Appointee Watch: An FBI Director Nominee, Defense Picks and More

Christopher Wray, Trump's pick for FBI director, speaks at a Justice Department press conference in 2005. Christopher Wray, Trump's pick for FBI director, speaks at a Justice Department press conference in 2005. Lawrence Jackson / AP file photo

Leading the recent appointment news was President Trump’s announcement that he would nominate Christopher Wray to serve as FBI director, more than a month after the president controversially fired James Comey.

Although currently an attorney in the private sector focusing on white collar criminal defense, Wray has extensive experience in the Justice Department. He was the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division from 2003 to 2005, and upon leaving the agency he received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the department’s highest honor for public service.

“I am proud to announce Christopher as my choice as the director of the FBI,” Trump said in a statement. “During his previous service at the Department of Justice, Christopher was the leader of major fraud investigations, and was a key part of the team overseeing the Justice Department’s actions in the war on terrorism following the 9/11 attacks.”

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Meanwhile, the White House pushed back in recent days against the argument that the large number of high-level government vacancies is hampering Trump’s efforts to find agency efficiencies and reforms. There will be an announcement on the first phase of the administration’s reorganization plans later this week.

Additionally, Trump earlier this week announced nominations for eight U.S. attorney positions; last week he announced the nominations of 11 federal judgeships.

According to The Washington Post and the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, of more than 500 key government jobs requiring Senate confirmation, 42 nominees have been confirmed. An additional 101 people have been announced or formally nominated for positions, while 420 jobs remain vacant.

In recent days, the White House has announced the following picks:

Commodity Futures Trading Commission: Dawn DeBerry Stump, commissioner. Stump is president of a consulting firm she founded last year. She previously served as executive director of the Americas Advisory Board for the Futures Industry Association, and she held a number of staff positions in Congress.

Defense: Ryan McCarthy, undersecretary of the Army. McCarthy most recently was vice president of defense contractor Lockheed Martin’s sustainment program for the F-35 fighter jet program. He previously served as special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

David Ehrhart, general counsel, U.S. Air Force. Ehrhardt most recently worked as the associate general counsel for Lockheed Martin, where he was lead attorney on the F-35 program. Ehrhardt served for 33 years in the Air Force, retiring at the rank of brigadier general.

Lucian Niemeyer, assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment. Niemeyer has served as a staffer on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he managed military installations, oversaw energy and environmental programs, and recommended the construction, repair and modernization of military facilities.

Health and Human Services: Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary for family support. Johnson is the executive director of the Jefferson County Department of Human Services in Colorado. She previously served as chief of staff for former Colorado Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton.

Dr. Norman Sharpless, director, National Cancer Institute. Sharpless is director of the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and a professor in cancer research at UNC.

Housing and Urban Development: Amy Cantu Thompson, assistant secretary of public affairs. Thompson is currently deputy assistant secretary of public affairs, and was deputy press secretary at the agency under the George W. Bush administration.

Justice: Jeffrey Clark, assistant attorney general, environment and national resources. Clark is an attorney with a focus on administrative law. He served as deputy assistant attorney general for the environment and natural resources division from 2001 until 2005.

State: Eric Ueland, undersecretary for management. Ueland is the Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee. He has previously served as chief of staff for the Republican Senate majority leader and assistant majority leader.

Nathan Sales, coordinator for counterterrorism. Sales is a professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where he teaches national security and counterterrorism issues. He has worked as deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Homeland Security Department and as senior counsel in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy.

Transportation: Daniel Elwell, deputy administrator, Federal Aviation Administration. Elwell served as FAA assistant administrator for policy under President George W. Bush. Elwell is an Air Force Academy graduate and former pilot. He served as a reserve officer during Operation Desert Storm and was a commercial airline pilot for 16 years.

White House: Jeffrey Gerrish, deputy U.S. trade representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Industrial Competitiveness. Gerrish is an attorney with experience in international trade issues, including litigating trade disputes before a number of domestic and international agencies and commissions.

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