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Stephen P. Vaughn is the general counsel to the United States Trade Representative. Before Robert Lighthizer's confirmation as USTR, Vaughn served as the acting Trade Representative.[1]

Stephen Vaughn
Stephen P. Vaughn.png
United States Trade Representative
In office
March 2, 2017 – May 15, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byMaría Pagán (Acting)
Succeeded byRobert Lighthizer
Personal details
BornPaducah, Kentucky, U.S.
EducationVanderbilt University (BA)
Yale University (JD)

Vaughn worked at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom representing U.S. Steel.[2] In 2016,[2] he became a partner at King & Spalding international trade group. He focused on international trade litigation and policy issues. He represented United States producers such as U.S. Steel and AK Steel.[3][4]

Vaughn started his career in commercial litigation and shifted his career to trade law in the early 2000s.[5] He was a professor of law at Georgetown Law School.[6]

Vaughn served on President Donald Trump's landing team to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Vaughn and official nominee Robert Lighthizer have worked together representing steel manufacturers in the past at Skadden Arps.[7]

On March 2, 2017, due to the U.S. Senate's delay in confirming USTR nominee Robert Lighthizer, Trump appointed Vaughn to the position of USTR general counsel and elevated him to acting USTR.[5] Vaughn's appointment was likely the first time that someone from outside the department was appointed as acting USTR.[5] These appointments did not require Senate confirmation.[2][5]

Vaughn's positions on U.S. trade policy have been compared to those of Alexander Hamilton and Trump.[5]

On April 22, 2019, the USTR announced Vaughn would resign his position in the coming weeks.[8]


  1. ^ "Biographies of Key Officials | United States Trade Representative". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  2. ^ a b c Palmer, Doug (April 27, 2017). "Stephen Vaughn, the Hamiltonian at USTR". Politico. Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "Profile Stephen Vaughn — Georgetown Law". Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  4. ^ "Trump makes Commerce pick; Boustany bids for USTR". POLITICO. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  5. ^ a b c d e Cassella, Megan (March 6, 2017). "Morning Trade: Lighthizer Ally Named General Counsel, Acting USTR". Politico. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  6. ^ "Profile Stephen Vaughn — Georgetown Law". Retrieved 11 April 2017.
  7. ^ "Trump packs trade team with veterans of steel wars with China". Reuters. 2016-12-13. Retrieved 2017-03-12.
  8. ^ "USTR names new general counsel to replace departing Vaughn". Reuters. April 22, 2019. Retrieved April 22, 2019.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
María Pagán
United States Trade Representative

Succeeded by
Robert Lighthizer