The main focus of the president’s effort to mix politics and prosecutions has been the US attorney’s office in Washington, which traditionally oversees many delicate political prosecutions, including national security, espionage and political corruption cases. Until recently, the U.S. attorney for Washington was Jessie K. Liu, who oversaw Mr. Stone’s prosecution, but Mr. Barr maneuvered to get her out of that position and install a longtime close aide in her place a few weeks before the sentencing.
Late last year, Mr. Trump nominated Ms. Liu to a top Treasury Department position. She initially told colleagues that she would stay on as U.S. attorney until the Senate confirmed her. But she and Mr. Barr then agreed that she would leave early in the new year so that someone else could run the office if the confirmation process stretched on, according to people familiar with the events.
In mid-January, she was tapped to take a post as senior counselor to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin that began at the end of the month. A going-away party was held at a bar near the U.S. attorney’s office.
some conservatives have viewed Ms. Liu, a Trump appointee who worked in the Justice Department in the second Bush administration, with suspicion. When she was nominated last year to be associate attorney general, Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, protested because she had been associated with the National Association of Women Lawyers, a group that opposed the confirmation of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to the Supreme Court in . (Mr. Lee is a former Alito clerk.) Actually, Ms. Liu had signed a petition in support of Mr. Alito’s confirmation, but Mr. Trump withdrew her nomination, anyway.