First on CNN: Jessie Liu resigns from Treasury after pulled nomination

Jessie Liu, a US attorney who ran the office that oversaw Roger Stone's prosecution, has resigned from the Treasury Department after her nomination for a top job was yanked, an administration official tells CNN. CNN's Evan Pérez reports.

Posted: Feb 13, 2020 3:50 PM
Updated: Feb 13, 2020 3:50 PM

The US attorney whose nomination for a top Treasury Department job was yanked because she ran the office that oversaw Roger Stone's prosecution has resigned, an administration official tells CNN.

Jessie Liu, who previously headed the US attorney's office in Washington, submitted her resignation to the Treasury Department, effective Wednesday evening. She went to the Treasury Department with the intention of filling a Senate-confirmed position, which is no longer available after her nomination was withdrawn earlier Wednesday, the official said.

The revoked nomination -- paired with the mass withdrawal of the career prosecutors from Stone's case on Tuesday -- punctuated a stunning cascade of developments set into motion on Monday.

Prosecutors from the DC US Attorney's Office, who are Justice Department employees, wrote Monday in a filing that a judge should issue Stone a seven- to nine-year sentence after he was convicted on seven charges last year that came out of Mueller's investigation, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. Top Justice Department officials later overruled that recommendation after Trump complained publicly on Twitter, though he has insisted he did not intervene directly.

While head of the US Attorney's Office in Washington, Liu inherited many of the major ongoing cases from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation and was also handling the politically charged case of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of Trump's ire who is also a CNN contributor.

Trump's decision to abruptly withdraw her nomination was directly tied to her former job.

As Trump and administration officials weighed pulling Liu's nomination to serve as the Treasury Department's under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes, a central factor in the talks was how she had run the US Attorney's Office. The problem wasn't that she necessarily did anything wrong, one person familiar with the thinking said, but that she didn't do more to get involved in those cases, though it's not clear what leeway she would have had.

Liu was nominated in December to serve as the Treasury Department's under secretary for terrorism and financial crimes. Previously she headed the US attorney's office that oversaw the prosecution and conviction of Trump's longtime political adviser until Attorney General William Barr replaced her last month. She also led the team that worked on the sentencing of former Trump deputy campaign manager Rick Gates.

Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs, who counts Trump among his viewers, on Tuesday accused Liu of softening her office's case against a former Senate aide convicted in relation to sensitive leaks, and suggested that she had helped "cover up" his ties to the origins of the Russia investigation. Both of Dobbs' claims were presented without evidence.

Attorney General Bill Barr had advocated for the President to stick by Liu's nomination in recent weeks as the campaign against her nomination kept building and appeared to be making headway with Trump, according to a person familiar with the matter. Justice Department officials were surprised to learn on Tuesday that Trump had pulled her nomination.

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