The shaping of the government towards President Donald Trump’s personal wishes is continuing this week. Now, Jessie Liu has resigned from the Treasury Department after Trump punitively withdrew her nomination for the high-ranking department job of under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Trump seems to have withdrawn her nomination in direct retaliation for her leadership at the U.S. Attorney’s office in D.C., where she worked until Attorney General Bill Barr replaced her with a new office lead last month. Her purview while at that office included the Roger Stone criminal case, which Trump has been raging over because of an initial recommendation from prosecutors for a prison sentence of seven to nine years.
Liu does not seem to have commented publicly about her resignation, but it follows the withdrawal of every prosecutor from Stone’s case in apparent protest over intervention by higher-ups. After that initial sentencing recommendation for Stone, and after an angry Twitter tirade from the president, the Department jumped ahead of the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s office to shorten Stone’s sentencing recommendation.
Although it’s unclear what Liu could have possibly even done to change any outcomes in the Stone case let alone what personal role she had in developing the sentencing recommendation that set the president off, CNN notes:
‘While head of the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, Liu inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation and was also handling the politically charged case of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s ire… Trump’s decision to abruptly withdraw her nomination was directly tied to her former job.’
Troublingly enough, the night before Trump made his withdrawal of Liu’s nomination official, none other than Fox host Lou Dobbs railed against her on his show. Trump’s consistent public praise for Dobbs suggests that the infamous Trump defender essentially directly at least helped pull the levers leading to Liu’s nomination’s withdrawal. Trump may have acted because Lou Dobbs gave him the idea.
‘Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, who counts Trump among his viewers, on Tuesday accused Liu of softening her office’s case against a former Senate aide convicted in relation to sensitive leaks, and suggested that she had helped “cover up” his ties to the origins of the Russia investigation. Both of Dobbs’ claims were presented without evidence.’
Yet, those evidence-less accusations against Liu may have helped drive the president to abruptly withdraw her nomination for an important high-level position, the confirmation hearings for which had been scheduled to begin in days. The Trump administration has long been marked by this kind of dramatic turnover among senior staff members. So far, he’s had three national security advisers, two Secretaries of State, two Defense Secretaries, and an ever-growing cadre of “advisers.”
Going forward, as the latest development in a story which many have derided as destructive to the rule of law in the U.S., Barr himself has been announced as the new department lead on Trump-adjacent matters including the Stone case.