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Trump frees former aides from ethics pledge, lobbying ban

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump holds up his face mask during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus has eclipsed 400,000 in the waning hours in office for Trump. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, which included a five-year ban on lobbying their former agencies.

The ethics pledge was outlined in one of Trump’s first executive orders, signed on Jan. 28, 2017, as part of his campaign pledge to “drain the swamp.” It required Trump’s political appointees to agree to the lobbying ban, as well as pledge not to undertake work that would require them to register as a “foreign agent” after leaving government.

Trump signed the one-page revocation of the order on Tuesday, and it was released by the White House shortly after 1 am Wednesday, hours before his term ends.