On February 11, 2020, President Trump withdrew his nomination for Jessie Liu to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Previously, Liu had served as the U.S. attorney for DC and supervised the case against Roger Stone. On February 12 during the Senate Finance Committee hearing, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin testified that he was informed about the Liu decision two days ago. Senator Sherrod Brown then asked why she was withdrawn; Mnuchin responded only by saying “nominations are at the President’s direction.” The same day, CNN reported that the decision to pull Liu’s nomination was directly linked to her oversight of Stone’s case.
This comes amidst the resignation of the four Stone prosecutors who signed a seven to nine year sentencing recommendation for Stone, which Trump publicly flamed and a DOJ official thereafter rejected and shortened. Liu’s nomination withdrawal fits into a pattern of political interference on behalf of Trump’s personal interests, especially in relation to Stone.
CREW requested communications from the Treasury Department between Mnuchin, the Treasury Department, and the White House on Trump’s decision to withdraw Liu’s nomination.
The requested documents would shed light on whether Mnuchin and Treasury were aware of the motivations behind Liu’s withdrawal, and if they officially adopted Trump’s rationale. Since his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial, Trump has raised alarms with his retaliation against his political opponents. The public deserves to know what Mnuchin’s role was in Liu’s withdrawal, especially if his behavior is part of a pattern of administrators working to curry favor with the president instead of serving the public interest.