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Rachael Rollins and Marty Walsh. Photos: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (Rollins); Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc. via Getty Images (Walsh)

A finalist for U.S. attorney in Boston is publicly trashing the city's former mayor — Labor Secretary Marty Walsh.

Why it matters: Rachael Rollins’ approach is perpetuating scrutiny of a troubled Cabinet secretary and fellow Democrat — and hints at the independence she may exhibit if tapped for top federal prosecutor for Massachusetts.

  • It’s also testing the Biden communications shop’s tight-ship, no-drama approach, and would provide fuel for Republican questioning in a prospective Senate confirmation hearing.

Driving the news: Rollins, district attorney of Boston-based Suffolk County, has repeatedly complained about Walsh distancing himself from a scandal that emerged just before he started working in Washington.

  • In a last-minute move, the outgoing mayor named Dennis White to be the city's new police commissioner.
  • Two days later, Walsh suspended White after The Boston Globe reported he had faced domestic violence allegations from his ex-wife.
  • Walsh's replacement, acting mayor Kim Janey, fired White, but he sued to retain his job.
  • An independent report and subsequent court proceedings included sworn affidavits stating Walsh knew about White's past before putting him in the new job — something Walsh has denied in statements to the media.

What they're saying: “Somebody signed something under the pains and penalties of perjury. For me that has to trump … somebody just saying, ‘Yeah, that never happened,’” Rollins told "Boston Public Radio" last month.

  • "I think our former mayor left a very big mess for our acting mayor," she added.
  • Another Democrat, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), said Walsh should resign if he knew about the White accusations.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Rollins went further.

  • “This is a bad situation overall, because either he knew about it and he’s lying, or he didn’t know about it and you’re a terrible manager, right?” the DA told WCVB-TV’s “On the Record."
  • Rollins also confirmed she is one of three finalists for U.S. attorney.

The statements renewed a stir in Boston's political community, in part because Rollins would be teammates with Walsh if she joins the Biden administration.

  • Administration nominees tend to remain silent while being vetted.
  • Rollins has now engaged in two high-profile interviews, the second coming after the first renewed scrutiny of Walsh.

The White House declined to comment.

  • Rollins said Tuesday in a tweet: "This unforced error has cost our City millions & counting. As taxpayers, we foot the bill. It has distracted attention away from the hard work BPD does in our communities every day. Being silent & meek isn’t in my job description. We have murders to solve."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct that the U.S. attorney covers the entire state, not just the eastern half of Massachusetts.

Go deeper

25 mins ago - Health

White House says Obamacare sign-ups hit record

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra speaking in the White House in December 2021. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House said Thursday that a record 14.5 million Americans have signed up for health insurance through Obamacare marketplaces since Nov. 1, including more than 10 million enrollments through HealthCare.gov.

Why it matters: Last year's stimulus bill contained substantial investments in the program, including increased subsidies for people who don't receive health insurance from an employer or through Medicare or Medicaid.

46 mins ago - World

Kremlin says U.S. written responses ignored Russia's main NATO demand

Sergey Lavrov. Photo: Dimitar DilkoffI/AFP via Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday that the United States' written answers to Russia's security demands do not contain a "positive response" to the Kremlin's top priority, which is a freeze on NATO expansion, according to Russian state media.

Why it matters: A spokesperson for the Kremlin stressed that no conclusions will be drawn until Russian President Vladimir Putin has time to analyze the papers, but a lack of movement on Russia's core concerns means the crisis over Ukraine is unlikely to de-escalate.

How your plumber could lead the electric vehicle revolution

Ford Pro Intelligence gives farmers access to important data on every vehicle – whether gas-powered or electric. Image courtesy of Ford.

Businesses like farmers, contractors and delivery companies — not individual consumers — will lead America into the electric vehicle era, judging from how demand is currently shaping up.

Why it matters: While consumers are waiting on the sidelines to see if the charging infrastructure improves and prices come down, commercial businesses see EVs as a way to boost their productivity and improve operations.