Trump appoints allies to range of federal boards

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President Trump on Tuesday appointed allies to a range of federal boards, including installing a former White House aide as chairman of a declassification advisory panel.

Trump announced the spree of lame-duck picks as he prepares to leave office on Jan. 20.

Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a former White House National Security Council staffer who since Nov. 10 has been acting undersecretary of defense for intelligence, received one of the most potentially significant roles on the declassification panel.

Cohen-Watnick will serve as chairman of the nine-person Public Interest Declassification Board, a little-known entity based at the National Archives that is supposed to advocate for public access to classified documents. The position currently is vacant.

Cohen-Watnick brings with him familiarity with the FBI’s Russia investigation that ultimately found no evidence of Trump conspiring with Russia. Trump has urged maximum release of documents on that investigation and has accused federal bureaucrats of moving too slowly.

Other Trump loyalists received positions across a range of boards.

Former acting National Intelligence Director and ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell will be a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, the White House said.

Longtime Trump campaign and White House aide Hope Hicks will serve on the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, as will White House staff secretary Derek Lyons.

First lady Melania Trump’s chief of staff and former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham will join the National Board for Education Sciences.

White House budget director Russell Vought is joining the Board of Visitors to the US Naval Academy and Tim Pataki, a longtime White House aide and son of former New York Gov. George Pataki, will join the Board of Trustees of the Smithsonian Institution’s Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Trump’s ambassador to Switzerland Ed McMullen and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who served on his impeachment defense team, will join the board of DC’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

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