Jonathan Swan of Axios is reporting that President Trump has been receiving kists of people who are NeverTrumpers and lists of people who are loyal to the president. He is getting ready to drain the swamp at last. No president should have to fight his own staff and so it is well within his rights to bring in people who share his vision for the country.
Swan is reporting that President Trump will be getting rid of those who fight his agenda and it won't be pretty. Enjoyable, but not pretty. He will have a ready made list of replacements for those he fires or moves to where they can do no harm. He will soon be in his second term and he needs to make sure his team is on board with what he wants to do.
A takeover of the House would make things much easier as well. Without Paul Ryan as Speaker, we can get funding for the wall. The Republicans do have two Senate seats that could be lost but the Democrats do as well. In Alabama, Doug Jones is dead meat walking. Peters in Michigan is also a seat in jeopardy.
- A well-connected network of conservative activists with close ties to Trump and top administration officials is quietly helping develop these “Never Trump”/pro-Trump lists, and some sent memos to Trump to shape his views, per sources with direct knowledge.
- Members of this network include Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.
The big picture: Since Trump’s Senate acquittal, aides say the president has crossed a psychological line regarding what he calls the “Deep State.” He feels his government — from Justice to State to Defense to Homeland Security — is filled with “snakes.” He wants them fired and replaced ASAP.
The Groundswell memo: The presidential personnel office reviewed Thomas’ memo and determined that some names she passed along for jobs were not appropriate candidates. Trump may revisit some given his current mood.
Potential hires she offered to Trump, per sources with direct knowledge:
- Sheriff David Clarke for a senior Homeland Security role.
- Fox News regular and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino for a Homeland Security or counterterrorism adviser role.
- Devin Nunes aide Derek Harvey for the National Security Council (where he served before McMaster pushed him out).
- Radio talk show host Chris Plante for press secretary.
- Federalist contributor Ben Weingarten for the National Security Council.
- The State Department memo: In one extraordinary incident last year, President Trump passed along another action memo to his then-head of presidential personnel, Sean Doocey (since pushed to State and replaced with former body man John McEntee). People familiar with the January 2019 memo say it came from conservatives associated with Groundswell. Though nobody I’ve spoken to has claimed credit for it.
- According to sources briefed on the incident, the memo was, in large part, an attack against Doocey. The memo accused him and a colleague in the State Department of obstructionism and named several State Department officials who needed to be fired.
- This list named former deputy secretary John Sullivan, deputy undersecretary for management Bill Todd, and undersecretary for political affairs David Hale, who later testified in the impeachment hearings. (Todd and Hale are career foreign service officers, serving in positions typically reserved for career officials.) Sullivan is now the U.S. Ambassador to Russia.