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 TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE is considering replacing Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossHouse chairman threatens to find Justice official in contempt of Congress DOJ rejects Oversight subpoena unless agency lawyer is permitted to attend Third judge blocks citizenship question from 2020 census 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 McMahonFormer White House aide who mocked McCain joins pro-Trump super PAC Trump Cabinet down to three women amid administration turnover The Hill's Morning Report - Trump cleaning house on border security 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.

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 SessionsMueller report shows how Trump aides sought to protect him and themselves Trump: 'I could have fired everyone' on Mueller team if I wanted to Five takeaways from Mueller's report MORE on Wednesday.

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 WarrenOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Poll: Buttigieg surges into contention with Biden, Sanders MORE (Mass.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyBen & Jerry's backs Green New Deal: 'We have to act now' Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump, Dems prep for Mueller report's release MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerButtigieg says he wouldn't be opposed to having Phish play at his inauguration Sanders announces first endorsements in South Carolina Buttigieg to fundraise in DC with major Obama, Clinton bundlers next month: report 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.