Two Democrats in the House of Representatives said in a letter today that they have information from a whistleblower indicating that high-level officials at the White House and State Department communicated about the need to conduct a “cleaning” of career federal employees that they believed were not sufficiently “supportive” of President Trump’s agenda.
The letter was sent by Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY), Ranking Member on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Deputy Secretary at the State Department John J. Sullivan.
“If these documents are authentic,” wrote Cummings and Engel, “[they] show that these political appointees characterized career State Department employees in derogatory terms, including as ‘a leaker and troublemaker’; ‘Turncoat’; ‘associated with previous policy’; and ‘Obama/Clinton loyalists not supportive of President Trump’s foreign policy agenda.'”
They added, “They [the officials] appear to have targeted these staffers despite being fully aware that they were career civil service employees and despite the career employees expressing willingness to support the policy priorities of the Trump Administration.”
The lawmakers said they were particularly concerned about documents relating to Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, a career civil servant with the State Department. The letter states that she emailed her supervisor for assistance to “correct the record” after being targeted by a conservative news outlet who then forwarded the email to other officials and used it as a basis for a discussion in which her loyalty to the president was questioned.
Ms. Nowrouzzadeh was removed from her detail to the Policy Planning Staff three months early in a manner she characterized as “not in accordance with that which was explicitly stated in my MOU [Memorandum of Understanding]” according to the letter.
Cummings and Engel requested varying documentation to determine the extent of the alleged personnel actions and whether or not they were prohibited by law.
The lawmakers did not provide copies of the whistleblower documentation they cited in their letter with either the letter or the accompanying press release.
A copy of the letter is included below.
Cummings and Engel Letter Re: Targeting Career Federal Employees