Donald Trump's 'beachead' teams still operating across federal agencies

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at Yellowstone National Park in Montana on March 10, 2017. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

President Donald Trump has installed more than 400 officials in top positions across all federal agencies, including the Department of the Interior, according to news reports.

Many members of the so-called "beachhead" teams are reporting directly to the White House instead of the leaders of their agencies. Their presence has raised concerns that Trump isn't letting his Cabinet picks run their own departments, choose their own staff or make their own decisions without interference from the Oval Office.

But in the case of Secretary Ryan Zinke, the situation appears to be working well. According to The Washington Post, the teams participate in meetings and help come up with policy.

Administrator Scott Pruitt of the Environmental Protection Agency, on the other hand, hasn't been happy. According to the paper, he's barred the Don Benton, a Trump campaign aide froM Washington state, from meetings due to unwanted interference.

Benton, incidentally, may be familiar to Indian Country because he was in charge of the Washington Republican Party when it called on the federal government to "take whatever steps necessary to terminate all such non-republican forms of government on Indian reservations, and compensate those citizens who have wrongly suffered loss due to denial of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to be governed by a republican form of government."

ProPublica has published a list of names of people who have served the beachhead team. At Interior, the most familiar name is James (Jim) Cason, who served at the department in the George W. Bush administration and ran the Bureau of Indian Affairs during a lengthy period of time.

The list of Interior names follows:
• Thomas Baptiste
• Christine Bauserman
• Kathleen Benedetto
• Megan Bloomgren
• Caroline Boulton
• Scott Cameron
• James Cason
• Micah Chambers
• Marshall Critchfield
• Natalie Davis
• Thomas Dickens
• Douglas Domenech
• Nancy Guiden
• Casey Hammond
• Scott Hommel
• Virginia Johnson
• Daniel Jorjani
• Amanda Kaster
• Benjamin Keel
• Katharine MacGregor
• Downey Magallanes
• Lori Mashburn
• Ryan Nichols
• Ricky Puckett
• Russell Roddy
• James Schindler
• Melissa Simpson
• Heather Swift
• Timothy Williams
• Wadi Yakhour

Read More on the Story:
Meet the Hundreds of Officials Trump Has Quietly Installed Across the Government (ProPublica 3/8)
White House installs political aides at Cabinet agencies to be Trump’s eyes and ears (The Washington Post 3/19)

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