The president’s lawyers embarrassing themselves in the courtrooms of Georgia and Michigan aren’t the only figures reporting to him that are looking for evidence of election fraud that simply isn’t there. According to the Associated Press, Trump’s liaison at the Department of Justice has been banned from the premises after “trying to pressure staffers to give up sensitive information about election fraud and other matters she could relay to the White House.”
Heidi Stirrup was told in the past two weeks that she was no longer welcome at Justice Department headquarters. Appointed to the position a few months ago, the AP reports that she was told to get out after “top Justice officials learned of her efforts to collect insider information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud.” Those efforts reportedly include going up to staffers and demanding they tell her about investigations involving alleged election irregularities. Stirrup has also offered jobs to political allies way up at the DOJ without actually conferring with the department.
White House liaisons aren’t actually intended to serve as internal spies at the departments in which they serve. “Across the administration, there have been concerns that the liaisons were undercutting the work not just of career professionals but also of Trump’s own political appointees,” the AP reports. Following Trump’s election loss, the presidential personnel office has also reportedly instructed the liaisons to fire political appointees who were looking for jobs during the transition as a way to smoke out those deemed disloyal to Trump.
Stirrup’s banning from Main Justice comes amid a larger conflict between Trump and Attorney General William Barr, who has generally been his most effective ally in authoritarian pursuits. This week, Barr has pushed back on the president’s frequent claims of election sabotage, saying that his department has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.” After meeting on Thursday in a summit one aide described as “contentious,” Trump appeared frustrated that his influence over the DOJ may have reached its limits. When asked if he still had confidence in Barr, he replied, “Ask me that in a number of weeks from now.”
As for Stirrup, it looks like her loyalty to Trump has already paid off. Minutes before the AP reported that she was no longer welcome at Justice HQ, the White House announced that she had been appointed to a largely ceremonial gig on the Board of Visitors to the United States Air Force Academy.