How Trump Could Still Fire Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, CNN

As a career civil servant, controversial COVID-19 policymaker Dr. Anthony Fauci is officially protected from being directly fired by the president. However, the exit of two top DHS officials shows that a president has much more influence than what’s specifically provided by law …  

Nov 012, 2020

Washington (CNN) Two senior Department of Homeland Security officials have been forced to resign by the White House, according to sources familiar with the resignations.

Among them was a top official in DHS’s cyber arm, who resigned amid a national security shakeup by the Trump administration. Bryan Ware served as assistant director for cybersecurity at DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

DHS assistant secretary for international affairs Valerie Boyd also resigned amid pressure from the White House, officials tell CNN.

DHS, CISA, and the White House declined to comment on the resignations.

Ware’s resignation letter, seen by CNN, is addressed to President Donald Trump and says his resignation is effective Friday. In it, he writes that it has been an honor to serve, highlighting his work on election security and the Covid-19 response.

But his farewell letter to staff indicates that he did not want to step down. He says that he is leaving “with much sadness” and that “it’s too soon.” He went on to list their accomplishments during his tenure. “We secured election day from foreign interference. Boom!” he wrote of his resignation, which was first reported by CyberScoop.

In a letter to the workforce, CISA Director Christopher Krebs praised Ware’s efforts on election security, defense of federal networks and work on defending healthcare systems.

“Bryan approached each new challenge with enthusiasm and a collaborative attitude … ” Read more. 

Bottom line: a president does not necessarily need the actual legal authority to fire a federal employee in order to effect their removal. “Pressure from the White House” is often sufficient. – HH

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