Trump to oust Jessie Liu from Manafort, Butina, Stone prosecutions; tap her for #3 spot at DOJ

March 7, 2019

In another move that could be seen as obstructive, President Donald Trump intends to nominate Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, to be the associate attorney general, a senior U.S. official familiar with the decision has told NBC News.

In her current position, Liu has been overseeing the prosecutions of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; alleged Russian spy (and cooperating witness) Maria Butina; Trump longtime confidant Roger Stone; and Sam Patten, a Manafort associate with suspected ties to Russian intelligence.

While the Manafort case is close to resolution and sentencing; what will happen to the other prosecutions, if she is transferred to the number-three position at the Department of Justice, is unknown.

It has been widely bruited that the newly seated Attorney General William Barr suggested Liu for the number-three slot. That position at DOJ has been open since last February, when then-Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand left to take a position as a lawyer for Walmart.

If confirmed by the Senate, Liu would oversee the civil division, the civil rights division, the antitrust division, the office overseeing police reform, and other divisions not related to criminal prosecutions or national security.

Trump’s intention to nominate her was first reported by The Wall Street Journal on March 5.

Liu was nominated by Trump to serve as the head federal prosecutor in D.C. and was confirmed in September 2017. Liu also served on Trump’s transition team, a position that Democrats raised as a potential conflict of interest during her confirmation as U.S. attorney.

Last month, Trump nominated Jeff Rosen, the Transportation Department deputy secretary, to the number-two post at the Justice Department, the deputy attorney general.

Rod Rosenstein—who has overseen the Mueller investigation since 2017 and is the current deputy attorney general—is expected to leave his post in the coming weeks.

In an administration that could hardly be more hostile to Mueller’s Russia investigation, AG Barr announced on March 5 that he would not recuse himself from the probe, NBC News reported.

Research contact: @NBCNews

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