Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: reports

Trump mulls replacing Commerce chief Ross by end of year: reports
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Trump administration planning to crack down on 'birth tourism': report George Conway on Trump adding Dershowitz, Starr to legal team: 'Hard to see how either could help' MORE is considering replacing Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossDesperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Trump scheduled to attend Davos amid impeachment trial Let's remember the real gifts the president has given America MORE by the end of the year, according to two media reports.

Trump is reportedly seeking to replace Ross with either Small Business Administration chief Linda McMahonLinda Marie McMahonSenate confirms Trump pick for small business chief On The Money: Senate chairman opposes cannabis banking bill | Panel advances Trump pick for Small Business Administration | Judge tosses NY state fraud charges against Manafort Senate panel advances Trump's nominee to lead Small Business Administration MORE or Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President Ray Washburne, according to a Friday report from CNBC.

Politico first reported Thursday that Trump was seeking to replace Ross with McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment who’s been friends with Trump for decades. She currently manages the federal agency designed to bolster financing for small businesses.

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Washburne, a prominent Dallas investor and top Republican Party fundraiser, currently leads OPIC, which helps U.S. firms invest in overseas projects meant to bolster U.S. economic and national security.

A SBA spokeswomen did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

An OPIC spokesman said “Mr. Washburne remains focused on implementing the BUILD Act and launching the new US Development Finance Corporation," a revamp of the agency enacted in September. 

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CNBC that there were "No personnel announcements at this time.”

Trump has said he plans to replace several members of his Cabinet following the midterm elections, and dismissed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsICE subpoenas Denver law enforcement: report Bottom Line DOJ inquiry tied to Clinton, touted by Trump winds down with no tangible results: report MORE on Wednesday.

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While Ross was of Trump’s earliest supporters, the president has reportedly soured on the Commerce chief. Trump has privately mocked Ross’s age, according to several media reports, and claimed he’s lost his edge as a dealmaker.

Ross has also been inundated with ethics complaints regarding official meetings he held with companies in which he invested. The secretary is under fire for meeting with top executives from Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier on issues before the Commerce Department while still holding stakes in those firms.

Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNYT editorial board endorses Warren, Klobuchar for Democratic nomination for president Trump rails against impeachment in speech to Texas farmers Biden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyParnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Sanders defends vote against USMCA: 'Not a single damn mention' of climate change The Hill's Morning Report — President Trump on trial MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerBooker ahead of Trump impeachment trial: 'History has its eyes on us' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial DNC announces new criteria for New Hampshire debate MORE (N.J.) on Friday asked the Commerce Department’s top ethics official for information regarding Ross’ meetings with those firms.

“Secretary Ross's decisions to meet with senior Chevron, Boeing, and Greenbrier officials while maintaining his investments in those companies raises questions about his compliance with federal conflict of interest criminal statutes,” the senators wrote.

Updated at 4:29 p.m.