• Conservative group Groundswell has been influencing White House firings
  • The group includes Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas
  • Trump has been more open to Groundswell's ideas following acquittal

Ever since his acquittal by the Sentate after the impeachment trial, President Donald Trump has been busy compiling a list of those who he views as having crossed or betrayed him. But even before that, the president has been collecting the names of those in his administration who have failed to demonstrate their loyalty.

A unique first look at the memos behind this list not only shows who has gotten on Trump’s bad side, but reveals how and why these individuals were identified.

As Axios reports, this process began in 2018, possibly earlier, but has intensified in recent weeks. These lists are being compiled by the Groundswell network, a group of conservative activists outside the Trump administration, led by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ wife, Ginni Thomas, and including Republican Senate staffer Barbara Ledeen.

One memo penned by Ledeen focused on Jessie Liu who had at one point been nominated for a senior position in the Treasury Department. As a D.C. federal lawyer, Liu led a group of female lawyers deemed “pro-choice,” declined to bring up charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe over the probe of Trump’s 2016 campaign and approved of a request to sentence request seeking jail time for former Trump adviser Ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Liu’s nomination, originally made by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, was ultimately withdrawn.

Another major memo names personnel in the State Department to be replaced, including the then presidential personnel chief Sean Doocey. It claims that after Trump had approved the appointment of Mira Ricardel to run the Millennium Challenge Corporation, Doocey replaced her name with Sean Cairncross’. Sources speaking with Axios, however, said that this is not true as Cairncross was the original appointee.

No credit was taken for this memo, though several sources have said it was written by Groundswell.

These memos from the Groundswell network aren’t only focused on naming officials who should be dismissed. One featured a list of individuals that should be added to Trump’s administration or promoted to higher positions. These suggestions include placing controversial Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke as head of the Department of Homeland Security and hiring conservative talk radio host Chris Plante as White House press secretary.

While these memos often made it onto the president’s desk in the past, Trump’s enthusiasm for culling disloyal members of his team has only grown since being acquitted by the Senate, making him much more receptive to Groundwell’s suggestions.

US President Donald Trump once again attacked Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, blaming him for a decline in stocks
US President Donald Trump once again attacked Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, blaming him for a decline in stocks AFP / JIM WATSON