CBS News on Possible ‘Pay-to-Play’ Scheme in Withdrawn Doug Manchester Nomination

 

On November 13, the White House formally withdrew its nomination of San Diego Developer “Papa” Doug Manchester to be Ambassador to The Bahamaas.  As we have posted previously, the Nassau Guardian reported in late October that Mr. Manchester  “has stepped back from his bid to become the United States ambassador for The Bahamas.” The report said that when reached for comment, Manchester Financial Group wrote in a statement, “He has withdrawn due to the threats on his and his family’s lives including three infant children under four years old.”  The report also said: “It also noted that Manchester had received “severe” threats on his life.” (see WH Withdraws Doug Manchester’s Nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas).
The report does not include details on who made these threats against the nominee and if there is an ongoing investigation concerning these threats.
LAT article notes that the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego issued a news release on Nov. 5 announcing that Daniel Hector Mackinnon had been sentenced to seven years in prison for politically motivated attacks against Manchester and a Raytheon building.  This was an April incident where a man reportedly attempted to set fire to Manchester’s La Jolla home.
On November 18, CBS New broke the news of a “possible pay-to-play scheme for ambassador role in Trump administration.”

A CBS News investigation has uncovered a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee and President Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas. Emails obtained by CBS News show the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, was asked by the RNC to donate half a million dollars as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance, chief investigative correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.
[…]
The Senate confirmation process is exactly what Manchester quickly addressed. He wrote back to McDaniel’s request for $500,000, “As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000. Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!”

SFRC’s Risch reportedly “alerted the White House, which then asked Manchester to withdraw.”

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WH Withdraws Doug Manchester’s Nomination to be U.S. Ambassador to The Bahamas

 

On November 13, the White House formally withdrew its nomination of San Diego Developer “Papa” Doug Manchester to be Ambassador to The Bahamaas.  The Nassau Guardian reported in late October that Mr. Manchester  “has stepped back from his bid to become the United States ambassador for The Bahamas.” The report said that when reached for comment, Manchester Financial Group wrote in a statement, “He has withdrawn due to the threats on his and his family’s lives including three infant children under four years old.”  The report also said: “It also noted that Manchester had received “severe” threats on his life.”
The report does not include details on who made these threats against the nominee and if there is an ongoing investigation concerning these threats.
In related news, the US Embassy in Nassau recently broke ground on a new U.S. Embassy in downtown Nassau.  The new  facility will reportedly “provide a secure, modern, and resilient platform for U.S. diplomacy in The Bahamas. Its central location will facilitate our partnership with the Bahamian government as well as support to U.S. citizens living and traveling here.”  The project is expected to be completed in 2023.

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Private Wealth Manager William Ellison Grayson to be U.S. Ambassador to Estonia

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate William Ellison Grayson of California to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Estonia. The WH released a brief bio:

William E. Grayson is the National Director of the Family Offices of Bernstein Private Wealth Management in San Francisco, California.  In a long career of public service, Mr. Grayson has served four Presidents.  He was appointed by President Donald J. Trump to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors in San Francisco, California, where he was elected Board Chair by his fellow directors.  During the Obama Administration he served as a Regional Panelist for the White House Fellows Commission.  President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Grayson as a Commissioner on the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships and nominated him to the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board.  As Principal Deputy General Counsel of the Army under President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Grayson oversaw the Army’s 2,700 lawyers.  Mr. Grayson received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his J.D. degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.  He is the recipient of the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the Secretary of the Army.

The Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California Berkeley has a more extensive bio here. If confirmed, Mr. Grayson would succeed career diplomat James Desmond Melville Jr. (1957–) who served as Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Tallinn from December 8, 2015–July 29, 2018 (also see Ex-Amb. to Estonia James D. Melville Writes Why He Quit). Career FSO Elizabeth K. Horst (?–) served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim at the US Embassy Tallinn from July 29, 2018–August 2, 2019. Post is currently headed by career FSO Brian Roraff as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim.
Trump previously nominated Retired Navy Rear Admiral Edward Masso to be Ambassador to Estonia in September 2017.  The nomination for Edward Masso was withdrawn on May 24, 2018.
Grayson’s nomination is currently pending in Committee: 2019-10-15 PN1160 Department of State

US Embassy Cairo DCM Dorothy Shea to be U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon

 

On October 11, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Dorothy Shea of North Carolina, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Lebanese Republic. The WH released the following brief bio:

Dorothy Shea, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Previously, she had served as Deputy Principal Officer at the United States Consulate General in Jerusalem, as Director of the Office of Assistance for Asia and the Near East in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and as a Pearson Fellow with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ms. Shea was also the Political/Economic Counselor at the United States Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, a Political Officer at the United States Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, a Director for Democracy and Human Rights at the National Security Council, and a Special Assistant to the Special Envoy for War Crimes Issues in the Department of State. Ms. Shea earned a B.A. from the University of Virginia, M.S. from Georgetown University, and M.S. from the National War College. She speaks French and Arabic.

If confirmed, Ms. Shea would succeed career diplomat Elizabeth H. Richard (?–) who was confirmed U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon by the U.S. Senate on May 17, 2016.

Career SES Donald Wright – From HHS to US Embassy Tanzania

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Donald Wright of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the United Republic of Tanzania.

Don J. Wright, M.D., MPH, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  His career at HHS includes service as Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and Acting Executive Director of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition.  Dr. Wright developed and implemented the National Action Plan to Reduce Healthcare Associated Infections and Healthy People 2020, the Nation’s framework for disease prevention and health promotion initiatives.  Before joining the government as Director of the Office of Occupational Medicine at the Department of Labor, he was a clinician in Texas for 17 years.  Dr. Wright received his B.A. at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, and his M.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.  He received an MPH at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.  He was honored by the American College of Preventive Medicine in 2019.

If confirmed, Mr. Wright would succeed Mark Bradley Childress (1959–), a non-career appointee who served as Ambassador to Tanzania from May 22, 2014–October 25, 2016.   Senior FSO Inmi Patterson has been Chargé d’Affaires since June 2017.

US Embassy Canberra PolCouns John Hennessey-Niland to be U.S. Ambassador to Palau

 

On Sept 30, 2019, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate John Hennessey-Niland of Illinois, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Palau. The WH released the following brief bio:

Mr. Hennessey-Niland, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor, currently serves as Political Counselor at the United States Embassy in Canberra, Australia.  Previously he was the Foreign Policy Advisor to United States Marine Corps Forces Pacific at Camp Smith, Hawaii, and the Political-Economic Chief at the United States Embassy in Suva, Fiji.  Other diplomatic assignments include Deputy Chief of Mission and later Chargé d’Affaires at the United States Embassy in Dublin, Ireland; Director at the National Security Council for the G-20/G-7; and Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.  Mr. Hennessey-Niland received his B.A. at Tufts University, a MALD at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Diplome at France’s École Nationale d’Administration.  He speaks French and Dutch.  His awards include the Department of State Foreign Policy Advisors (POLAD) of the Year Award and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal.

If confirmed, Mr. Hennessey-Niland would succeed Ambassador Amy Jane Hyatt (1955–), a career diplomat who has been Chief of Mission to Palau since March 10, 2015.

Special Rep For Korea Stephen E. Biegun to be Deputy Secretary of State

 

On October 31, the WH announced the president’s intent to nominate Stephen E. Biegun of Michigan, to be Deputy Secretary of State. The WH released the following brief bio:

Stephen E. Biegun is the United States Special Representative for North Korea at the Department of State, where he directs all United States policy on North Korea.  Prior to returning to government service in 2018, Mr. Biegun served as Vice President of International Governmental Relations for Ford Motor Company, where he was a third-generation Ford employee.  At Ford, he led an 80-person team located across 20 countries and was responsible for global trade strategy and international risk assessment.  Mr. Biegun has more than two decades of service in the Executive and Legislative Branches of government.  In Congress, he served as national security advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, as Chief of Staff of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and as a senior staff member of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.  At the White House, he served as the National Security Council Executive Secretary, a senior staff position under National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.  A graduate of the University of Michigan, Mr. Biegun is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on the boards of the National Bureau of Asian Research, the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, the U.S.-Russia Foundation for Economic Development and the Rule of Law, and Freedom House.

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D/Secretary John Sullivan on the Effort to Smear Former US Amb to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch

On October 30, 2019, Deputy Secretary John Sullivan appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. His 2-page Opening Statement is available to read here. Given his prior confirmation, and what appears to be bipartisan support in the Senate (plus GOP got the votes), it is likely that he will sail through this confirmation process and may be in Moscow by Thanksgiving Day.

Interior Design Businesswoman Barbera Hale Thornhill to be U.S. Ambassador to Singapore

 

The WH recently announced the president’s intent to nominate Barbera Hale Thornhill of California, to be U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Singapore. The WH released the following brief bio:

Barbera Hale Thornhill currently serves as president of Impact Design, a business-focused interior design firm in Los Angeles, California.  She is an active member of the Getty Research Institute Council, the Getty Paintings Council, the World Affairs Council, and the Pacific Council on International Policy.  Ms. Thornhill’s extensive philanthropic work has address the needs of children affected by poverty, abuse and neglect, especially as Secretary of the Board of the Children’s Institute of Los Angeles.  She has promoted literacy, technology, and cultural programs through the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, as a board member of the West Los Angeles County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and as a leader of the National Children’s Chorus of Los Angeles and New York.  Ms. Thornhill attended the University of California at Los Angeles, George Washington University, and North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

The US Embassy in Singapore was headed for a time by Chargé d’Affaires ad interim  Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath  who served from January 20, 2017–July 26, 2019. On July 30, 2019, she was succeeded by senior U.S. diplomat Rafik Mansour  to be Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.
If confirmed, Ms. Thornhill would succeed Ambassador Kirk W.B. Wagar (1969–) who was appointed during the second term of the Obama Administration and served in Singapore from September 25, 2013–January 20, 2017.
The last career diplomat appointed U.S. Ambassador to Singapore was J. Stapleton Roy (1935–) . who served from October 26, 1984–October 4, 1986. Yes, a very long time ago, though not the career service’s fault, of course.
Other appointees to this position include politicians Jon M. Huntsman Jr. (September 22, 1992–June 15, 1993), David Adelman (April 29, 2010–September 1, 2013), Patricia Louise Herbold (1940–) (December 29, 2005–January 20, 2009).
Given the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate, and the body’s underwhelming performance as the world’s greatest deliberative body, particularly when it comes to political and judicial nominees, it is likely that Ms. Thornhill will get confirmation at some point between now and election day.

Trump to Nominate @StateDept Deputy Secretary John Sullivan to be U.S. Ambassador to Moscow

 

On October 11, the White House announced the president’s intent to nominate Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to be the next U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation. He would succeed Ambassador Jon Huntsman who announced his resignation this past August. Ambassador Huntsman’s resignation is effective October 3, 2019 according to his letter published by The Salt Lake Tribune. The WH released the following brief bio:

John Joseph Sullivan of Maryland, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Russian Federation.

John Sullivan currently serves as Deputy Secretary of State, a position he has held since May 2017. He also served in April 2018 as Acting Secretary of State. Earlier in his career, Deputy Secretary Sullivan served as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and held senior positions at the Departments of Justice, Defense, and Commerce, advising the Attorney General, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Counsel to the President on legal and policy issues. Deputy Secretary Sullivan has also had two decades of experience in private law practice, including as a partner in Mayer Brown LLP, where he was co-chair of the firm’s national security practice. He served as a law clerk for Associate Justice David H. Souter of the Supreme Court of the United States and for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Deputy Secretary Sullivan received a bachelor’s degree from Brown University and law degree from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Teaching Fellow, and Book Reviews Editor of the Columbia Law Review.

 

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