The Atlantic

Trump Thought the Rules Didn’t Apply—and Now He’s Paying the Price

The Trump administration decided early on that many guidelines were either antiquated or punitive, and is belatedly discovering that they were there for its own protection.
Source: Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Soon after Donald Trump became president, he began running into a whole set of rules about how government works, like demands that he divest assets or put them in a blind trust, and rules about whether he could hire family members for top jobs. For Trump, who had just won election while disregarding most of the rules of political campaigning, these rules seemed antiquated at best and punitive at worst.

The Trump team treated these rules and norms as artifacts of a hidebound and ineffective Washington, obstacles that had kept qualified, inventive people from the business sector out of public service on mere technicalities. The president-elect also clearly viewed the hue and cry of ethics experts—from Norm Eisen and Richard Painter to Walter Shaub—as efforts to delegitimize his presidency.

What the last few weeks, and especially the last few days, have

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