I love the use of "transitioning".
Trump Dumps 3 Agency Leaders In Wake Of Election
November 6, 202011:50 PM ET
The Trump administration abruptly dumped the leaders of three agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, electricity and natural gas regulation, and overseas aid during the past two days, drawing a rebuke from a prominent Republican senator for one of the decisions.
The sudden departures included:
Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile. She was required to resign on Friday.
Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was replaced by the acting administrator John Barsa, who had run out of time for his more senior role under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was replaced as chairman, though he will remain at FERC, an independent agency, as a commissioner.
The firings were overshadowed by the prolonged drama of the presidential election, which as of Friday had not yet been declared.
The White House declined comment on the firings, and declined to say whether there would be more in the wake of the election.
The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. Jim Inhofe issued a statement criticizing Trump's Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, who he said "effectively demanded" the resignation of Gordon-Hagerty. (The NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency that is part of the Energy Department.)
Inhofe called Gordon-Hagerty "an exemplary public servant and remarkable leader" and said Brouillette's decision "during this time of uncertainty demonstrates he doesn't know what he's doing in national security matters and shows a complete lack of respect for the semi-autonomous nature of NNSA."
Trump fires Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
By Nicole Gaouette, Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Betsy Klein, CNN
Updated 1:35 PM ET, Mon November 9, 2020
President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Monday that he has fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and that Christopher Miller, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will become acting secretary "effective immediately."
The President jettisoned Esper two days after his Democratic opponent Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the presidential election, a conclusion that Trump has refused to accept.
Esper's increasingly tense relationship with Trump led him to prepare a letter of resignation weeks ago, an attempt to fashion a graceful exit in the widely expected event that the President decided to fire him, several defense sources, including one senior defense official, told CNN.
Esper had been on shaky ground with the White House for months, a rift that deepened after he said in June that he did not support using active-duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. Esper also said military forces should be used in a law enforcement role only as a last resort.
His remarks from the Pentagon briefing room were seen by many as an effort to distance himself from Trump's threats to deploy the military to enforce order on American city streets and went over poorly at the White House, multiple people familiar with the matter said.
According to multiple administration officials, White House sentiment about Esper had been souring for some time, with both Trump and national security adviser Robert O'Brien viewing him as not entirely committed to the President's vision for the military.
For months, Trump and O'Brien had been frustrated by Esper's tendency to avoid offering a full-throated defense of the President or his policies, the administration officials said.
One administration source told CNN that Trump had no respect for Esper, leaving the defense secretary with little influence and little choice but to take his lead from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump went as far as to mock his defense chief's derisive nickname of "Yesper" during a news conference in August, a moniker bestowed upon Esper by defense officials who believed he did not go far enough in standing up to the President's more controversial decisions.
Privately, Trump had expressed frustrations about Esper for months, venting about him at length during a trip to Camp David earlier this year, according to multiple sources.
Trump also publicly lambasted Pentagon leadership in September, accusing them of seeking to fight wars in order to boost the profits of defense contractors. Esper, angry, called White House chief of staff Mark Meadows to complain, according to defense officials. Meadows soon afterward appeared on television and attempted to walk back Trump's comments, saying his broadside against the Pentagon's leaders had not been directed at anyone in particular.
Esper and Trump also differed over the highly charged issue of whether to rename military bases that honor Confederate generals. Esper supported consideration of the renaming. The President refused to accept the idea.
The Senate voted 90-8 in July 2019 to confirm Esper, making him Trump's second Senate-confirmed secretary of defense. He followed James Mattis, who had resigned in December 2018 over Trump's decision to retreat from Syria amid the fight with ISIS, abandoning Kurdish allies and pulling US troops out of the war-torn country.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
The yesper hit the door at a full tilt run eh
DOJ's top election crimes prosecutor quits in protest after Barr tells federal attorneys to probe unsupported allegations of voting irregularities
By Evan Perez, CNN Justice Correspondent
Updated 5 min ago | Posted on Nov 9, 2020 0
DOJ's top election crimes prosecutor quits in protest after Barr tells federal attorneys to probe unsupported allegations of voting irregularities
Attorney General William Barr tells federal prosecutors to look into allegations of voting irregularities. This image shows Trump and Barr arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on September 1, 2020.
(CNN) -- The Justice Department's top election crimes prosecutor resigned Monday in protest after Attorney General William Barr told federal prosecutors that they should examine allegations of voting irregularities before states move to certify results in the coming weeks.
Richard Pilger, director of the elections crimes branch in the Justice Department's Public Integrity Section, told colleagues in an email that the attorney general was issuing "an important new policy abrogating the forty-year-old Non-Interference Policy for ballot fraud investigations in the period prior to elections becoming certified and uncontested." Pilger also forwarded the memo to colleagues in his resignation letter.
Pilger resignation email didn't make clear whether he plans to stay in the department in another capacity.
Barr's densely worded memo had told prosecutors they could take investigative steps such as interviewing witnesses during a period that they would normally need permission from the elections crimes section. It's not clear what practical effect the policy would have in an election in which President Donald Trump trails President-elect Joe Biden by tens of thousands of votes in several key states.
Barr didn't provide any indication that the Justice Department has come up with evidence to support Trump's claim of massive fraud in last week's election.
In his memo, Barr notes that while "most allegations of purported election misconduct are of such a scale that they would not impact the outcome of an election and, thus, investigation can appropriately be deferred, that is not always the case."
"Furthermore, any concerns that overt actions taken by the Department could inadvertently impact an election are greatly minimized, if they exist at all, once voting has concluded, even if election certification has not yet been completed," he wrote.
Barr's letter to criminal prosecutors broke a days-long silence that has been awkward as Trump and his campaign lawyers have held news conferences and filed lawsuits that have been devoid of any evidence of widespread fraud. Trump claims voting irregularities explain why he is behind in states he would need to win reelection and has refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden.
A Justice official says no one asked or directed Barr to issue his memo.
The purpose of the memo is unclear, since prosecutors already know their responsibilities to investigate vote fraud and other irregularities. But it could serve to provide the President some indication that Barr and the Justice Department are working to find the evidence that Trump and his campaign so far haven't produced.
Barr told prosecutors in his Monday memo: "I authorize you to pursue substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities prior to the certification of elections in your jurisdictions in certain cases, as I have already done in specific instances."
"While serious allegations of voter fraud should be handled with great care, specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries," Barr wrote.
Barr has been described by some Justice officials as obsessed with the idea of voter fraud in recent weeks. He has repeatedly inquired about efforts by prosecutors to look for signs of fraud, Justice officials say. He also asked about the possibility of sending federal officers to polling stations, though he was advised that federal law prohibited sending armed federal officers to guard the polls.
This story and its headline have been updated with additional developments on Monday.
Trump removes head of climate science report
Michael Kuperberg had worked as executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
By ZACK COLMAN and ALEX GUILLÉN
11/09/2020 08:57 PM EST
The White House has removed the head of the program that produces the federal government's most definitive scientific report on climate change, according to three sources with knowledge of the move.
Michael Kuperberg had worked as executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, which produces the National Climate Assessment. The move comes just days after the White House tapped Betsy Weatherhead to lead the sweeping climate study. Weatherhead joined the U.S. Geological Survey after working at climate analytics firm Jupiter Intelligence.
POLITICO received an automatic reply from Kuperberg's USGCRP email address that indicated his detail there ended Nov. 6 and that he was heading back to the Energy Department.
Context: Kuperberg’s reassignment is the latest in a string of high-level personnel moves to remove officials deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump after his reelection loss. Earlier on Monday, Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper. On Friday, Neil Chatterjee was removed as FERC chair on Friday after advocating for opening up markets to renewable sources and exploring carbon pricing.
Background: Congress requires the federal government to produce updated NCA reports, the authoritative government-wide report on climate change, every few years. It is produced by the USGCRP, which coordinates contributions from 13 government agencies.
The most recent edition, the fourth version, was issued in 2018, and despite concerns that Trump administration officials would tamper with its findings, was widely praised as accurately portraying the threat posed by climate change.
Kuperberg's departure comes in the wake of the Trump administration hiring of David Legates, an academic at the University of Delaware who has written that "carbon dioxide is plant food and is not a pollutant," to a newly created political position at NOAA.
The news: Kuperberg had run the USGCRP since 2015 and was expected to remain there until the fifth edition was completed in 2023. An administration official who was not authorized to speak publicly confirmed Kuperberg's move and said the change was a surprise.
The White House did not have an on-the-record comment about Kuperberg's removal. Climate scientist Don Wuebbles confirmed to POLITICO that Kuperberg was informed by email on Friday that he was getting sent back to his post at DOE.
Much of the work on the next assessment will take place during the Biden administration, but Trump officials might still influence the report in its remaining months. Nov. 14 marks the deadline for author nominations, and a new executive director could push for the program to select nominees that have views more aligned with Trump's on climate change.
But NOAA Chief Scientist Ryan Maue, another recent Trump appointee, said he imagined Weatherhead would continue on as the climate assessment lead, and noted the incoming Biden administration could make changes.
“The election obviously changed the calculus on a lot of things," Maue told POLITICO.
With Esper gone, Democrats concerned over what Trump will do with the military
CISA’s Ware resigns; is Director Krebs next out the door?
By Jason Miller @jmillerWFED
November 12, 2020 5:23 pm
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) in the Department of Homeland Security appears to be in the midst of a house cleaning.
Bryan Ware, the assistant director of the cybersecurity division at CISA, unexpectedly resigned today. And now Reuters is reporting that Chris Krebs, the director of CISA, expects to be fired by the White House today as part of a purge of political appointees who are considered not loyal to President Donald Trump.
Reuters also is reporting that the White House asked Ware to resign.
In a note to staff, obtained by Federal News Network, Ware wrote that his last day would be Nov. 13.
Bryan Ware, the assistant director of the cybersecurity division at CISA, resigned on Nov. 12.
“It’s too soon,” he wrote. “We have done so much in the little time I’ve been here, and there is so much more to do! While I did not fully accomplish what I’d hoped, I have confidence in you, our plan and our mission. I know you will continue to execute, take risks and continue setting the course for our nation’s cyber defense.”
Emails to CISA asking for comment on Ware and Krebs were not immediately returned.
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said in a Tweet, “Chris Krebs has done a great job protecting our elections. He is one of the few people in this administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle. There is no possible justification to remove him from office. None.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) also praised Krebs in a Tweet.
“Under Chris Krebs’ leadership, CISA has been a trusted source of election security information. If Donald Trump fires him, it will suggest Trump is preparing to spread lies about the election from a government agency,” Wyden wrote.
The news about Krebs possible departure surprised several CISA sources.
One source said, “Loyalty to Krebs within CISA is extremely high, not sure I can offer an equivalent in all my years in government. He will be missed in ways not typical in our transient environment.”
The same source said Ware was well regarded too.
“Bryan was key as he told CISA that we are moving to the cloud. The key will be who follows Ware, and can that person keep the momentum of modernizing our capabilities,” the source, who requested anonymity because they didn’t get permission to talk to the press.
Another source said there had been some rumors or belief internally that Krebs may soon be on the way out, either by choice or otherwise. The source, who also requested anonymity, said Krebs and Matt Travis, the deputy director of CISA, had been “making a mad dash” to reorganize the agency over the last few weeks.
During his tenure, Ware, who joined the administration in December, said he’s proud of several accomplishments including the Cybersecurity Directorate 2025 strategy, which outlined short and near term goals. Ware said in June interview with Federal News Network that the changes happening to federal networks requires new approaches to security.
“Many of the ways that we’ve traditionally thought of our job where we put sensors out and what those sensors look like, and how we secure things is not as aligned with the way that enterprise IT and the mission are moving in the future. There’s a number of components of that long term strategy. One of those is to get to the place where CISA has as close to complete visibility as we can have of everything that’s happening in the .gov, but also we need visibility and what’s going on in industry and state, local, because our adversaries don’t really stay in just one camp or the other. We need a push for visibility and you think about the origins of CDM, departments and agencies got more visibility. Since it got reports and now we’re in an environment where we need to be quicker than that, we need to have more near real-time visibility and so adjusting the way the tools work, the way that the relationships work to get to the place where we can see that threat across the entire landscape and do a better job of delivering the appropriate control responses advisories, whatever that might be.”
Ware also highlighted the success of cyber shared services under the Quality Service Management Office (QSMO) and how CISA changed its hunt and incident response efforts to ensure training and bring in more innovation to scale their services.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve, though my time with you was limited,” he wrote. “I admire your drive, your perseverance and your commitment to the mission—it is critical.”