The Russian probes swirling around the White House are having a chilling effect on the Trump administration’s attempts to fill hundreds of positions, according to a report on Wednesday.
The nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service said the White House lags far behind previous administrations in naming candidates for federal vacancies – former Presidents Obama and George W. Bush nominated twice as many in their first year, Politico reported.
The Trump White House has announced nominees for just 117 of the 559 positions requiring Senate confirmation.
The No. 2 positions at the Agriculture Department, Education Department, Department of Veterans Affairs and the Environmental Protection Agency all remain unfilled, along with dozens of top positions in other federal agencies, the web site reported.
Trump is still interviewing candidates for FBI director after firing James Comey on May 9.
And on Tuesday, Michael Dubke, his communications director, resigned after being on the job for just three months.
A lawyer who works with prospective political appointee told Politico that three candidates said the ongoing probes into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any collusion with Trump campaign associates have convinced them not to pursue jobs in the administration.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that people are being very cautious, to put it mildly,” the lawyer said, adding that it’s a problem that could leave the administration hard-pressed to recruit talented staffers.
“You’re going to have a situation where they’re going to have trouble getting A-list or even B-list people to sign up,” the lawyer said.
The head of the Partnership for Public Service, which is advising the Trump administration on hiring, said qualified candidates’ second-guessing working in the White House adds even
more pressure to an already stressful undertaking.
“It’s an additional factor that makes what was an already complicated process of staffing the government even harder,” Max Stier told Politico.