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Trump isn’t nominating anyone to lead federal law enforcement agencies — and even Lindsey Graham is concerned

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Half of the largest federal law enforcement agencies don’t have long-term leadership under President Donald Trump, and the heads of several agencies haven’t had Senate-approved leaders since the Obama era.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Bureau of Prisons are all without permanent heads, reported the Wall Street Journal.

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The U.S. Senate has not approved leaders for the ATF, DEA or ICE under Trump, despite Republican majorities there.

Trump has never even nominated anyone to head up the ATF.

That leadership vacuum fits with a broader trend under the Trump administration, which has vacancies in 277 top positions out of just over 700 appointments that require Senate confirmation.

Higher-than-normal turnover and a slow process for nominating and confirming federal officials has left the government with “unprecedented” vacancies.

There are no nominees for 132 positions and 138 nominees are awaiting Senate confirmation, and Trump has indicated that’s just the way he likes it.

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“I sort of like ‘acting,’” Trump said earlier this year. “It gives me more flexibility.”

But that management style sidesteps the Senate’s constitutional duty to advise and consent, and makes leadership less accountable to voters.

“A law-enforcement organization is dealing with some of the most serious powers of the state and that is the power that involves people’s liberty,” said Max Stier, head of the nonpartisan watchdog Partnership for Public Service.

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“One of the purposes of the constitutional system we have is the checks and balances,” Stier added. “The Senate, one of their critical roles, is to be able to in essence vet the senior leadership of our government — choices that the president is making. That absolutely is a challenge is to the system of government that we have.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who chairs the committee that considers nominees for the ATF and DEA, said he doesn’t like the long-term vacancies but hasn’t pressured the White House to put up nominations.

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“It bothers me,” Graham said. “Why aren’t they doing it? They should.”


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GOP senators lob out excuses to avoid watching impeachment hearings: ‘Took my kid to school’

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European ambassador Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony sent shock waves through Washington D.C. on Wednesday -- but they seemingly weren't felt by Republican senators.

Per CNN's Michael Warren, multiple GOP senators said on Wednesday that they were not watching Sondland's testimony, which directly implicated President Donald Trump in a quid-pro-quo scheme with Ukraine.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), for example, said that he "took my kid to school" instead of watching Sondland, while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he was busy "chairing my own hearing."

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Ken Starr says ‘it’s over’ for Trump: Democrats know ‘the president in fact committed the crime of bribery’

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Former independent prosecutor Ken Starr suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump impeachment could now be a sure thing.

Following the testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Fox News host Bret Baier called the witness "very damning" for Trump -- and Starr agreed.

"We've gotten close to the president," Starr said of Sondland's testimony. "The president may have covered himself by saying no quid pro quo, the record is muddled. So we have Gordon Sondland's understanding. It doesn't look good for the president substantively."

Starr compared the current process to the articles of impeachment that were drafted against President Richard Nixon.

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‘Emergency neurological symptoms?’ Internet explodes in laughter over Trump’s bizarre ‘I WANT NOTHING’ notes

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President Donald Trump read handwritten talking points as he departed the White House on Wednesday.

His notes were written in Sharpie marker on a notepad.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's remarks.

https://twitter.com/samstein/status/1197200696044654593

https://twitter.com/Lawrence/status/1197207906455822340

https://twitter.com/revrrlewis/status/1197203825595170816

https://twitter.com/jean_yoon/status/1197196681542021121

https://twitter.com/AmandaMarcotte/status/1197204127526330368

https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1197196178057814016

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