Advisers to President Donald Trump are urging the president to purge former President Barack Obama's political appointees from the federal government. A growing number of advisers believe Obama loyalists throughout the government are to blame for the intelligence leaks of the Trump administration, Politico reported on Thursday.
The latest example is the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from any case that involves the Trump campaign. Sessions' recusal came after it was leaked that he met with the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak twice throughout the presidential campaign. This leak was the latest in a series that have damaged the Trump administration.
The Washington Free Beacon has reported that there were nearly 40 leaks of classified information across the federal government in 2016, more than double the amount of criminal leaks reported in 2015. The Free Beacon has previously reported that these leaks could be part of a targeted campaign launched by Obama administration loyalists against the Trump administration.
The New York Times reported that Obama administration officials left a trail of evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 election and communication between members of the Trump campaign and Moscow.
The series of leaks have left many top Trump officials and supporters calling for the president to take action.
"His playbook should be to get rid of the Obama appointees immediately," Newt Gingrich said. "There are an amazing number of decisions that are being made by appointees that are totally opposed to Trump and everything he stands for."
The Trump administration has been only able to fill a few of the hundreds of political appointees in the federal government.
There are 550 critical Senate-confirmed open positions, and Trump administration has only nominated thirty-six people to fill them. Those nominated have faced a delayed confirmation process. Gingrich said the delay was part of Sen. Chuck Schumer's (D.,N.Y.) plan to stall nominees as long as possible so that Obama appointees could remain in power.
"This is about keeping working control of the government for Obama," Gingrich said. "It's actually very shrewd on Schumer's part."
Trump promised during the campaign that he would ‘drain the swamp.' This campaign promise and his attitude to upend the system might have also triggered resistance among non-political employees of the federal government.
During the 2016 campaign, 27 percent of federal government employees said they would quit if Trump won. Now that Trump is president, it does not appear that many federal workers are going to follow through.