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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.

National Politics With Political Junkie Ken Rudin

Jul 11, 2019

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Wednesday defended a 10-year-old plea agreement with accused sex trafficker Jeffery Epstein. 

As the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, Acosta negotiated what has been deemed a sweetheart deal for Epstein, who plead guilty to lesser state charges in exchange for immunity from federal prosecution. 

Epstein now faces charges in New York for sex trafficking girls, some as young as 14. 

We talk about the political implications for Acosta’s boss President Donal Trump with political journalist Ken Rudin. 

Bill Wehrum is stepping down as the Environmental Protection Agency's chief air quality official at the end of the month, amid mounting scrutiny over possible ethics violations.

EPA Administrator Andrew Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday that Wehrum's departure as the head of the agency's Office of Air and Radiation is both voluntary and expected.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

First lady Melania Trump announced Tuesday that her own spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, will take over for Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary.

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.

In this special edition of the Snollygoster podcast, host Mike Thompson leads a discussion with a panel of guests at WOSU's Politics & A Pint event at Wolf's Ridge Brewing.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. ET

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is leaving the White House, President Trump tweeted on Thursday.

Updated at 5:45 p.m. ET

Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway has repeatedly criticized Democratic candidates in her official capacity in violation of the Hatch Act and should lose her job, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.

The OSC, which oversees federal personnel issues, issued a stinging report Thursday, calling Conway "a repeat offender."

Updated at 7:09 p.m. ET

A federal judge ruled against President Trump on Monday in a subpoena dispute not long after the White House said it is seeking to block its former top lawyer from talking to Congress.

The events amounted to a win — and a loss — apiece for Republicans and Democrats in their ongoing high-stakes legal and political war over separation of powers and oversight in the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

The McGahn matter

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.

Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET

An 18-year White House employee told congressional investigators that she and other career staffers denied security clearances for 25 Trump administration officials, including three "very senior" officials, only to see most of those recommendations overturned.

White House communications director Bill Shine is resigning his position, the Trump administration announced Friday.

Shine, a former Fox News executive, will become a senior adviser to President Trump's 2020 re-election campaign, according to a White House statement.

"Bill Shine has done an outstanding job working for me and the Administration," Trump said in the statement. "We will miss him in the White House, but look forward to working together on the 2020 Presidential Campaign, where he will be totally involved. Thank you to Bill and his wonderful family!"

This story is published in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity

Rich businessman Wilbur Ross' promise to divest millions of dollars' worth of assets upon becoming Commerce Department secretary drew warm praise in 2017, even from Democrats.

The Trump administration sought to rush the transfer of American nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the law, a new report from the House Oversight and Reform Committee alleges.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings' staff issued an "interim staff" report Tuesday, citing "multiple whistleblowers" who raised ethical and legal concerns about the process.

House Oversight Committee Democrats have launched an investigation into who got security clearances in President Trump's administration following the 2016 election, as well as how and why.

Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., outlined the goals of his inquiry in a letter to the White House on Wednesday.

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