Trump Criticizes House Republicans Over Move to Weaken Ethics Group

The president-elect sent out a series of tweets this morning.

January 03, 2017, 10:42 AM

— -- President-elect Donald Trump criticized the vote by House Republicans to put the independent Office of Congressional Ethics under control of the Ethics Committee — a move that Democrats slammed.

"With all that Congress has to work on, do they really have to make the weakening of the Independent Ethics Watchdog, as unfair as it.......may be, their number one act and priority. Focus on tax reform, healthcare and so many other things of far greater importance! #DTS," Trump tweeted this morning.

Trump chided the timing of the vote but did not outright call for the end of the Office of Congressional Ethics.

Trump's opposition to the vote is his first real break with Congressional Republicans.

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on "Good Morning America" today that she had yet to speak with Trump about the move, but said "there's a mandate" for the GOP to make "significant change."

"I haven’t discussed this with the president-elect directly but lets make clear that you're still going to have an office of complete review. In other words it’s not like were taking away everything," Conway told George Stephanopoulos. "Gutting it doesn't mean there wont be a mechanism."

Trump campaigned on the mantra of draining the swamp, but questions have been raised about his personal business conflicts as well as the interests of those he selected for senior positions in his administration.

In a statement, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reacted to the surprise vote by GOP House members.

"Republicans claim they want to 'drain the swamp,[' but the night before the new Congress gets sworn in, the House GOP has eliminated the only independent ethics oversight of their actions," she said. "Evidently, ethics are the first casualty of the new Republican Congress."

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