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Isaac Arnsdorf


Isaac Arnsdorf covers politics, influence and the Trump administration.

Before joining ProPublica in 2017, he covered lobbying and campaign finance at Politico. During the transition and early days of the Trump administration, his reporting included the rollout of executive orders, departures from ethics rules for lobbyists and law enforcement, and Russian influence efforts. Arnsdorf also formerly wrote Politico’s daily newsletter on lobbying, communications and the business of politics.

Arnsdorf previously covered energy markets in London and New York for Bloomberg News. His work has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The St. Petersburg Times (now The Tampa Bay Times), and The Seattle Times.

The Trump Administration’s Campaign to Weaken Civil Service Ramps Up at the VA

Firings surged at the Veterans Affairs Department last year in the wake of a new law. Now the president wants to replicate that legislation across the federal government.

What We Found in Trump’s Drained Swamp: Hundreds of Ex-Lobbyists and D.C. Insiders

For the first time, political appointee and federal financial disclosure information is publicly searchable.

The Trump Administration Goes to War — With Itself — Over the VA

Even before a searing report put the job of Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin at risk, some White House staffers were pushing a health care agenda at odds with his. The infighting has left vets frustrated, Congress confused — and a key piece of legislation stalemated.

What Happened to All the Jobs Trump Promised?

Since the election, President Trump has made 31 specific claims about companies adding or saving American jobs thanks to his intervention. We went back to see what’s become of those announcements.

White House May Share Nuclear Power Technology With Saudi Arabia

The overture follows an intense and secretive lobbying push involving Michael Flynn, Tom Barrack, Rick Gates and even Iran-Contra figure Robert McFarlane.

Trump Appointee Resigns After ProPublica Report

The Bureau of Indian Affairs official was overseeing a loan program that was in litigation over a loan guarantee he obtained while in private business.

Your $20 Million Loan Went Bust? The Trump Team Has a Job For You

A government watchdog found irregularities in a loan guarantee arranged by Gavin Clarkson for an Indian tribe. Now Clarkson is in charge of the program that is on the hook for the mess.

Robert Mueller Subpoenas an Associate of the Man Who Hired Michael Flynn as a Lobbyist

The special counsel wanted to question a Turkish businessman with interests in Turkey, Russia and the U.S. — and ties to people with criminal records.

How Jeff Sessions Misrepresented the Trump Administration’s Expansion of Military Supplies for Police

The attorney general mischaracterized Obama-era restrictions while citing a study that actually says new computers reduce crime more than heavy weapons do.

Lifting the Veil on Another Batch of Shadowy Trump Appointees

The administration continues to quietly hire political staffers — more than 1,000 so far, many of them regulating industries they previously worked for — but we’ve uncovered more identities. “The swamp continues,” says a Trump campaign official who is now a lobbyist.

Pro-Russian Bots Take Up the Right-Wing Cause After Charlottesville

Analysts tracking Russian influence operations find a feedback loop between Kremlin propaganda and far-right memes.

Who Is the Russian Lobbyist Who Met With Donald Trump Jr.?

Rinat Akhmetshin once worked for military intelligence in the former Soviet Union. He says he’s long retired from that work, but some American officials suspect he still has ties to Russian intelligence.

The ‘International Man of Mystery’ Linked to Flynn’s Lobbying Deal

Dmitri “David” Zaikin made Russian energy deals with powerful officials, advised Eastern European parties drifting toward Russia, brokered condos at Toronto’s Trump Tower, and teamed up with the guy who hired Michael Flynn.

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