Since 2018, people close to President Trump, including "a well-connected network of conservative activists," have been putting together lists of government officials deemed "disloyal" as well as pro-Trump people who should replace them, more than a dozen people with knowledge of the matter told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, leads Groundswell, the conservative network at the center of the lists. Thomas has passed along memos to Trump listing people who need to be replaced and suggestions as to who should fill their posts. Some recommendations have shaped Trump's opinion, Swan reports, and others have caused internal strife between Trump's outside advisers and White House officials in charge of personnel.
Trump has become convinced that every department in the government is filled with "snakes" who need to be fired, Swan writes. One person who became a victim of these memos is former U.S. Attorney Jessie Liu, a person familiar with the matter told Swan. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had chosen Liu to become the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, but after reading a lengthy memo listing allegations against her, Trump withdrew the nomination.
That memo was written by a member of Groundswell, a GOP Senate staffer named Barbara Ledeen, Swan reports. The memo claimed that there were more than a dozen reasons why Liu was unfit for the job, including because she dismissed charges against "violent inauguration protesters who plotted to disrupt the inauguration," belongs to a networking group that is "pro-choice," and signed the sentencing filing asking that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn serve jail time. Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, and Ledeen are friends.