President Donald Trump’s legislative affairs director is heading for the exits just as the White House gears up for a major Supreme Court nomination battle and approaches a daunting midterm election landscape.
Marc Short, one of the administration’s longest-serving senior aides and a frequent spokesperson for the president on television, is planning to depart by July 20, according to a person familiar with the plans.
About 20 career staff have quit the U.S. Treasury Department’s international affairs unit in less than a year, draining resources from a key office in the Trump administration’s escalating trade battles with China and Europe.
The wave of departures began in September, shortly after David Malpass – a champion of President Donald Trump’s protectionist message – took over the division. The unit employed about 200 people at the end of the Barack Obama administration.
A top National Security Council official who skirmished with White House aide Stephen Miller and other immigration hardliners was forced out this week, the latest staffing change at the NSC since President Donald Trump named John Bolton his national security adviser in March.
Jennifer Arangio, a senior director in the NSC division that deals with international organizations, was let go Thursday, according to a former White House official and a former NSC staffer. The former NSC staffer said Arangio was escorted off the premises and told her services were no longer needed.
The former White House official said Arangio’s just-the-facts approach put her at odds with Miller, a top Trump aide who favors restricting immigration, and others involved with the Domestic Policy Council, especially on the issue of refugees.
She had to go. She wasn’t towing the line on the Administration’s draconian immigration policies.
And while I’m not inclined to update the absurdly long master list, I am reminded of a New Yorker piece from last week, in which Susan Glasser described this as possibly “the worst-run White House of modern times,” in which “no one is really in charge.”
Late last month, Martha Joynt Kumar, a scholar who has tracked White House staff during the past six Presidencies, reported that the Trump White House has an astonishing turnover rate of sixty-one per cent so far among its top-level advisers. No other Administration she has tracked comes close. […]
The Trump Cabinet has been similarly tumultuous: Pruitt’s departure, on Thursday, adds to a list that already included a fired Secretary of State, a fired Secretary of Health and Human Services, and a fired Veteran Affairs Secretary, as well as a vacancy that was created when Kelly moved from the Department of Homeland Security to replace Trump’s fired first chief of staff, Reince Priebus. All together, Trump’s Cabinet has the fastest turnover rate of any Administration in a hundred years. Tenures are so short that Kumar is now reporting on the turnover among the second and third waves of aides. […]
It might seem self-evident, but it bears repeating: Trump, whatever else he accomplishes, will certainly go down in the record books as the worst manager of the White House in modern times. And not only is this state of affairs not normal, it’s no way to run even a small organization, never mind a country. A senior European official recently told me that every time he shows up at the White House there is a new aide to meet with him, because the last one he sat down with has since been cashiered or fled. As each successive wave of aides comes and goes, what little institutional knowledge remains in the White House is further diminished. In such circumstances, of course, nobody knows who’s in charge or what the policy is.
Two HHS political appointees who worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign were forced out this week in response to a series of inflammatory tweets and other behavior detailed in a recent POLITICO report.
Tim Clark, the agency’s White House liaison, is resigning and will depart the agency in the coming weeks, according to an internal email sent to staff and shared with POLITICO. He has been replaced by Trent Morse, who joined HHS from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Gavin Smith, a policy adviser who used his Twitter account to publicly mock elected officials and reporters, also departed HHS this week. Three individuals with knowledge of the situation said he was escorted from the building, but an HHS official said on Friday that Smith resigned.
Unfrigginbelievable. Our election systems are under attack, the mid-terms are in 18 weeks, and Jeffery Tricoli just walks away from the task force charged with protecting us?
If FBI Director Christopher Wray, who is ulitmately responsible for this task force, can’t get it together to protect the foundations of our democracy, he should step aside and let someone else do it. His oversight has been lackluster and ineffectual. We need a dynamo leading the charge to harden our election systems. But, instead, we have this:
The task force’s responsibilities include coordinating activities between the FBI and state, federal and private organizations, according to the [Wall Street Journal]. However, sources told the Journal that the group has not made much progress.
“So far there has not been a lot of substance yet from the task force,” a congressional intelligence panel staffer told the Journal.
Super hard to believe…and that there is absolutely no muscle put into the election probe is beyond all of us, right?!
I subscribe to WSJ (when there are the super deals) and am putting their article into this response, because they have a paywall. However, they are speculating as well. The timing of this Electoral task force - started in January, 2018, and McCabe was fired in 3.16.18, with Christopher Wray taking over 6.18 it might seem that FBI was in a bit of turmoil too.
By Dustin Volz
July 14, 2018 10:00 a.m. ET
A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests.
Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed.
Mr. Tricoli, an 18-year veteran of the FBI who became a section chief of the bureau’s cyber division in December 2016, didn’t respond to requests for comment sent to his personal email and LinkedIn account. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Tricoli’s status, saying the Bureau doesn’t discuss personnel matters.
The reason for Mr. Tricoli’s departure wasn’t clear. But it adds to questions among some tech companies and lawmakers about how much the administration, and the task force in particular, are doing to protect future elections from Russian meddling.
This comes as the potential threat from foreign interference was underscored by a new indictment Friday from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charging 12 Russians with a widespread conspiracy to steal thousands of emails from Democratic Party organizations and then ensure they became public in ways that would embarrass the Clinton campaign.
Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and author of a book about information wars on social media, said the Trump administration has shown little interest in addressing Russian meddling, leaving the FBI’s efforts to tackle foreign influence “reactive” instead of anticipatory.
The FBI, in a statement, said the task force has been forging ahead since it was created last year by Director Christopher Wray, though the Bureau declined to provide details.
“The FBI takes any effort to interfere with our democratic institutions extremely seriously,” it said. “For that reason, last year, Director Wray announced the Foreign Influence Task Force. Since its creation, the FITF has been an active, forward-looking task force.”
By bringing in representatives of FBI units and coordinating with state, federal and private organizations, the task force allows the Bureau “to share information and protect our democratic institutions from foreign influence,” the FBI said.
It wasn’t clear if a replacement for Mr. Tricoli has been selected. In January, Mr. Tricoli said publicly he was leading the task force alongside an unnamed counterpart in the FBI’s counterintelligence division.
Consider that Chris Wray’s role at the bureau was a tumultuous time at the FBI.
Is that the right kind of person to take on the most fraught job in Washington? If confirmed, Wray would become director at a tense time for the bureau. Trump has called the probe into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia “fake news” and “a witch hunt.” Critics say it’s anything but, while rank-and-file FBI agents are frustrated that their work is now perceived wrapped up in politics, not only because of the Russia investigation but also because of the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Then there are the usual stressors of serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official, overseeing some 35,000 employees and 50,000 investigations each year, most of which do not involve the 2016 election.
Despite his sterling reputation, Wray risks getting involved in the most intractable political fight in decades. “There’s an element of, Wow, what is he getting into?” says Jim Franco, a former college friend and roommate.
Or, as Roth puts it: “Would I do it [become FBI director]? Not at all. Would I recommend that anybody do it? No.”
Resignations today over the immigration issue and separating families.
Richard Jeffrey Danzig (former Navy)
David Martin Obama-era official
Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY)
Matthew Olsen Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
Several members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council reportedly resigned over the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies.
Four members of the advisory group, which is tasked with conducting research on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policies, announced their resignation in a letter to DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Monday, according to a Washington Post article published Tuesday.
The resignation letter reportedly said the administration failed to consult with the council before carrying out Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which was introduced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May. The policy resulted in the separation of hundreds of migrant families before Trump signed an executive order in June ending the separations.
“Were we consulted, we would have observed that routinely taking children from migrant parents was morally repugnant, counter-productive and ill-considered," the group wrote in the letter obtained by the Post. "We cannot tolerate association with the immigration policies of this administration, nor the illusion that we are consulted on these matters.”
Richard Jeffrey Danzig, who served as the secretary of the Navy under former President Clinton, was reportedly one of the four advisory council members who announced his resignation. He was joined by former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-N.Y.), according to the Post.
The letter was reportedly signed by **Obama-era officials David Martin,**who previously served as principal deputy general counsel at DHS, and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen.
There are reportedly 24 members on the advisory council, each appointed by the Homeland Security secretary for two-year terms. The council normally meets no more than two times a year, the Post reported.
Beck Dorey-Stein, who worked as a stenographer for the White House
A White House stenographer says she resigned over the Trump administration’s lack of respect for her office after President Trump reduced the roles of the White House position.
Beck Dorey-Stein, who worked as a stenographer for the White House during the second half of the Obama administration, told CNN’s New Day on Wednesday that Trump’s refusal to allow stenographers in the room for meetings and interviews with some journalists crossed a line.
“I quit because I couldn’t be proud of where I worked anymore,” Dorey-Stein said. “I felt like President Trump was lying to the American people, and also … not even trying to tell the truth. He wasn’t even going the extra mile to have the stenographers in the room”
Trump loyalist preferred and weeding out longstanding personnel is the goal in forming the new VA.
Ahead of Robert Wilkie’s likely confirmation to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Trump loyalists at the agency are taking aggressive steps to purge or reassign staff members perceived to be disloyal to President Trump and his agenda for veterans, according to multiple people familiar with the moves.
The transfers include more than a dozen career civil servants who have been moved from the leadership suite at VA headquarters and reassigned to lower-visibility roles. The employees served agency leaders, some dating back more than two decades, in crucial support roles that help a new secretary.
None said they were given reasons for their reassignments.
The moves are being carried out by a small cadre of political appointees led by Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke who have consolidated power in the four months since they helped oust Secretary David Shulkin.
The reshuffling marks a new stage in a long estrangement between civil servants and Trump loyalists at VA, where staff upheaval and sinking morale threaten to derail service to one of the president’s key constituencies, according to current and former employees.
Michael Barry’s departure is not yet a done deal – we’ll have to keep an eye on developments over the next few days.
This is a well-researched article – it includes a recap of recent departures from the NSC:
In just the last few weeks, there have been a slew of departures from the NSC. They include Richard Hooker, senior director for Russia; Jennifer Arangio, senior director for international organizations; Michael Bell, the top Middle East adviser; and Joel Rayburn, senior director for Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. James Sindle, director for Lebanon, and Air Force Colonel Kris Bauman, senior director for Israeli-Palestinian issues, have also left since Bolton’s arrival. The senior director for counterterrorism is currently filled by Chris Miller, who is serving in an acting capacity since retired Col. Christopher Costa left months ago.
What a shame. We are losing years of accumulated wisdom, experience and expertise. Furthermore, based on this administration’s abysmal staffing track record, I shudder to consider the caliber of the Trump cronies who will make up the replacements – or, in line with the way Trump has gutted other agencies, there’s a chance these experts won’t be replaced at all.
Three of the top cybersecurity officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation are retiring from government service, according to people familiar with the matter—departures that come as cyberattacks are a major concern for the country’s security agencies.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials warn that the country is at a “critical point” facing unprecedented cyberthreats, including Russia’s ongoing attacks on the American political system. The retirements also come as the FBI is facing regular criticism from President Donald Trump and his supporters, and is working to attract and retain top cyber talent.
Scott Smith, the assistant FBI director who runs the Bureau’s cyber division, is leaving this month. His deputy, Howard Marshall, also left in recent weeks. Mr. Marshall has accepted a job at Accenture , a consulting firm that is expanding its cybersecurity portfolio. Mr. Smith is also expected to move to the private sector.
Interesting turn of events. . . Is Kelly showing some spine? Or is there some other interpretation?
The Trump White House has moved quickly to force out a trio of staffers loyal to former, scandal-plagued Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation.
At least one of the axed Pruitt aides, spokesman Lincoln Ferguson, had planned to leave the EPA prior to Pruitt’s departure. But the White House Presidential Personnel Office, overseen by senior Trump aide Johnny DeStefano, expedited his resignation.
Senior EPA communications adviser Jahan Wilcox, who frequently clashed with the press and served as a top enforcer for his chronically-embattled former boss, was also asked to tender his resignation at PPO’s request. Hayley Ford, the EPA’s deputy White House liaison, was also pushed out earlier this month following Pruitt’s ouster.
Trump advisers quietly begin thinking about ‘life after Sarah’
Bill Shine, the newly appointed White House deputy chief of staff for communications, has quietly begun asking friends and associates for their opinions about who could succeed Sanders if she leaves in the coming months, according to two people familiar with those conversations.
Shine, in a brief interview, denied having such conversations. “I have not had a meeting or discussion about this,” he said last week, noting he had been on the job for only a short time. Shine praised Sanders and called her a “total team player."