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Internal government email obtained by Axios

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told administration officials Monday to expect senior aides to be replaced at many government agencies, according to an internal email obtained by Axios.

Behind the scenes: Meadows asked the director of the White House Presidential Personnel Office John McEntee "to look at replacing the White House Liaisons (WHLs) at many of your agencies," according to the email. "John will be working with outgoing liaisons to explore other opportunities."

  • "Please welcome incoming liaisons as they begin their new roles," Meadows wrote. "I ask that you encourage your teams to equip the WHLs with everything they need to support your agency and the President's agenda."
  • "It is important that WHLs have direct access to principals and senior staff regarding all political hiring decisions."

Why it matters: As Meadows reminded the recipients of his email, these liaisons are the senior-level staff responsible for managing political appointees within each agency.

The White House declined to comment.

Between the lines: Liaisons are the White House's eyes and ears inside the agencies — and in the Trump administration they're charged with enforcing loyalty to the president and his agenda.

  • McEntee, the president's 30-year-old former body man who now runs hiring for the government, has become a controversial figure within the agencies.
  • Since taking over the role, McEntee has been systematically purging or reassigning agency officials deemed insufficiently loyal to Trump.
  • As we have previously reported, McEntee, in a highly unusual campaign, has been making significant staffing changes inside top federal agencies "without the consent — and, in at least one case, without even the knowledge — of the agency head."
  • This has not endeared him to some agency heads and career officials, but Trump expressed delight at McEntee's efforts, according to sources familiar with the president's private comments.

What we're hearing: Some of McEntee's moves have backfired — with media outlets printing articles about young, unqualified picks and others with a public history of incendiary or homophobic statements.

  • It's noteworthy that this latest staffing direction comes from Meadows, not McEntee.

Go deeper

Biden promises retaliation for cyberattack on government agencies

Joe Biden speaking in Atlanta on Dec. 15. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Biden on Thursday said that a suspected Russian cyberattack on multiple government agencies and U.S. companies "is a matter of great concern" and promised to impose "substantial costs" to those responsible for the attack.

Driving the news: Biden's statement came just hours after the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency alerted that evidence suggested that additional malware was used in what it described as “a grave risk to the Federal Government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations.”

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

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