Conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt today pressed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway to answer why the Trump administration has been so slow to fire Obama holdovers throughout the government.
Hewitt also recommended that President Trump fill mounting court vacancies by “recess appointing” judges on March 21:
Why haven’t we fired the U.S. attorneys? They are all Obama appointees. They’re acting replacements, even if you haven’t got nominees lined up, would-be careerists. Why hasn’t he, a man of will, done that?
Conway answered that the president would be making those decisions in concert with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who she noted is “relatively new to the job” — and took far too long get confirmed:
I’m sure that they’re evaluating different situations in staffing up and deciding who stays and who goes. I think it was very bold of President Trump to relieve [Susan Yates] of her duties when it became very apparent that she was not going to support him on one of his early executive orders.
Conway also pointed out that someone in “the national security space” recently leaked something critical of the president and the first family from a private meeting.
Hey, I just want him to — there are sleeper cells of Obama appointees throughout this government who are in political jobs. They’re not civil servants, and I want them, I really want them gone yesterday.
And then, this the most important thing, Kellyanne. 18 Circuit Court of Appeals vacancies, 91 district court, 16 Court of Claims, 2 U.S. Courts of International Trade. If people are nominated, they can be recessed appointed on March 21st when the Congress goes away. If the Congress is going to slow roll every one of our judges, then I’m sure Donald Trump has got a great team reviewing these — Leonard Leo, and you’ve got a great White House counsel in McGahn, and a bunch of great people at Justice led by Jeff Sessions.
The goal is to move pretty quickly on all these judges, and it’s something the president ran and on won on, frankly.
She promised that “men and women of academic credentials of judicial caliber and temperament” will be nominated in quick succession.
Hewitt pressed on his recess appointment idea:
I think if you nominate the deputy secretary of State, the deputy secretary of Defense, the undersecretary for policy at DOD … a solicitor general, perhaps, that might be of particular interest to you, they can all be recess appointment on March 22nd. Have you talked about that? Would you push that, because we’ve got to stand up this government, and Senate Democrats are not going to do anything to assist us in getting going.
Conway assured Hewitt that the possibility is “being discussed,” because of the “congenital, presumptive obstruction and negativity” of Democrats. She added:
It just means that the government can’t function fully, and that they’re obstructing regardless of who the individual is that’s being considered, regardless of the post that needs to be filled. And it’s very frustrating. You see a record number of cabinet nominees being obstructed, and they’ve attempted to humiliate them. So far, all but one have gotten through. And it’s just, we need a government that functions. We still don’t have the Commerce secretary approved. We don’t have Agriculture. We don’t have HUD.
She told Hewitt that, as far as recess appointments go, “everything’s on the table.”