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Scoop: Fannie Mae exec to be nominated Treasury Deputy Secretary

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Fannie Mae's General Counsel Brian Brooks will be appointed Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department, according to three sources with direct knowledge. He previously worked with Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin at OneWest, which became the largest bank in Southern California after the 2008 economic collapse.

Why this matters: Deputy Secretary is a pivotal role in the Treasury Department, and Wall Street has been keeping a close eye on the vacancy. Brooks will be expected to play a driving role in tax reform and the other major agenda items. Two sources say that Mnuchin wanted a loyalist in this key position.

The Trump effect: Mnuchin, like President Trump, puts a high premium on loyalty when it comes to appointing senior aides. Mnuchin's closest confidants, Eli Miller and Justin Muzinich, are folks whom Mnuchin trusts as virtually leak-proof. The original selection for this position was Goldman Sachs executive Jim Donovan, but he later withdrew his name from consideration because of family issues.

Behind the scenes: When Donovan dropped out, an intriguing name on the early consideration list was Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), according to a source with direct knowledge. Treasury officials liked the idea of someone with Capitol Hill relationships going into tax reform. It's unclear whether Tiberi, an influential member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, even knew he was under consideration.

What's next: The OneWest foreclosure controversy will almost certainly be brought up at Brooks' confirmation hearing. Leaked documents from the California AG's office alleged that OneWest was responsible for "using potentially illegal tactics to foreclose on as many as 80,000 California homes." Mnuchin denied the allegations during his confirmation haring, saying he was "committed to loan modifications intended to stop foreclosures. I ran a 'loan modification machine.'"

Brooks joined OneWest in May 2011 where he served as the bank's vice chairman. He joined Fannie Mae in November 2014, serving as EVP, general counsel, and corporate secretary. From 1994 to 2011, Brooks was a managing partner at law firm O'Melveny & Myers, where he helped financial services companies with litigation cases. He received his J.D. from the University of Chicago in 1994. There also were earlier reports that he was being considered to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Zachary Basu 6 hours ago
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What to watch for in Egypt's sham election

Sisi billboard
A billboard in Cairo voicing support for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the upcoming election. Photo by KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images.

Egyptians will vote March 26-28 in a presidential election that is sure to see incumbent strongman Abdel Fattah el-Sisi handily defeat Mousa Mostafa Mousa — the sole challenger who hasn't been jailed or intimidated into dropping out.

The backdrop: Sisi, the former minister of defense and commander-in-chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, led a military coup to topple President Mohamed Morsi in 2013. He formally came to power in 2014 after winning 96% of the vote in the presidential election, but has since seen his popularity wane under deteriorating economic conditions and an oppressive human rights record.

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Trump: Transgender people "disqualified" from the military

SecDef Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph Dunford. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

President Trump late Friday issued an order disqualifying most transgender people from serving in the military.

"[T]ransgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria -- individuals who the policies state may require substantial medical treatment, including medications and surgery -- are disqualified from military service except under certain limited circumstances."

Why it matters: Anything short of an inclusive policy for transgender troops will be viewed as a continuation of the ban Trump announced on Twitter in August.