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cabinet

Updated at 4:32 p.m. ET

President Trump abruptly dropped his intention to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, to serve as director of national intelligence on Friday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, one of the last remaining survivors of President Trump's original national security team, will leave the administration on August 15, the president said in a tweet on Sunday.

When Labor Secretary Alex Acosta steps down on July 19, his deputy Patrick Pizzella will step in as acting head of the department.

The acting secretary will have some company.

The Defense Department is currently led by acting Secretary Mark Esper, who is expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down after criticism over his role in a nonprosecution deal reached years ago with the well-connected businessman accused of sex crimes, Jeffrey Epstein.

Acosta appeared on Friday at the White House with President Trump and announced his resignation.

"I do not think it is fair for this administration's Labor Department to have Epstein as its focus rather than the incredible economy we have today," Acosta said. "The right thing was to step aside."

When President Trump announced he was naming Army Secretary Mark Esper to be the acting secretary of defense on Tuesday, he was following a familiar pattern. The president has made a habit of filling key vacancies with acting heads throughout his administration.

There is one other acting Cabinet member: acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Acting.

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation may have come as a surprise, but it's part of a pattern for the Trump administration. Replacing Cabinet secretaries has become a feature, not a bug, of this White House.

And it means that after Nielsen leaves her post later this week, three of the president's Cabinet members will be serving in an acting capacity.

During a testy confirmation hearing on Thursday, President Donald Trump's pick to be the nation's largest land steward told senators that he would take steps to prevent conflicts of interest and to improve ethics guidelines at the Interior Department.

A former lobbyist who represented oil and gas interests, David Bernhardt has been dogged by questions about his own ethics during his short run as the Acting Interior Secretary.

Democrats and environmental groups have accused the former Deputy Interior Secretary of making policy decisions that favor former clients.

Maureen Corcoran is sworn in as Ohio Medicaid director by Gov. Mike DeWine in January.
Ohio Medicaid / Twitter

Ohio's new Medicaid director is taking the helm as the department faces multiple questions about its future.

Ohio GOv. Mike DeWine introduces Dr. Amy Acton as director of Ohio Dept of Health, filling out his cabinet.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Gov. Mike DeWine has filled the final position open in his cabinet, which is likely the most diverse in state history. Amy Acton, his pick to lead the Ohio Department of Health, has decades of experience as a doctor and administrator.

Karen Kasler

More than two dozen nominated state agency directors gathered for Republican Gov. Mike DeWine's first cabinet meeting, where DeWine emphasized a mentality of public service.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich sits for an interview with The Associated Press at the Ohio Governor's Residence and Heritage Garden, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Columbus.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

It was classic John Kasich.

At a wide-ranging final meeting with top advisers, the outspoken governor of Ohio reveled in big accomplishments, lamented defeats, recounted challenges, ribbed staff, castigated fellow Republicans and ordered at least one more program begun: "You got 24 hours. Do it."

President Trump has reportedly offered former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman the job of U.S. ambassador to Russia. Huntsman has been a U.S. ambassador twice before, in Singapore (1992-1993) and China (2009-2011).

Like all ambassadorships, the position requires Senate confirmation — but the diplomatic posting to Moscow was expected to face particular scrutiny in light of ongoing investigations into Russia's attempts to meddle in U.S. politics and reports of repeated contacts between Trump's campaign and Russian officials.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross was confirmed as President Trump's secretary of Commerce on Monday night by a vote of 72 to 27 in the U.S. Senate.

Ross will divest from the private equity firm he founded, WL Ross & Co., as part of his ethics agreement upon entering government service. He will retain other financial interests but has pledged not to take any action as commerce secretary that would benefit a company in which he holds a stake.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized.

The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no.

Updated with announcement

President Trump has named R. Alexander Acosta as his replacement for labor secretary nominee. Trump's earlier pick, fast-food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination on Wednesday afternoon after losing support on both sides of the aisle.

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