has been a member of the faculty of government at Harvard University for more than eight years.
Advisor for Policy, Strategy and Speechwriting - Vince Haley - longtime associate of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He served as policy director and later campaign manager of Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign. During the President-elect’s campaign, Mr. Haley developed ethics reform policies.
Advisor for Policy, Strategy and Speechwriting - Ross Worthington - longtime aide to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He served as research director for Gingrich, deputy communications director for Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign and later as Gingrich’s primary writer. During the campaign, Mr. Worthington, together with Mr. Vince Haley, worked to formulate and communicate policies that advanced the Trump agenda.
Advisor for Policy Development and Speechwriting - Ryan Jarmula - served as a member of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s staff for a number of years. As a member of then-Congressman Pence’s Capitol Hill office, he handled a variety of issues including foreign affairs, and later served Pence in his capacity
as Governor of the State of Indiana as Policy Director for Veterans Affairs and most recently as Speechwriter. During the campaign, Mr. Jarmula worked on Stephen Miller’s staff and had an active role in policy development.
Advisor for Policy - Entrepreneurship, Economic Growth and the
Empowerment of Women - Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs partner, and previously served as the chief of the personnel office in the White House under President George W. Bush.
Special Assistant to the Senior Advisor - Robert Gabriel - served as policy advisor on the President-elect’s campaign and assisted the National Policy Director in policy development, speechwriting functions, and staff management.
Director of Strategic Initiatives - Chris Liddell - previously a CFO at Microsoft and General Motors, as well as the executive director of Mitt Romney’s 2012 transition planning team.
Domestic Policy Council
Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council - Andrew Bromberg - worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2009, including serving as the Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Health and Science. He later served as Policy Advisor and Counsel on Nominations for Senator Mitch McConnell. He worked as the Policy Director for the 2016 Republican Party Platform. He now works in a lead policy and administrative role on the Presidential Transition Team.
Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Director of Budget
Policy - Paul Winfree - Director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, the Center for Data Analysis and the Richard F. Aster Research Fellow, all at The Heritage Foundation. Prior to joining Heritage, Mr. Winfree was the Director of Income Security on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget.
Healthcare Policy - Katy Talento - an infectious disease epidemiologist with nearly 20 years of experience in public health and health policy, as well as government oversight and investigations and program evaluation, served on the campaign since July 2016. Ms. Talento has spent 12 years in the U.S. Senate, working for five Senators and two committees.
Urban Affairs and Revitalization - Ja’Ron K. Smith - served as a Congressional staff member for nearly a decade. Smith served the House Republican Conference legislative staff under then-Chairman Mike Pence prior to joining the Republican Study Committee to serve on the professional policy staff under Congressman Jim Jordan. He later served as Economic Advisor to Senator Tim Scott and currently works as the Director of External Affairs for Generation Opportunity.
Education Policy - Rob Goad - currently serves on the Presidential Transition as the education lead for the implementation of the President-elect’s education policy agenda. Prior to developing education policy for the President-elect’s successful campaign, Mr. Goad served as a Senior Policy Advisor to House Policy Committee Chair Luke Messer focusing on education issues. He also played a pivotal role advancing school choice policies as Director of the Congressional School Choice Caucus.
Justice and Homeland Security Policy - John Zadrozny - worked for the past six years on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for Senator Ted Cruz. Prior to working on Capitol Hill, he served in the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Department of State.
Regulatory Reform, Legal and Immigration Policy - Zina Bash - currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Operations and Business Development at Doctors’ Hospital at Renaissance.. Her previous positions include Deputy Director of Policy and Communications for Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign and Senior Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee in Senator John Cornyn’s office. Ms. Bash also practiced law as an appellate attorney at international law firm Gibson Dunn, & Crutcher LLP. Ms. Bash also served as a law clerk to Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S.. Supreme Court and Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
Senior Policy Analyst - Peter White -has worked at the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission. Most recently, Mr. White served as Legislative Counsel for Congressman Mo Brooks. Licensed to practice law in the District of Columbia, Mr. White is an active member of the Federalist Society and performs pro bono legal for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless.
Assistant to the President and White House Counsel – Donald F. McGahn - Partner at Jones Day in Washington, DC, and has specialized in political law, including government ethics; served as a member of the FEC five years, during which he served as both chairman and vice chairman)
Counselor to the President - Kellyanne Conway - founder and owner of The Polling Company, inc./WomanTrend, a polling and research firm that for 21 years has served leading political figures, nonprofits and companies.
Assistant to the President and Director of Legislative Affairs - Marc Short - Previously worked as a top operative running the expansive political network of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, is a longtime adviser to Pence. He was chief of staff to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas and Pence, when he was in the House. During the 2016 campaign, Short worked as an adviser for Sen. Marco Rubio during the primaries and later as a senior adviser for Pence during the general election.
Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs - Alexander Angelson
Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel - John DeStefano - Longtime political aide to former House Speaker John Boehner who helped the RNC build a 2016 voter file and political database.
Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison - Omarosa Manigault - Contestant on The Apprentice, and worked in the office of Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration.
Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives - Reed Cordish - principal and partner of the Cordish Companies and president of Entertainment Consulting International.
Assistant to President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President - Josh Pitcock - Long-time aide who most recently served as Indiana’s lobbyist in Washington.
Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary - Rob Porter - Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch’s chief of staff.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Oval Office Operations - Keith Schiller - Trump's security chief for the last 16 years and a retired NYPD detective.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Advance - George Gigicos - He was Donald Trump’s director of advance operations. Founded and became president of Telion Corp. The company associated with political and religious entities, associations, corporations and with the government to successfully assist in the management of their conferences, meetings, incentive programs and special events. The company’s expertise in communication strategies, crisis management, VIP and political advance operations and logistical support further assists their clients in being relevant.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Political Director - Bill Stepien - Former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Christie during the George Washington Bridge scandal.. He later became national field director for Trump’s presidential campaign.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary - Bill McGinley - A partner at law firm Jones Day.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs - Justin Clark - Deputy national political director of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign/
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff to the Vice President - Jen Pavlik - Worked as an aide to Pence during his time in Congress and as Indiana’s governor.
Special Assistant to the President and Personal Aide to the President - John McEntee - A production assistant at Fox News before joining the Trump campaign in 2015. He served as campaign trip director, overseeing preparations for campaign events.
Executive Assistant to the President - Madeleine Westerhout – Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the Republican National Committee.
Chief Digital Officer - Gerrit Lansing - Chief Digital Officer at the Republican National Committee.
Press Secretary/Communications Director - Sean Spicer - Communications director of the Republican National Committee since 2011, and chief strategist since February 2015.
Deputy Press Secretary and Adviser to the Press Secretary - Lindsay Walters
Deputy Press Secretary - Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who managed her father Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary - Stephanie Grisham - spokeswoman for the Republicans in the Arizona House of Representatives; prior to that, she worked as the spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.
Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary and Advisor to the Press
Secretary - Lindsay Walters - Republican National Committee spokeswoman.
Strategic Communications Director - Hope Hicks - Began working for the public relations firm Zeno Group. She then moved to Hiltzik Strategies in New York City. While at Hiltzik, she "began working on accounts related to Trump’s vast real estate, hospitality and fashion ventures." She then moved to the Trump Organization in 2014.
Social Media Director - Dan Scavino - Director of Social Media, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. June 2015 – Present; Director Of Development, Joe Torre September 2013 – April 2015; Executive Vice President / General Manager The Trump Organization. January 2003 – March 2013.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director - Jessica Ditto - Trump campaign's deputy communications director. Former communications director for Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Communications Director and Research
Director - Raj Shah - Currently the Research Director and Deputy Communications Director at the Republican National Committee and also the Managing Director of America Rising, a company that provides research to candidates.
Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations - Boris Epshteyn - spokesman for the inauguration planning effort; communications aide with the McCain-Palin campaign. While at the campaign, he was a key part of a rapid response task force which concentrated on issues related to the Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Special Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director - Steven Cheung,
Special Assistant to the President and Director of Media Affairs - Helen Aguirre Ferre - spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
Special Assistant to the President and Assistant Communications Director for White
House Message Strategy - Cliff Sims - founder and CEO of Yellowhammer, Alabama’s conservative news website; previously served as a communications advisor for the Trump campaign.
National Security Advisor -- Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, US Army, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (2012 – 2014)
Deputy National Security Advisor - Kathleen Troia "KT" McFarland - Fox News' national security analyst and contributor, host of FOXNews.com's DEFCON and FOXNews.com Opinions page columnist.
Office of the Director of National Intelligence – Director – Former Senator Dan Coats (R-IN) - Served for years on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and previously on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
National Security Council
Chief of Staff and Executive Secretary - Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, USA (Ret.) - Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers for U.S. forces under the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Senior Director of Strategic Communications - Dr. Monica Crowley - Foreign affairs and political analyst for the Fox News Channel. (Withdrew on January 16, 2017)
Homeland Security Advisor - Thomas Bossert - Currently a fellow at the Atlantic Council's Cyber Statecraft Initiative;" deputy homeland security adviser in the last year of the Bush administration, when he helped draft the federal government's first cybersecurity strategy; and o spent two years as the White House director of infrastructure protection policy.
National Economic Council:
Director - Gary Cohn - President, Goldman Sachs National Trade Council:
Director - Peter Navarro - University of California-Irvine Associate Professor, Paul Merage School of Business
Deputy Director for the Defense Industrial Base —Alexander Gray - Currently a member of the U.S. Department of State Landing Team for the Presidential Transition, focusing on Asia- Pacific issues. Previously, he served as Senior Defense Advisor to the Trump-Pence campaign, on Stephen Miller’s policy staff and working with Peter Navarro, helping to craft the campaign’s plan to rebuild the U.S. military and the defense industrial base. Mr. Gray has also served as Senior Advisor to U.S. Congressman J. Randy Forbes, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, focusing on defense industrial base issues and Asia-Pacific security.
Deputy Director for “Buy American, Hire American” - Rolf Lundberg - During the Presidentelect’s campaign and Presidential Transition, Mr. Lundberg worked underneath Stephen Miller and Peter Navarro, and focused his efforts on policies to reverse the economic injustice of offshoring and used his experience and insights to challenge special interests and support the President-elect’s “Buy American, Hire American” project. Mr. Lundberg was Senior Vice President for Congressional and Public Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, after serving as Assistant General Counsel and Vice President for International Relations with Marriott International, Inc. Mr. Lundberg served as Legal Counsel for Tax and International Trade to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, International Trade Counsel to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration in the George H.W. Bush Administration and International Trade Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.
Special Representative for International Negotiations - Jason Greenblatt - Chief legal officer and an executive vice president at the Trump Organization; he has advised Mr. Trump on a range of business and legal affairs, both domestic and international, for two decades.
Special Advisor to the President on Regulatory Reform - Carl Icahn – Founder and majority shareholder of Icahn Enterprises, a diversified conglomerate holding company based in New York City, formerly known as American Real Estate Partners. He is also Chairman of Federal-Mogul, an American developer, manufacturer and supplier of powertrain components and vehicle safety products. He will be advising the President in his individual capacity and will not be serving as a federal employee or a Special Government Employee and will not have any specific duties.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL STAFF
Assistant to President and Chief of Staff to the Vice President - Josh Pitcock - Long-time aide who most recently served as Indiana’s lobbyist in Washington)
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
Director - Rep. Mick Mulvaney (South Carolina) - Co-authored Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, which curbed and capped needless federal spending, and provided for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.
CABINET & AGENCIES
Secretary of Agriculture – Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue
Secretary of Commerce – Wilbur Ross - Chairman and chief strategy officer, WL Ross & Co.
Deputy Secretary - Todd Ricketts - Co-owner of the Chicago Cubs
Secretary of Defense – Gen. James Mattis, USMC - 11th Commander of United States Central Command, the Unified Combatant Command responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa and Central Asia.
Secretary of the Army - Vincent “Vinnie” Viola - Former U.S. Army infantry officer and current Virtu Financial Founder and Executive Chairman.
Secretary of Education - Betsy DeVos - Chair of the Windquest Group
Secretary of Energy – Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Secretary of Health and Human Services – Cong. Tom Price, MD (Georgia) Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - Seema Verma - (Indiana health policy consultant
Secretary of Homeland Security – Gen. John Kelly, USMC - United States Southern Command
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development – Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Interior – Cong. Ryan Zinke (Montana)
Secretary of Labor - Andrew Puzder - CEO of CKE Restaurants
Secretary of State - Rex Tillerson - Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil
Secretary of Transportation - Elaine Chao - Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute, former Secretary of Labor
Secretary of the Treasury - Steven Mnuchin - Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Dune Capital Management
Secretary of Veterans Affairs – Dr. David J. Shulkin - current Undersecretary for Health at the Department of Veterans Affairs
Director, Central Intelligence Agency – Cong. Mike Pompeo (Kansas)
Attorney General – Sen. Jeff Sessions (Alabama)
Deputy Attorney General - Rod J. Rosenstein - U.S. attorney in Baltimore and the longestserving U.S. attorney - sole holdover U.S. attorney from the George W. Bush administration who is still in office
Environmental Protection Agency, Administrator – Scott Pruitt - Oklahoma Attorney General
Securities and Exchange Commission – Chairman - Jay Clayton - Partner at New York-based law firm Sullivan & Cromwell
Small Business Administration, Administrator - Linda McMahon - Co-founder and former chief executive officer of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)
United States Trade Representative - Robert Lighthizer - Served under President Ronald Reagan as Deputy United States Trade Representative; Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee of Finance when Congress passed the Reagan program of tax cuts and spending reductions, and also aided in the passage of legislation which implemented the Tokyo Round of trade negotiations. He has also represented the United States at meetings of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and meetings related to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the precursor to the World Trade Organization). He has headed up the international trade law practice at Skadden, Arps Slate, Meagher and Flom.
United Nations – Gov. Nikki Haley (South Carolina)
China – Gov. Terry Branstad (Iowa)
Israel - David Friedman - Founding partner of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP
1Appointed by Barack Obama; term ends in January/February 2018, and Trump intends to "most likely" appoint a replacement.
2Appointed by Barack Obama; term ends in June 2018.
On February 13, 2017, Trump fired Michael Flynn from the post of National Security Adviser, making Flynn's the shortest tenure in the history of the office. The given reason for the termination was that he had lied to Vice President Pence about his communications with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, with whom Flynn had discussed lifting sanctions against Russia if Donald Trump was elected President. Flynn was fired amidst the ongoing controversy concerning Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and accusations that Trump's electoral team colluded with Russian agents. In May 2017, Sally Yates testified before Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism that she had told White House Counsel Don McGahn in late January 2017 that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials and warned that Flynn was potentially compromised by Russia. Flynn remained in his post for another two weeks and was fired after The Washington Post broke the story. Yates was fired by Donald Trump on January 30, two days after she warned Trump officials about Flynn.
On May 9, 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. In explaining his decision to fire Comey, the Trump administration cited Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email controversy. In firing Comey, Trump relied on a memo written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that criticized Comey for publicly announcing that the case involving Clinton's emails would not be prosecuted. Rosenstein argued that Comey overstepped his role and that the Justice Department determines whether a case should be prosecuted. However, many critics of Trump accused him of using Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation as a pretext for Comey's dismissal; instead, these critics argue that Comey was dismissed due to his investigation into the Trump administration's ties with Russia. Governance experts said that the firing of Comey was highly significant and abnormal, with the action raising concerns about checks and balances in American democracy broadly. Days after firing Comey, Trump stated that he would have fired Comey regardless of Rosenstein's recommendations, describing Comey as a "showboat." In a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the US, Trump asserted Comey was a "nut job" and that this would relieve pressure off of him regarding his relationship with Russia. In the aftermath of Comey's firing, various news outlets compared the firing to the "Saturday Night Massacre," a constitutional crisis that occurred during Richard Nixon's administration.
Jason Chaffetz letter to FBI over Comey Memo
Comey wrote multiple memos concerning his interactions with President Trump and in one Trump attempted to persuade Comey to abort the investigation into General Flynn. Director Comey would record a detailed memo during every meeting with President Donald Trump. One memo referred to an February 14, 2017, Oval Office meeting between Comey and Trump, in which, according to the memo, the president stated "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go." Comey made no commitments to Trump on the subject.
The Times reported that the memo, which is not classified, was part of a "paper trail" created by Comey to document "what he perceived as the president’s improper efforts to influence a continuing investigation". Comey shared the memo with "a very small circle of people at the FBI and Justice Department." Comey and other senior FBI officials perceived Trump's remarks "as an effort to influence the investigation, but they decided that they would try to keep the conversation secret — even from the F.B.I. agents working on the Russia investigation — so the details of the conversation would not affect the investigation."
Two individuals who read the memo told the Times that "Comey created similar memos — including some that are classified — about every phone call and meeting he had with the president." The Washington Post reported that two Comey associates who had seen Comey's memo described it as two pages long and highly detailed. The Times noted that contemporaneous notes created by FBI agents are frequently relied upon "in court as credible evidence of conversations."
Trump took office with a Supreme Court vacancy, which arose after the February 2016 death of Antonin Scalia. During his campaign, Trump released two lists of potential nominees to fill the vacancy caused by Scalia's death. On January 31, 2017, Trump nominated federal appellate judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch's appointment was confirmed on April 7, 2017, after a 54–45 vote. Prior to this nomination, 60 votes had been required for Supreme Court nominees to be moved to a confirmation vote over a filibuster, via invoking cloture. The 60-vote total previously needed to advance the vote was not met due to Democratic opposition. To allow the nomination to proceed, the "nuclear option" was deployed, requiring only a simple majority, 51 votes, for cloture for a nominee.
The United States courts of appeals have several vacancies and the United States district courts also have dozens of vacancies for President Trump to fill.
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Presidency of Donald Trump began at noon EST on January 20, 2017, the day that Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States, succeeding Barack Obama. Trump, a Republican, was a businessman from New York City at the time of his victory in the 2016 presidential election over Democrat Hillary Clinton. His running mate, former Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, took office as the 48th Vice President of the United States on the same day. At age 70, Trump is the oldest person to assume the presidency, and the first without prior government or military experience. Trump’s term in office is set to end on January 20, 2021, and he is eligible to be elected to a second term.
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