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WASHINGTON (AP) — Elizabeth Warren says she’ll create a federal task force to investigate corruption during the Trump administration if she’s elected president.
The Massachusetts senator on Tuesday released a plan that her campaign says will “restore integrity and competence” to government after President Donald Trump. She said that an independent task force would operate within the Justice Department and hold the previous administration’s officials “accountable for illegal activity.”
Warren also plans to ask for the resignations of all Trump political appointees and void any federal contracts that “arose as the result of corruption.”
“The next president will need to have the energy, expertise, and vision to safeguard our country, rebuild the government swiftly, and make fundamental changes so that it works for the American people,” Warren wrote in an online post unveiling the proposal.
With the leadoff Iowa caucuses two weeks away, Warren is considered a front-runner in that state and nationally, bunched near the top of polls with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. All four have long decried corruption in the Trump administration, but Warren’s proposal seeks to provide a blueprint for how to specifically roll back Trump's influence should she win her party’s nomination and November’s general election.
Warren's campaign also notes, however, that the task force's authority would be limited in scope and that Justice Department personnel would have independent prosecuting authority, meaning the White House wouldn't be directing its work or conclusions.
Trump campaigned for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on a promise to rid Washington of corruption and to “drain the swamp.“ His reelection bid is built on the argument he's been successful in doing so.
Presidents can use executive actions to wield broad power over the federal government, including creating task forces. Warren's campaign points to previous examples, like when the Justice Department created a task force to investigate the 2001 collapse of energy giant Enron.
The senator has pledged broad structural changes to the nation’s political and economic system, but her plan for remaking the federal bureaucracy focuses more on the immediate logistics of governing. As part of it, the senator promised that her Cabinet will be at least 50% women or non-binary people and that she’d announce all of its positions by Dec. 1, less than a month after Election Day. She said her administration would fill all senior and mid-level White House positions by Inauguration Day next January.
Warren also vows not to employ current lobbyists in her administration. She says any former corporate lobbyists will be subject to a six-year “cooling off” period and non-corporate lobbyists will be subject to a two-year one.
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