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Trump: Ethics reform package will 'drain the swamp'
02:19 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Donald Trump is calling for ethics reforms in government

While hitting Hillary over her private email server use as secretary of state

Green Bay, Wisconsin CNN  — 

Donald Trump took his outrage over what he deems a “rigged system” a step further on Monday and called for a series of ethics reforms aimed at tackling corruption in Washington, including tighter restrictions on members of Congress and White House officials taking on jobs as lobbyists.

The proposals came after Trump began his speech here by accusing officials at the FBI and State Department of engaging in a “criminal conspiracy,” seizing on FBI documents released Monday that revealed that at least two officials at those departments allegedly bargained over reconsidering the classification of an email on Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

Patrick Kennedy, an undersecretary at the State Department, urged FBI officials to reconsider classifying an email found on Clinton’s server, prompting an FBI official to respond with a request for the State Department to approve the deployment of more FBI officials overseas, according to FBI files released Monday. The FBI did not declassify the email in question and there is no evidence that the purported “quid pro quo” amounted to a federal crime.

The proposals Trump unveiled on Monday would not have prevented the alleged collusion between the two departments, but appear to be instead aimed at undercutting the influence of special interests in Washington.

Trump called for enacting through legislation a five-year ban “on all executive branch officials lobbying the government for five years after they leave government service” and slammed former President Bill Clinton for nixing that ban at the end of his tenure, which he had himself enacted at the start of his administration via executive order.

“He rigged the system on his way out,” Trump said.

Trump also called for a similar five-year ban that would prevent members of Congress and their staff from becoming lobbyists and called for closing loopholes that would allow former government officials to skirt such a ban “by labeling themselves consultants, advisers and all of these different things.”

Trump called for an even stricter lifetime ban preventing “senior executive branch officials” from ever lobbying on behalf of a foreign government and called for Congress to pass legislation preventing registered foreign lobbyists from raising money for US elections.

The real estate mogul’s calls come even though his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort was a longtime Washington lobbyist. Manafort, who resigned in August, also worked to further the interests of foreign governments as a consultant – despite never officially registering as a foreign agent.

Trump offered up his ethics reform proposals as he pressed forward with his claim that he is competing “in a rigged election,” arguing once again – without evidence – that the media and Clinton’s campaign are colluding to destroy his candidacy.

“They want to poison the minds of voters,” Trump said of media outlets reporting on allegations of sexual assault and other unwanted contact that women have lodged against Trump in the last week. “It’s all false stuff, it’s all false stuff.”

“The media is an extension of the Clinton campaign,” he added.

Trump also again warned his supporters that “voter fraud is all too common,” even though instances of voter fraud are extremely rare.

Even supporters of the Republican nominee have sought to tamp down such suggestions, including Ohio’s secretary of state, a Trump supporter who is in charge of overseeing the elections in that key battleground state.

“I can assure Donald Trump I am in charge of election in Ohio, and they’re not going to be rigged,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said earlier Monday on CNN, adding that Trump’s comments suggesting the election is rigged are “irresponsible.”

“Are there cases of voter fraud? Absolutely. There are cases of voter fraud. But it’s rare and we catch these people. Most times we catch them before their vote is even counted,” Husted added.