why did noel francisco resign

Rosenstein, a Republican, is widely considered to be principled and ethical, and has reportedly not hampered the special counsel in any way after appointing Robert Mueller to the job last year. That is unprecedented and astonishing. Former Justice Department officials who served in Democratic and Republican administrations supported his appointment, saying that he had a reputation for fairness and for protecting the work of career lawyers. Help us continue to provide the reporting, commentary, and criticism you won’t find anywhere else.

Rosenstein has overseen the investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the task after failing to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. This pressure has, by all appearances, not affected the special counsel. Francisco’s startling Lucia argument seemed designed to undermine this rule. Francisco could also decide not to release Mueller’s final report: The Department of Justice official in charge of a special counsel investigation has final say over whether those findings go to Congress. The head of the department’s civil division said he would leave next month after a 20-year career. In his absence, Comey, then deputy attorney general, had been tasked with carrying out his responsibilities, and later refused to reauthorize the program during a dramatic standoff in Ashcroft's hospital room. In reality, the process appears to be a charade—and Francisco was integral in promoting that sham. That could involve impeding the special counsel’s investigation or scrapping it entirely. In his email to staff members, Mr. Hunt, 58, said that his last day would be July 3. Young, who Baldwin selected to write his biography, said 'the truth, I think, is that, as in 1927, but with nearly ten years more to carry, Baldwin was broken in mind.'

As the face of the Trump administration at the Supreme Court lectern, Francisco argued for the travel ban that targeted majority-Muslim countries, for a citizenship question on the US Census, and most recently for an end to the Obama-era program that shields young immigrants who were brought to the US without proper documentation. Powerful political allies are often selected for high-ranking positions in the administration, so Mr. Trump’s choice of a career lawyer like Mr. Hunt for such a key post was somewhat unusual. The White House is not expected to immediately name a permanent successor. All contents © 2020 The Slate Group LLC. You’ve run out of free articles. Put simply, Rosenstein resignation would be terrific news for Donald Trump. While an acting solicitor general is expected to replace Francisco in the near term, it was not immediately clear who may be tapped to replace him on a permanent basis. This unrest has been mirrored by an uptick in resignations and firings from the top ranks of … As Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, Mr. Hunt drafted the letter recusing Mr. Besides Mr. Hunt, Brian A. Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said last week that he was leaving in July, and Noel J. Francisco, the solicitor general, told officials at the department that he planned to leave when the Supreme Court wrapped up its session this month. US Solicitor General Noel Francisco is expected to resign from his role as the government's top lawyer before the Supreme Court in the coming days, according to two sources familiar with the move. This story has been updated with additional developments.

The op-ed is a precursor to Trump’s anti-Mueller playbook. If you value our work, please disable your ad blocker. When the court ruled for Trump, the four dissenters noted that the majority’s reasoning relied heavily upon the government’s highly dubious assertion that the waiver process is impartial. That has compelled some Democratic solicitors general to defend conservative arguments, and vice versa. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. But it turns out that the president still issued no such “crystal clear” statement on that or any other day. Francisco’s piece deployed the now-familiar tactic of condemning standard FBI practice as evidence of political prejudice, decrying the prosecution of former Virginia Gov. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. He went far beyond the question presented to argue that the president could remove administrative law judges, and any other “inferior” (or “subordinate”) officers, at will. Francisco also has taken the lead for the Department of Justice in its briefs supporting Trump's efforts to block subpoenas from the US House of Representatives and a New York grand jury for personal financial documents, including tax returns. As he told the court: The president’s constitutional responsibility to faithfully execute the laws requires adequate authority to remove subordinate officers. Mark Joseph Stern covers courts and the law for Slate. In April, Francisco also misled the Supreme Court about Trump’s anti-Muslim statements, telling the justices that the president “made crystal clear on Sept. 25 that he had no intention of imposing the Muslim ban.” This statement was crucial to the case, which rested on the notion that Trump’s Islamophobic comments tainted the ban with impermissible religious animus. Sessions from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election — a decision that poisoned the relationship between Mr. Trump and his first attorney general. Mr. Hunt had a front-row seat to the early days of the Russia investigation, led by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“I have the utmost respect and admiration for you because I have personally witnessed the manner in which you have carried out your responsibilities,” he wrote. On Monday, Axios reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had offered his resignation in the wake of a New York Times report that Rosenstein suggested covertly recording Trump and discussed the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. In the op-ed, Francisco condemned the FBI for conducting “ambush interviews,” “immuniz[ing] only witnesses who can help deliver convictions,” and “investigat[ing] and charg[ing] all potential crimes.” Sound familiar? Mr. Hunt was confirmed in 2018 to lead the civil division by a bipartisan group of senators, a rare show of broad support for a Trump appointee. Instead, the principal deputy solicitor general, Jeff Wall, will most likely be tapped as the acting solicitor general. During his tenure, the solicitor general’s office has flipped positions at least a dozen times, discarding a progressive stance in favor of a conservative one. Those include the administration’s decision to no longer defend the Affordable Care Act in court, the president’s fight to add a citizenship question to the census, and the adoption of harsh stances on immigration.
Francisco's Senate confirmation hearing was in May 2017, the day after Trump fired James Comey as FBI director. G.M. (He’d need an ethics waiver because his old law firm, Jones Day, now represents Trump—but that would be easy to obtain.) None of this bodes well for Rosenstein’s future in the Trump administration. If and when Rosenstein is ousted, his move will put Mueller’s investigation in serious jeopardy. He has been able to do so in large part because of the independence that Rosenstein granted him. DeSantis’s new data analyst: an anti-mask sports blogger with no credentials, Biden responds to Trump's refusal to concede. Before joining the Trump administration, Francisco had served in the George W. Bush administration and more recently, worked in private practice at the Washington, DC, office of Jones Day. But Rosenstein appears to have consistently resisted presidential pressure, even while acceding to unprecedented demands from congressional Republicans for documents that have been used as political cudgels against the probe. said last week that he was leaving in July, told officials at the department that he planned to leave, to no longer defend the Affordable Care Act, accusing him of illegally profiting from his personal business.

Don’t be—he already has. The official, Joseph H. Hunt, who previously was chief of staff to Jeff Sessions when he was the attorney general, did not say why he was leaving, and a Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on his departure. Francisco further misled the court about how the travel ban’s waiver process works. It subverts the office’s historical independence—upon which the courts typically rely—turning it into an arm of the Republican and evangelical legal movement. In July, these same House Republicans briefly filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein for not acquiescing to enough of those demands. … The president’s ability to execute the law is thus inextricably linked to his authority to hold his subordinates accountable for their conduct. All rights reserved. He did not say why. The ban ostensibly permits case-by-case exceptions, and Francisco told the court that consular officers themselves made the final decision about who received waivers. No specific reason for Francisco's departure was given but solicitors general and other top Justice Department officials have sometimes stepped down near the end of an administration's term. Readers like you make our work possible. Once the solicitor general assumes responsibility over the Russia probe, the path to Mueller’s termination is straightforward: Either Trump fires him, or he instructs Francisco to fire him—and Francisco insists that he has no choice but to oblige, because the president is merely executing his inherent power “to hold his subordinates accountable.”. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by his chief of staff at the time, Joseph H. Hunt, during a news conference in 2017 at the Justice Department in Washington. Official to Exit, Signaling Third Departure in Recent Days. Skeptical that Francisco would abandon the traditional independence and integrity of the solicitor general’s office to carry out Trump’s partisan wishes? Robert Mueller is an inferior officer. Photos by Mark Wilson/Getty Images and Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images. Slate relies on advertising to support our journalism. Jurisprudence Noel Francisco Can’t Be Trusted Meet the unethical Trump loyalist who’ll oversee the Mueller probe if Rod Rosenstein is ousted. I was in the courtroom that day, and when Francisco made his claim that Trump had rescinded his promise of a Muslim ban, I saw a puzzled look flash across the liberal justices’ faces. Trump has repeatedly expressed his displeasure over this fact, berating Sessions for recusing himself and telling him to shut down the probe. The next person in line to supervise the special counsel is probably Solicitor General Noel Francisco.

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