"There are four basic categories of political appointments:
- Presidential appointments with Senate confirmation (PAS): These positions require a congressional hearing and a confirmation vote of the full Senate under the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution. As at 2016, PAS positions included 1,212 senior positions, including the Cabinet secretaries and their subordinates at the Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, and Assistant Secretary levels; the heads of most independent agencies; and ambassadors. It also includes United States Attorneys and United States Marshals. The Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 reclassified about 170 PAS positions to PA, to no longer needing Senate confirmation.
- Presidential appointments without Senate confirmation (PA): These appointments do not require a Senate hearing or vote. As at 2016, there were 353 PA positions, most of which were in the Executive Office of the President.
- Non-career Senior Executive Service (NA): The Senior Executive Service (SES) forms the level just below the presidential appointees. While the SES largely consists of career officials, up to 10%, or (as of 2016) 680 positions, can be political appointees.
- Schedule C appointments (SC): Schedule C appointees serve in confidential or policy roles immediately subordinate to other appointees. As of 2016, there are 1,403 Schedule C appointees. wiki
The government of the United States is not a parliamentary government. There are three co-equal branches in the federal government; the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. The president is the "line and block chart" boss of everyone in the Executive Branch.
All of the categories of political appointees listed above plus the actual department heads in the cabinet serve at the pleasure of the president acting as head of the Executive Branch of the US Government. He does not have such a free hand in disposing of civil servants who are below these political appointees and whose employment is protected by law. They generally work for the political appointees.
For the record – I was a career SES after retirement from the army and not a presidential appointee.
The Department of Justice is part of the Executive Branch of the federal government and all its political appointees are subject to presidential discipline as are all others in the Executive Branch.
Presidents, like the heads of all executive teams have the right to expect the loyalty of the subordinates below them. It is expected that these subordinates should carry out all policies that are not illegal, nor grossly contrary to the interests of the United States. If an Executive Branch civilian employee believes that a policy is illegal or so contrary to US interests then this person should resign his or her position. In no instance should an Executive Branch employee act as a member of a "resistance" to the lawfully elected president.
With that in mind I would suggest that the following officials should be dismissed by President Trump:
- DNI Dan Coats – He has made it clear by his utterances at the Aspen security conference this week that he is not loyal to the president. For a supposed member of the president's inner team to communicate in public by words or body language his rejection of presidential policy is a firing offense.
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This man is an obvious affiliate of the "resistance." His arrogance in dealing with the Congress clearly indicates that he thinks that all power is rightfully in the hands of the lawyer bureaucrats at the DoJ and that both the Congress and the president will get what he chooses to give them.
- FBI Director Christopher Wray. His performance at Aspen indicates that he thinks that as head of the FBI he is the consecrated protector of the Knights of the Round Table reborn as the FBI. IMO that comes before loyalty to the president for him. The FBI is in no legal or constitutional sense independent of presidential authority.
Others are candidates for this list, but time will develop the case. IMO it is clearly suicidal to retain such people in office when they are proceeding through action or inaction to undermine the administration.
The argument will be made that there will be cries of Obstruction of Justice. So be it. pl